• Steve Tillis

From Personal Study to Public Teaching

In today’s post we’ll do something a little different. Sometimes, church members or others will have done some research on a Bible passage and ask me how to use that research to develop teachable lesson material. Here’s a framework that I recommend:

Title: Brief, memorable, and captures the lesson in a few words.

Text: Give the scripture reference; read the Bible passage to the hearers clearly and with passion.

Introduction: Connect a life situation with the text. Bring a problem to the surface and show how Scripture addresses it.

(MI)-Main Idea: In a sentence or two tell them what the main idea of the scripture passage is that you are speaking on today.

Transition: Here are, notice these, look with me at, the Bible addresses this… These types of statements are helpful transitions. You’ve made an assertion, and now you are transitioning into your support.

First Point: Present tense application-based statements.

EXAMPLE: Jesus explained the Great Commission to the disciples in Matt. 28:18-20.

BETTER: Your marching orders are to make disciples of Jesus Christ among the nations.

  • Explanation (What does the text say?) This is your exegetical work on the text. Remember, you don’t need to drag them through your study, you just need to give them the fruit of it.

  • Illustration (What does the text look like in flesh and bone?) It’s the accent wall in the room, or an explanation that makes it pop.

  • Application (How should the text change me?) If you make your main points application sentences you won’t have a hard time. Just flesh that sentence out in people’s lives.

Transition: This is a bridge from the previous point to the next.

EXAMPLE: Now that we have our marching orders to make disciples, look with me at the curriculum we are to use.

Second Point:

  • Explanation ...

  • Illustration ...

  • Application ...

The number of points in a lesson is directly connected to how many points the author is making in the text you are teaching.


  • Don’t introduce new material.

  • Briefly recap the lesson.

  • Vision (what does a person look like who does what you preached?)

  • Repeat the Main Idea

This basic framework should help you transform your personal notes into something that you can share with others, to the glory of God.

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