On Sermon Application

“Without the ‘so what?’ we preach to a ‘who cares?’ No passage relates neutral commentary on our fallenness. No text communicates facts for information alone. The Bible itself tells us that its message is intended to instruct, reprove, and correct.”

Questions for Reflection

  1. Preachers, how do you include application in your sermon?
  2. Congregants, how do you prefer application to be delivered? In one chunk at the end, after each section’s main point, or mixed in with the explanation?


Brian Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, 52-53.


Don’t Forget the “So What”

Bible on a Pulpit

Every Sunday 1000’s of sermons are preached and heard, and just as many Sunday School lessons and Bible Studies are prepared for and taught. Even though sermons are preached, lessons and studies are taught, many do not address the “so what” of the text. In other words, they do not tell the people how to apply the text to their life.

On Friday’s a few men at our church gather at iHop to discuss Scripture. It is a great time of Christian fellowship and an opportunity to learn from one another. Last Friday, one of the guys reminded me of the importance of the “so what.” He said:

I enjoy hearing the history, and the Greek or Hebrew behind the text. These things are necessary to understand and learn, but one thing I want to know before the sermon, Bible study, or Sunday School lesson is over is why does this text matter to my life?

In other words, he was calling preachers and teachers to provide the “so what” of the text. I agree with him. It is important and necessary that we tell our people why the text matters to their life, how it applies to their situation, and how they might implement its teaching. If we don’t, we are not fully expounding the text and we are short-changing our people.


So this week as you prepare your Sunday School lesson, Bible study, or Sermon, make sure to provide the “so what.” Tell the people why the text matters to their life, and help them apply it.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you make the “so what” explicit?
  2. Do you help your people apply the text to their life?



How To Be More Pointed with Your Application

Is your application reaching the entire city?

Peter Adam’s provides 8 ways we can be more pointed in our application of Scripture in our preaching ministry. These are good to think through as you prepare your sermon. If you are not a preacher, and most of you reading this blog are not, feel free to forward this along to your pastor. I believe these are helpful tips.

Here is what Adam’s says:

(1) Ask: What message does God want to give these people from this text?

(2) Focus upon four or five representative people in your congregation (one old, one young, one single, one married, one male, one female, etc.) and think through what difference you want this text to make to their lives.

(3) Work out the main ideas, preconceptions, movements, and theological strands in the congregation, and apply the text to each of them (the conservatives, the charismatics, the progressives, etc.).

(4) Meet once a week with various members of the congregation, talk with them about the text you plan to preach on next Sunday, and ask them what they make of it.

(5) Meet every Monday night with a small group to discuss the sermon you preached yesterday, and the text you will preach on next Sunday.

(6) Imagine you are counseling an individual. How would you apply this text to that person?

(7) Pray for your people more, and learn to love them more. Love is quick-eyed.

(8) Spend only half your preparation time one the meaning of the text, and then spend the rest of the time working on the application.


Quoted from Peter Adam Speaking God’s Words, 133.

Image: Damian Brandon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net