Application Is Not Always Pragmatic

There is plenty of teaching around about the need for application in preaching.  If all we do is lecture on biblical truth, but don’t earth it in the lives of the listeners, then can we really claim to be truly preaching?  Having said that, application doesn’t have to be always pragmatic.  It really depends on the text, the listeners and the occasion, but essentially there are three targets for application:

3. Conduct (the hands) – this is the pragmatic application level.  This is where we give tangible and measurable suggestions to respond to the teaching of the text.  Some are quick to decry this, but remember that Jesus emphasised “doing” what he taught, and James makes a similar strong emphasis with his mirror illustration.  Where this often falls short is that it is either left too vague (so listeners agree, but have no plan to follow through), or there is simply so much of it, week after week, that many listeners simply feel burdened by endless “to-do” lists piling up in their Bibles.

But pragmatics is not all there is to say about application.  Tomorrow we’ll finish the list.

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