Four Application Questions

September 26, 2007

Yesterday, one commenter mentioned how challenging application can be and how few preachers do it well. As usual, Bryan Chapell has some helpful suggestions in this regard. In broad terms he says that preachers must ask four crucial questions.

1. What does God require of me? (Instructional specificity)

“…a preacher must discern the biblical principles reflected in the text that were directed to the people of that time and then apply them to the people of this time. These universal principles are then applied by giving instructions consistent with and derived from the text that direct believers in present actions, attitudes, and/or beliefs.” (Christ Centered Preaching, p 215)

2. Where does God require it of me? (Situational specifity)

“Think through the types of people – young parents, harassed clerks, lonely teens, new believers, tired saints – whose situations require scriptural guidance, comfort and challenge. Preachers cannot speak to all groups every week, but since people confront no temptation but such as is common to all, speaking to specifics will have relevance to each person.” (Christ Centered Preaching, p 217)

3. Why must we do what God requires? (Motivation)

“Guilt drives sinners to the cross, but grace must lead us from there or we cannot serve God. Christ-centered preaching keeps redemption by grace alone as central to the message of sermons as it is to the scope of Scripture. This is necessary because there is no more powerful motivation for holiness than loving God in response to the revelation of his redeeming character and eternal promises.” (Christ Centered Preaching, p 220)

4. How can we do what God requires? (Enablement)

“The how of application includes practical steps that will aid obedience (flee places of evil, seek mature counsel, count to ten) and the use of the means of grace (prayer, study, fellowship) but it implies much more because these activities too may be perceived as the human efforts that bribe God for blessing rather than the free provisions from God that enable us to walk in his wisdom and presence.” (Christ Centered Preaching, p 222)

Another excellent book which teases out the whole subject is Daniel Doriani’s Putting the Truth To Work: The Theory and Practice of Application.



  1. Excellent questions and explanations. Thanks!

  2. […] four application questions for sermons […]

  3. This is great work done to help preachers

  4. This is great work done to help preachers please i appreciate.

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