Often we sunday-school teachers leave our classrooms on Sunday discouraged because the students—whether young or old—seem to have missed the touch of God upon their lives that morning. Then that verse in Isaiah, “My word shall not return unto me void …,” flashes to mind, and we think, “All is not lost. God will work it out and will not let his Word return void.”

But have we not taken comfort in an idea that is not biblical? The verses preceding Isaiah 55:11 suggest a need for response and involvement among those to whom the Word is given before we can claim the promise of verse eleven. And it is evident that our Sunday-school class was not responsive or involved.

When God gives us a responsibility, he is neither magnified nor exalted when we fail to fulfill that responsibility and then say, “Well, God will turn it out for good in the end!” If our preparatory study is shallow, if we make only a hurried attempt to fit the truth of God’s Word into the lives of our students, we cannot expect them to feel the life-changing touch of God during the Sunday-school class.

In the evangelical churches, the facet of biblical exposition that is perhaps most in need of improvement is application. Truth correctly fitted inevitably has impact. The Word of our Father cogently applied shatters our shallow spirituality and floods our being with His power and presence.

Following are some guidelines for application:

1. The application must be related to the student’s life, rather than the teacher’s. As the teacher studies the text, the passage begins to filter into his life and find its mark among his own fears and pressures. But when Mr. Brown tells his class how faithful God ...

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