Two Tools for Preachers on Applying Scripture

The difference between a hearer of the Word and a doer of the Word is stark—just read James 1:22–25. Those who only hear the Word and fail to live it out deceive themselves (1:22) and are like a man who looks into a mirror, “goes away and at once forget what he looks like” (1:24). But the one who hears the Word and does it “will be blessed in his doing” (1:25).

As preachers of God’s Word, we desire to do God’s Word and produce other doers of the Word. One crucial step in producing doers is by applying Scripture in our teaching and preaching.

Just like preachers need to grow in our handling of God’s Word, we need to grow in applying it, shepherding God’s people (and ourselves) with the transformative intent of the Word of God.

While many see the need for application, many pastors fall into the pitfall of applying Scripture in the same ways to the same types of people without thinking through the wide swath of people and circumstances present in the pews. The two resources below will help you think through application for pew-sitters in different places spiritually:

  1. Sermon Application Grid developed by Mark Dever and 9Marks. See blank grid and a sample of a filled-out grid.
  2. Tim Keller: The Kinds of People to Consider as You Apply Scripture in Preaching (Expansive List) (PDF)

By no means are these the only tools for thinking through applying Scripture, rather they provide a helpful framework for thinking through applications for a diverse group of people. Our prayer is that they would help you teach and apply God’s Word for maximum spiritual transformation.

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Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.