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When Mark Dever prepares to preach, he takes the main points of his sermon and asks how each of them related to the following categories:

Unique Salvation History - What about the passage is important for the way God unfolds his plan of salvation in history? What’s unrepeatable by us but worthy of worshiping God for?

Non-Christian - How does the passage speak to the unbeliever? How does it call him/her to repentance and belief? How does it warn, rebuke, correct, or prod the unbeliever? What does it say about the danger of the unbeliever’s situation, the exclusivity of Christ, the sinner’s need for a Savior, or the sufficiency of that Savior as a substitute for the sinner?

Public - What does the passage say about our lives and roles in the public sphere, both as Christians and non-Christians (e.g., government, neighborhood)?

Christ - How is Jesus foreshadowed or typed? What particular perfection of Christ does that type depict? How is Jesus remembered or described in character, authority, glory, or essence?

Christian - What does the passage mean for the life of the individual Christian? How does it call him/her to deeper repentance and belief? How does it warn, rebuke, correct, motivate, comfort, or encourage the Christian?

Capitol Hill Baptist - What does the passage mean for the corporate life of our local church? How does it call the local corporate body to tend to its corporate life together and corporate witness to the unbelieving community around it?

At the 9Marks site they have posted a sample of this “application grid” from a sermon Dever delivered on Mark. They have also posted a blank one if you want to try it at home! (Obviously this is useful for preachers, but there’s no reason it cannot also be incorporated into personal devotions and study.)


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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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