Recently, my wife and I decided our front porch needed a little “sprucing up” regarding the decorations, or lack thereof, we had on display. I had purchased an outdoor table and chair furniture set from a local store; however, due to being busy (at least that was my excuse), I had never advanced to the next stage. The box of unassembled furniture sat peacefully in my garage, filled with all the potential to make our front porch more usable. The problem was that I had not taken the time to assemble the items correctly. Therefore, it was simply a box filled with components, but it was useless in its current situation.

Finally, one Saturday, with the help of our daughter, the lonely box that had settled into our garage was shown the light of day. With great anticipation, the tape was cut, and the pieces were reintroduced to the world. As our daughter thumbed through the assembly manual, she began putting the pieces together. Slowly but surely, with every turn of the wrench and sinking of the bolts, the pieces began to connect. The more pieces she added to the puzzle, the more like the picture on the box the parts became. With determination and a little help from Dad, our daughter was finally ready to call us together to show us the final product. After much work and slowly following the instructions, the pieces were connected so that the furniture looked like the picture on the box and functioned as they were intended.

If you’re like me, you love studying God’s Word. If you are blessed to be a Bible class teacher or a preacher, you know both the tremendous thrill and the heavy burden you assume in accurately proclaiming the Word.

The excitement of opening a Biblical text and diving into the deeper nuances of the original language and the historical context makes you feel like a kid in a candy shop. As you chase the various topics that arise and study them within the immediate context and then more broadly in the greater context, your excitement grows as you begin to see the truth of the text in a life-changing way. As Sunday approaches, you are like a racehorse just waiting for the gates to open so you can deliver the lesson you have spent so much time preparing.

When we talk about excelling in the application, I want you to think of it like the process described initially. In your excitement to relay the information, the tendency will be to believe that everyone in your class or the congregation where you preach will be just as excited as you are and will make the connections as you have. However, the reality is sometimes people leave our classes or they leave the church building after listening to our sermons, and they are like I was when I left the store with the box of unassembled furniture. They have the components you delivered; however, if the pieces are left unassembled, they are of little value in the lives of the people carrying the box.

Preaching and teaching are more than an information dump. Please understand, the Word of God is central to why and what you are to teach and preach (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Corinthians 9:16); however, in the art of accurately relaying the Word, we must help people not only hear but also receive the Word. That means when we preach and teach, there’s both a purpose and a pathway to the meaning of the message.

We know why we’ve selected to relay a specific text, we have put in the study time to understand what the text is saying, and we have crafted a meaningful, applicable, and logical way to relay the message. Like a conductor invites the passengers to board a train, you ask those in your class or who listen to your sermons to join you on a journey. They simply want to know the journey of your lesson will take them to a meaningful and helpful destination. That’s where the difference between giving them the pieces in a box and helping them assemble the pieces along the way comes into play.

Excelling in Application is an often-underappreciated aspect of our Bible study and lesson delivery. Many of us spend very little time on our conclusions or even the application of the information along the way in our delivery. That’s why we want to include this series of articles in this venue.

Along the way, the intent is to help you develop a homiletical mindset that will help serve not only you but the recipients of your lessons.

“Like open windows in a house receiving the outdoor breeze, we want to create open windows in the lives of those to whom we preach and teach.”

The goal is that the Word of God reaches beyond the brain and into the very being of the recipients. You helping them assemble the pieces will go a long way in making that easier to happen.

Joe Wells
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Joe Wells holds an earned B.S. degree in Science along with a completion certificate from the Nashville School of Preaching and Biblical Studies and a Masters of Ministry degree from Freed Hardeman University. Joe travels the country as a frequent speaker for youth and family events, men’s days, as well as gospel meetings. He is the co-founder of Kaio Publications, publishers of the Family Devotional series as well as the Finer Grounds Bible Study series for women. Joe is also the author of the book Complete: Becoming the Man God Purposes You to Be and Game Plan: Developing a Spiritually Winning Strategy for Adults and Teens in Today’s Culture. Along with this, he and Erin are the co-host of The Hey Joe Show, a podcast designed to challenge and strengthen families and teens across America. Joe has served God in a public way since 2000 in the capacity of youth minister and gospel preacher, helping people make the connection with the Word of God and encouraging them to be transformed for Christ. He is blessed to the husband to the former Erin O’Hara, and they are the proud parents of four beautiful children: Colton, Michala, Camden, and Bennett.