Downplaying Application?

Prior to going to Bible college, I had about a half-dozen opportunities to teach in my local church. In the first several, I went overboard on the application. It was all about what they needed to do, how they could be encouraged by doing, do do do, etc. With a lot of brainy stuff thrown in.

The last couple of times that I taught before school, I emphasized what was to be known about God, and basically told everyone that it was up to them and the Holy Spirit to figure out how to apply the teaching to their context. Fast forward two years, and I’m taking my first homiletics course at school. And what, at an independant fundamental Baptist college, would be emphasized? Application! There was a healthy amount of exegesis there as well, but we were told that it wasn’t truly expository unless the application was there and pointed.

As I continue to preach and teach, I find that this is incredibly true. My method in preaching and teaching is to provide hypothetical situations that people can relate to. This seems to be the best thing to engage people’s minds with the practical implications of Scripture. Doctrine becomes the spearhead for application, not the other way around.

More recently, I’ve heard quite a few teachers advocate a method of preaching that downplays application. Like I once did, they say that the Holy Spirit should apply the message as only He can, and we shouldn’t get in the way of that.

Is this a valid point of view? How do you present the application of Scripture in your preaching and teaching?

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  1. #1 by Carla on December 13, 2009 - 10:37 pm

    Of course, I’m not a preacher :), but I try to make the scripture applicable to friends that I am trying to encourage. I think it’s scriptural. The Lord helped folks understand His teaching by using then-current common events in their lives (farming, keeping a vineyard, owning property, building a house, etc.) You model do well by taking your example from the Lord.

  2. #2 by Carla on December 13, 2009 - 10:38 pm

    * You do well… *

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