Is personal application necessary: part three

In his book Truth Applied (pg. 54), Jay Adams offers a few questions which help aid the expositor in thinking through application:

1) What is the telos [end, or purpose] of the preaching portion? Is
that also the telos of your sermon?

2) In what sort of situation does the telos occur? What was going on? To what is it addressed?

3) In the passage, who is doing what about the situation

a) to understand it?

b) to change it?

c) to complicate it?

4) How does God view the situation? Is He

a) Pleased with it?

b) Displeased with it?

5) What response does He require?



4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tom Shuck on July 7, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Jay Adams’ two books Truth Applied and Preaching with Purpose are both helpful in the area of application. Bryan Chapell also has an excellent chapter on application in his book Christ-Centered preaching. In Preachers and Preaching there is a chapter by John Butler on application, but it seems mostly distilled from Adams. I would like to see more exegetical work and thinking done on 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2 as it regards application and the preacher’s duty …maybe even Paul’s methodology of application in his epistles (though not true sermons there is a methodology that I think we can learn from him).

    Some questions to ask in this area are:
    1. What do we mean by application? For example I do not think that application is simply giving a list of self-centered dos and do not’s that by-pass a person’s thinking processes. As preachers do we focus on the inner man primarily or do at times we focus primarily on behavior? What if the text we are preaching itself does not focus on the inner man? What terms do the Scriptures use for what we call application and what do they teach us about our role as preachers and pastors?
    2. What is the place of authority in application? How does biblical authority fit into this duty of giving application? One of the best sermons I ever heard was preached by Jay Adams at Grace Community on Titus 2:15 at a TMS graduation. It covered preaching, application and authority.
    3. What is the role of the Holy Spirit and the preacher in application? Note the similar terms in 2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Tim. 4:2. The work of the Spirit produced Word is seen in 3:16 and duty of the preacher in 2 Tim. 4:2. Does the work of the Spirit through His Word cancel out earnest and throughout textually appropriate application? I would say the work of the Spirit in His Word demands the preacher to give specific applications to the flock he is shepherding.

    Giving textually appropriate application is not easy and all preachers should be cautions with how it is done. It has been both abused and not used at all. However, Scripture itself demands preachers do it. May the Lord give us His grace.

    Please let me know the boundaries and format of this blog. I do not want to overstep any rules. If I disagree with a blogger can I post my specific disagreement in the comment section? Thanks,

  2. Tom,

    Thank you for your insightful words. I will let our Blog master answer your question more directly.

    Blessings to you this Saturday,

  3. Tom,

    Thanks for your comments and questions. You can see our general approach to comments in the “fine print” section. I would say that anyone may feel free to disagree without being disagreeable. You can even agree if you want!!! However folks should keep comments on topic and not use this space to ramble on and pontificate without end.

    I work on the basic assumption that most people are like me…they have precious little time to blog or to leave comments. Therefore if we say anything lets make it count. All the normal rules of biblical communication apply as well. One last thing: all the contributors here are busy husbands, fathers, and pastors so interacting with comments is not at the top of our list of things to do. So folks should not expect a lot of banter or debate since this blog isn’t really suited to that purpose. It may happen but it’s rare. I hope this helps with what you’re looking for. Blessings!

  4. Posted by Seahawk Lun on July 16, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    I am glad to see some serious questions about sermon application are being posted. Those questions have been in my mind for quite some time.

    Recently, I have been wrestling about the definition of application. Does application always have to be “doing?” Can it be a “being” only? In other words, can a believer say he has applied a specific passage because his conviction and worldview have been conformed to God’s without any behavior that demonstrates them?

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