More Thoughts on Application

Expository thoughts “grandfather-in-residence” (Jerry Wragg) has responded with a few more thoughts on the subject of application and preaching that should prove helpful. He writes:

Here’s my process… I first finish my exegesis work and interpretation of the text (ie, what it says and what it meant in its original context). Then, I develop and write out the spiritual implications for those for whom the original text was intended. This involves thinking through the main point and arguments as to how they confronted unbiblical thinking, unholy motivations, and idolatry for those in the ancient context—in other words, inner man transformation. These are the most crucial “implications” of a passage. Then, I note which implications can be bridged to us (a difficult discipline, but determined by bridging contextual, cultural, historical, theological, and geographical gaps wherever they naturally parallel). Then, I meditate upon and develop these “timeless” implications along contemporary lines. Then, I weave these into the sermon throughout, letting the weight and conviction of such truth fall upon human hearts in the grace of the Holy Spirit. If I find that I’ve been able to change some practical behavior in my life as the outworking of these new convictions, I may offer the same changes as perhaps an effective “test”, “manifestation”, “outcome” of true inner life transformation. I do not typically give a practical list of “things to do” as an application of biblical principles. I would much rather allow the implications to sink in, suggesting some very general and obvious life alterations to move people toward righteousness. Honestly, in my experience (10 years of ministry alongside John MacArthur at Grace Community Church), once the implications are truly preached with passion…most people already know several practical ways they need to manifest on the outside the new convictions being forged on the inside.

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