The puritan William Greenhill (1591–1671) wrote An Exposition of the Prophet Ezekiel, an abundant commentary that runs to five volumes.
As he was winding up to throw out the first pitch, he got excited thinking about the whole idea of writing an Exposition. So he started by writing about the nature of exposition, and what he wrote is great stuff:
ALL Scripture being the breath of God’s Spirit (2 Pet 1:21; 2 Tim 3:16), none can be judge or expounder of it but the same Spirit.
Men are only indices veritatis, they cannot bring a sense, but show you what is the sense of Scripture. Those who are called to be expositors, must not fetch senses ab extra, but take what is in the bowels of the text, and hold forth unto others; a work which requires ability, wisdom, diligence, and faithfulness;
–ability to inquire into the originals;
–wisdom to compare Scriptures, consider circumstances, and to discern the verity, spirituality, and propriety of texts and phrases;
–diligence to dig and search after truth, which lieth deep, and hid;
–faithfulness to give out truths, being found, with their own lustre, not human tincture.
Whosoever doth thus, shall purchase favour in heaven and esteem on earth.
Expository work is ancient and honourable, ancient as Nehemiah’s time (Neh 8:8): the Levites gave the sense of the law, they expounded it. In those days the Jews had their perushim, interpreters, which was above five hundred years before Christ.
… It is also honourable; for the Lord Christ was an expositor: Mark 4:34, “He expounded all things;” Luke 24:27, he interpreted; and v. 32, “he opened the Scriptures;”
Paul also was an expositor : Acts 28:23, “He expounded.”
This work being so ancient and honourable, let it find the more acceptance with you.