John Stott on the Exegetical Process and Expository Preaching


“Expository preaching is a most exacting discipline. Perhaps that is why it is so rare. Only those who undertake it who are prepared to follow the example of the apostles and say, “it is not right that we should give up preaching the Word of God to serve tables…We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:2, 4). The systematic preaching of the Word is impossible without the systematic study of it. It will not be enough to skim through a few verses in daily Bible reading, nor to study a passage only when we have to preach from it. No. We must daily soak ourselves in the Scriptures. We must not just study, as through a microscope, the linguistic minutiae of a few verses, but take our telescope and scan the wide expanses of God’s Word, assimilating its grand theme of divine sovereignty in the redemption of mankind. “It is blessed,” wrote C.H. Spurgeon, “to eat into the very soul of the bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your spirit is flavoured with the words of the Lord, so that your blood is Bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows from you.”

–John R.W. Stott in The Preacher’s Portrait

Leadership Resources International helps pastors understand the exegetical process of expository preaching by leading intensive training workshops as part of the Training National Trainers Program.

We train pastors in the study of the Word with basic hermeneutical principles that allow them to handle God’s Word as God desires (2 Timothy 2:15). Our goal is to teach pastors and church leaders to proclaim God’s Word with God’s heart.

Visit our website to learn about our approach, where we work, and how you can get involved.

Connect with Leadership Resources International on Facebook and Twitter.

Test Your Knowledge: Trivia and Facts about Africa

How much do you know about the continent of Africa? Test your knowledge of Africa with these Africa facts in our trivia video below.

This video covers a wide range of topics and statistics like the population of Africa, the animals of Africa, poverty in Africa, different religions in Africa, and more.

Related Links:

Blog: Who Can Make a Bigger Difference for Jesus than Americans in Nairobi, Kenya?

Blog: TNT Results: One Pastor’s Testimony of Being Equipped to Preach the Word

Connect with Leadership Resources on Facebook and Twitter

Author: Kevin Halloran

What is the Book “The Trellis and the Vine” About?

One of the most popular and influential books on church ministry in recent years is The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind Shift that Changes Everything by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne and put out by our friends over at Matthias Media.

The book’s main metaphor compares a church’s ministry structures and gospel growth to a trellis and a vine. Church structures (the trellis) should support the true work of ministry (the growth of the vine), which is speaking the Word of God one to another.

In the video below, author Tony Payne gives a brief summary of the concept behind The Trellis and the Vine, a book which Mark Dever called, “The best book I’ve read on the nature of church ministry.”

Tony Payne explains The Trellis and the Vine

Colin Marshall on The Trellis and the Vine

“The center of what Christian ministry is the speaking of the Word of God by one person to another. That is what brings growth to people’s lives. We use this metaphor of a trellis and a vine to illustrate that distinction. The vine is the growing dynamic life that takes place as God’s Word brings change by His Spirit in people’s hearts and lives, and they grow as disciples…”

—Tony Payne

Book-Review-Cover-The-Trellis-and-the-Vine-Colin-Marshall-Tony-Payne-630x1024Leadership Resources International is a natural partner with Matthias Media and fan of The Trellis and the Vine because we believe in the power of the Word of God to transform lives and the ability of transformed people to share the Word of God with others.

This is a foundational conviction that fuels our ministry training pastors worldwide in the Training National Trainers program.

Related Links:


Bible Study Questions for the Gospels and Acts


The Bible provides a treasure trove of truth and wisdom from God about all of live. While many people have the desire to read the Bible and study its rich truth, it can be hard to understand certain parts or know how to apply its content to our lives.

In the appendix of One to One Bible Reading, David Helm shares questions for studying the Gospels and the book of Acts, following the outline of Context, Observation, Meaning, and Application. (For the complete set of questions for each genre of the Bible, see the link to the PDF near the bottom of the post)


• What has happened so far in the narrative? Have there been any major events, characters or themes?

• What has happened just prior to the section you are reading?


• What do you learn about the main characters in this section? How does the author describe them? How do they describe themselves?

• Is time or place significant in the events that happen in the passage?

• Is there a conflict or high point in the passage?

• Do you think there is a main point or theme in this section of the story?

• What surprises are there?


• Are there any ‘editorial’ comments from the author about the events in the narrative? How do these comments illuminate what is happening?

• Does someone in the narrative learn something or grow in some way? How? What does this person learn?

• What does the passage reveal about who Jesus is, and what he came into the world to do?

• How could you sum up the meaning of this passage in your own words?


• How does this passage challenge (or confirm) your understanding?

• Is there some attitude you need to change?

• What does this passage teach you about being a disciple of Jesus?

one-to-one-bible-reading-book-review-summary-questions-193x300Leadership Resources International seeks to train pastors and church leaders all over the world to study the Word of God in depth using a variety of hermeneutical principles including learning the context of a passage and using inductive Bible study methods. Learn more about our Training National Trainers Program or how you can help the worldwide spread of God’s Word!

Download the PDF of the appendix from One to One Bible Reading that shares COMA questions for the whole Bible and study questions for the book of Mark.

© Matthias Media and Holy Trinity Church 2011. Used with permission. From One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm. For more one-to-one Bible reading resources, or to purchase the book from which these pages were extracted, please visit

Related Posts:

Blog: How Can We Become More Compelling Teacher’s of God’s Word?

Blog: Not the Book of Ruth! A Reluctant Teacher’s Encounter with the Word of God

Find out how your church can have a global impact with the Word of God

How can the average man study the Bible? My Lessons from Ruth


This post is the second in a series LRI Staff Member Melanie Ingland’s recent trip where she had the opportunity to teach the wives of the men enrolled in the Training National Trainers program in Central Asia this fall.

This is a follow up post describing her experience using Leadership Resources International’s curriculum and Bible Study method on Ruth. You can read post 1 here.

If you read my first post, you would remember that I was very discouraged when thinking about teaching the book of Ruth.

I can’t begin to describe the difference or give you a full picture of how I have changed and been affected. I will attempt to give you a before and after and all of the in-between.

I want to give you a window into the way I learned how to study Ruth and then how I taught it to the women on my recent trip.

I grew up in church and came to know Christ at a very young age (8 yrs old).  I was in youth group, went to every service the church offered and spent many summers at Christian summer camp.  I have memorized hundreds of Bible verses and soaked up theological knowledge by the books.  I attended a Christian Bible school and had to have numerous Bible classes including 2 semesters of Biblical Theology.

I own dozens of Christian books and theological study tools like Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Ryrie’s Basic Theology. By bookcase has multiple versions of Study Bibles, Bible dictionaries and Bible handbooks.  I am NOT telling you all of this so you think more highly of me or think that I am smart.  Far from it.

After ALL of this training and reading, the single most beneficial tool to help me study the Bible was the day I spent with my co-worker Paul, the Curriculum Coordinator for LRI, prepping for my Ruth study.

Some of you may be like me.  I have often thought “How can I  study the Bible?  How can I get something out of this?”  For centuries we didn’t have the literature we have today.  The average person didn’t have a library full of commentaries and study Bibles to use in preparation for personal Bible study.  When the New Testament church wanted to learn about Christ and apply God’s teaching, they couldn’t pull out the latest edition of John MacArthur’s New Testament Commentaries.  So I often was frustrated that these were the tools I was given.

How could I go through all of the training and knowledge and still feel like I didn’t have a grasp on practical Bible study?  

Paul offered to sit down with me and show me how we teach the groups of men and women around the world.  Unlike all of my college classes and sermons, this was hands on.  Paul and I spent hours working through the book of Ruth and he taught me tools I can use that translates into any book of the Bible.

We actually studied the book of Ruth!  I left that room full of appreciation for Ruth, the Bible and God’s amazing story of redemption.  I also came away with an enlightened mind!  I wanted to yell out to everyone who has ever taught me and said “WHY DIDN’T I LEARN THIS BEFORE?!”  How come it has taken me YEARS of being immersed in Biblical “stuff” to figure out how to do this?

The beauty of this is it is SO simple!  There is not magic formula.  There are no books, gimmicks or certain IQ you need to learn.  You don’t have to know a certain language or have a certain education to study the Word.

That is the beauty of the Training National Trainers Curriculum. We don’t use the variety of helps that are available today (even though they are valuable). Our goal is to study the Word of God in depth by learning practical and powerful hermeneutical tools and applying them to the text. By doing that, we equip pastors around the world to dig up the treasures in God’s word themselves–and not be dependent on external resources to get to God’s truth.

I will walk you through the main parts of what we studied and then what I learned so you can see an example of what I am talking about.


As simple as it sounds, the first step is to read and re-read the passage.  Not just for the sake of reading it, but think through what is happening.  You need to ask good questions.  Questions like who, what, when and where reveal things about the text and give clues into what the author is trying to say.  Search the passage, like a treasure hunt, for repeated words, thoughts or actions.  Are there keywords, themes or character shifts?  What transition words are used?  Does the author reveal who they are, who they are writing to or where it takes place?

Don’t spend this time creating interpretations or applications.  Many times we want to immediately come to a conclusion about what is being said.  Instead spend time just reading the passage with curiosity, discernment and perseverance.

This was a huge step for me.  I usually want to read and immediately start applying.  It was so enjoying (and pressure free!) to just read the word.  Simply soak in what the author is saying and curiously dig through what is happening.  It sounds really basic but that is what this step is.  You are gathering all the facts, like a doctor, to come up with a diagnosis.

Here are a few samples of my observations from Ruth chapter 1:

  • Naomi and her husband moved to Moab because of Famine
  • They had two sons who were married to women named Orpah and Ruth
  • This happened during the time of Judges
  • Despite famine Naomi left Jerusalem full and now she feels empty

The next step is:


Now that you have gained all of the important information on your topic it is time to start figuring out what it means.  It is most helpful to break things down to the major ideas and the main idea.  Think of it like a necklace.  All of the pearls are the major ideas but the main idea is the string that ties them all together.  This is important since coming up with the main idea helps us to focus on what the author is trying to say.

Here are some main ideas for Chapter 1:

  • Naomi feels like God is against her and she is bitter
  • Ruth is faithful to God and to Naomi
  • Orpah’s reaction to Naomi is a normal reaction which magnifies what Ruth does and makes it seem even more extraordinary

Once you have all of your main ideas written down, try to come up with one sentence that sums the whole passage up.  This was really hard for me.  I am a wordy person so I had to really examine what I found in the passage in order to come up with a concise conclusion.  Here is what I came up with for Chapter 1.

Even in Naomi’s bitter times we see the faithfulness of God through Ruth.  


This is a very important aspect of Bible study.  When you go too quickly  in observation and interpretation,  your applications aren’t deep and sometimes you can misinterpret the message.  I am guilty of reading quickly and then coming up with whatever application comes to mind.  By making this the final piece of the puzzle it allows you to let the text speak for itself.  This is actually the easiest step because you can see all of the information funneled down all and then you ask “how does this apply to me?”

You can ask yourself… “Is there an application already in the text?”,  ”How does the situation of our lives today correspond with the situation of the original audience?” and  ”What does this passage tell us about God and how show we live in light of that?”

Here are some of the applications from chapter 1

  • Patience when we don’t see what is happening
  • Our blessing is not dependent on our response to God (Naomi felt bitter and upset but God still blessed her)
  • What kind of life do we lead and will people talk about us when we leave?  (The women in Bethlehem remembered Naomi and her attitude when they saw her come back).

There are many other wonderful applications from these passages.


It is really easy to misinterpret what the Bible is saying and put our own wisdom into the lessons.  Here is an example.  I have heard many messages (and have probably been guilty of this myself) condemning Naomi and her family for moving to Moab.  They say that since the Moabites were enemies of Israel and there is no mention of them talking to God about their decision they were condemned for their decision.  The death of the children and their heartache is related to their own plans to move to Moab.

Let’s ask the questions:

  • What does the author say?
  • Does he pronounce condemnation?
  • Does he give praise?
  • How much attention is given to the narrative about their move in comparison to other subjects?

If you look at the passage, you will see that the author is silent on many of these questions.  There is no hint about this being a bad decisions or a good one.  There is no connection to their actions and the deaths in the family.  The author spends only 2 verses in the 22 verses of chapter 1 on the subject.  The lesson? Make sure you don’t major on the minor.  Don’t read into the passage things that aren’t there.  Don’t condemn and praise when the author doesn’t condemn and praise.

It is really easy to pick out what we think are easy lessons.  Sometimes we have to dig and discover what is happening and it takes some effort but not only can we do it…it is worth it.


The other quick lesson that I learned is the importance of context.  We looked at context from a literary standpoint, a historical standpoint and an overarching Biblical standpoint.  It was so helpful to see how this book fits into its perfect place in the Bible.  We looked at how Moab and Israel were coming from dark places (This was a time of judges and darkness in Israel’s history.  In fact, the famine in the land that drove Naomi out was God’s punishment on Israel).  We looked at the Moabites and their relationship with Israel (clue…it was not good.  Read Judges 3:12-30; Numbers 21-25; Deut 23).  We also looked at the major events in the Bible and how Ruth fit into that.

Seeing all of the pieces come together makes me appreciate what is happening in the story.  I understand the intricacies of what is being written.  What an enlightening experience to more fully understand God’s beautiful plan of redemption being carried on through these two women and the blessings they receive in the process.

I am so grateful for the simple tools that I was given.  I know that these tools are just a small portion of what we give the people we train over a 4 year period.

What a relief to realize that the average man can know and understand God’s scripture on his own!

Praise be to God for the book of Ruth!  

Author: Melanie Ingland

You can read more about us on our website: our resources, what we do and our methods.

Below is a short testimonial of how one pastor was encouraged by the TNT program:


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