Yes. I like.

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This is a very helpful approach for me to consider as I share the gospel weekly with 2 groups of teenage girls. I've often lacked confidence in my approach but this confirms my intent and purpose as I seek God's intent and purpose.

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Related to this, for a while now, instead of asking what's the big idea of a passage, or what's this passage all about, I have been starting with the question: What does this passage want us to do (believe, think, feel, etc)?

To answer this question I need to ask: What was the original rhetorical intent of the passage — that is, what response did God wish to provoke in the original hearers? I find this question so helpful in trying to understand a passage. It gives my exegesis purpose and focus. Not only does it get me to think about what response the author wished to provoke, but how he was trying to do so. I then do my biblical theology to work out what our response should be today.

So for example, Eph 1:3-14 is a rich passage seemingly full of big ideas. But when I start with the question: what does Paul want his readers to do, it doesn't take long to see that Paul is wanting his readers to join in praising God for his amazing grace. And he's trying to provoke them to do so by giving them a birds-eye view of all the blessings they have in Christ. He gives us a look at the whole land-scape so that together we will go, 'Wow! Praise God!'

So the aim of my sermon (or application) is to provoke my hearers to praise God for his amazing grace, and I'll do so by giving them a birds-eye view of all the blessings they have in Christ.

Once I know what the passage is wanting us to do, I simply turn it into a Big Question (e.g. why should we praise God?). My sermon then becomes a presentation of this question and using the passage to answer it (i.e. Why should we praise God? Because he has done this, this, and this for us, and given us this, this, and this, etc.).

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