Neutrinoless double-β decay (0νββ) is a unique process that could reveal physics beyond the Standard Model. Essential ingredients in the analysis of 0νββ rates are the associated nuclear matrix elements. Most of the approaches used to calculate these matrix elements rely on the closure approximation. Here we analyze the light neutrino-exchange matrix elements of 48Ca 0νββ decay and test the closure approximation in a shell-model approach. We calculate the 0νββ nuclear matrix elements for 48Ca using both the closure approximation and a nonclosure approach, and we estimate the uncertainties associated with the closure approximation. We demonstrate that the nonclosure approach has excellent convergence properties which allow us to avoid unmanageable computational cost. Combining the nonclosure and closure approaches we propose a new method of calculation for 0νββ decay rates which can be applied to the 0νββ decay rates of heavy nuclei, such as 76Ge or 82Se.