The Expository method of bible study is where you choose a passage and disassemble it to find a greater understanding. You will need all the other methods to get the most out of the passage with this method. The beauty of this method is that this detailed study will bring to light the passage, as written, to bring a deeper meaning to the whole passage.
The Bible is not one long run on sentence. It has divisions; within these divisions is the focus that gives the expository method its power. By finding these divisions, even divisions of thought within the same chapter, you can make a detailed examination of the passage to get the full meaning.
1 Thessalonians 5 starts off with Paul identifying and training that there are times and seasons, as part of this speaking of the times of Jesus’ eminent return. However in the middle of this chapter a list if formed, as if Paul had a thought to express on how to have a victorious Christian life. Using the expository method we can see the entire though expressed without going anywhere else. It has a clear start and end with a conclusion. The other methods are useful if needing to define words or look at the people within a passage.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-23
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As you can see this thought is clearly separated from the other thoughts that Paul was expressing within the chapter. Furthermore this thought is woven with the other thoughts within the chapter and, while separate, is fully within context.
As the expository method may reveal a topic, but the topic should not define the passage. As mentioned in the topical method of study we should not come to a passage with a predetermined topic. Supporting verses in an expository study are not necessary, as the essence or focus is within the thought or passage.