The transition from studying and understanding a passage of Scripture to planning how to communicate its contents meaningfully and clearly is the usually hardest part of writing a sermon. That difficult transition can plague personal devotions as well. “I understand what’s happening…but what does that mean for me today?” 

Years ago, I began using a version of three simple tools, from Bryan Chapell’s Christ Centered Preaching, to help me make that transition in sermon preparation that I think could be revolutionary for anyone aiming to understand and apply God’s Word to their life. 

Here they are: 

  1. Fallen Condition Focus (FCF): How does this passage point out the fallen condition of mankind or creation? Perhaps it’s addressing specific sins or just highlighting the brokenness in the world that causes us to look and long for a savior.

  2. Redemptive Focus Solution (RFS): How is Jesus the good news of this passage? He might offer forgiveness for sins uncovered, redemption and reconciliation, or be the hope we are resting in. Jesus isn’t named or even implied in every passage, but all of Scripture points us to Him in some way (Lk. 24:27).

  3. Main Idea (MI): How can I summarize the two points above into a 1-sentence (10-15 words) main idea to bring clarity and focus to what I just read? 

The FCF helps me see the need for a savior. The RFS clarifies how Jesus is the hope. The MI forces me to cut through the rabbit trails and interesting ideas and find clarity in the passage. 

Before I begin writing any sermon, I take all my notes and from them write three little lines: FCF, RFS, and MI. Filling in each of those spots has been tremendously helpful to me in gaining clarity about any passage of Scripture. The next time you are reading your Bible, I would recommend you do the exact same thing! Make a little note in your journal or just in your mind. What is the FCF? What is the RFS? And how would you summarize the point of that passage in one sentence? 


These 3 simple tools can help anyone better understand and apply Scripture, as well as see more clearly how Jesus is in fact on every page!