I’ve never been a huge fan of the “90% exposition, 10% application” sort of sermon. I’ve been considering lately that the need to “give application” at the end of every sermon or talk is not necessarily so important as it’s made out to be. I think I’m moving towards a preference for two different kinds of hortatory speaking:
- Suggestive narrative (like the Gospels) – in which people are reminded of a biblical story or portion or doctrine, and it is driven home as formative for Christian character. Applications will be hinted at along the way, such that people need to put 2 and 2 together themselves
- Applicational exposition (like the Epistles) – in which a passage of the Bible is looked at, and one or more particular applications of the passage are really extensively explored for a large portion of time, such that they are given due space and perspective
I’m not saying this is how you have to do it – or even how I have to do it – just that I’m coming to appreciate these two different approaches over a singular approach that tries (and often fails) to get the best of both worlds.