Chapter 1

Apply Your Message

How to give clear, grace-filled applications that lead to real life transformation.

In a landmark article in the July 1928 issue of Harpers Magazine, Harry Emerson Fosdick described expository preachers in these words: "They take a passage from Scripture, and proceeding on the assumption that people attending church that morning are deeply concerned about what the passage means, they spend their half hour or more on historical exposition of the verse or chapter, ending with some appended practical application to the auditors." This was not a compliment. "Could any procedure be more surely predestined to dullness and futility?" Fosdick wondered. "Who seriously supposes that as a matter of fact, one in a hundred of the congregation cares, to start with, what Moses, Isaiah, Paul, or John meant in those special verses or came to church deeply concerned about it?"

Whether or not his caricature of expository preaching is accurate, Fosdick's observation about the congregation still rings true today. In this post-biblical culture, it is truer ...

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