Summary: How to springboard without slipping

(The Textual Topic or Topical Text)

Lesson Goal

Preach a sermon that appropriately uses a single text as a springboard to discuss a broader topic.

Lesson Intro

As with the biblical topic sermon, some topics are not covered completely within one text.

Lesson Plan

We will discuss how to use a biblical truth as a springboard for a broader topical sermon that is not specifically covered in scripture.

Lesson Body

1. Use

Choose a verse with a topic where the congregation needs some wisdom and where a certain scripture may provide a principle which we can apply. Pray for wisdom in handling the topic as there are some grave dangers we need to avoid. Some people totally discourage the use of a springboard sermon because of its frequent abuse. However, there is a proper time and place for such a sermon. Not every topic that needs to be addressed in preaching is completely covered in the Bible. For example abortion, modern dating or Christmas traditions are not completely covered in the scriptures. However, a scripture that gives a related principle can be legitimately used as a springboard into any of these topics.

2. Abuse

The springboard sermon can be a gravely dangerous sermon, when abused. Frankly, in my experience, it is abused more often than not, especially among preachers of lower theological education. How do we use this kind of sermon rightly? Avoid certain dangers:

Do not twist the text to make it say what it does not, but use it as a springboard to examples, principles and applications that moderns can learn from it.

Remain faithful to the Christian principles and values of the text, without inventing new legalisms and wacky interpretations.

Remain faithful to the topic of the text. After all, who jumps off a springboard into a completely different diving pool? It can only happen in the cartoons and any sermon that does such becomes a cartoon of a sermon. Why do we see so many examples of a scripture being used as a springboard into a totally unrelated topic?

Honestly use the text. When a preacher uses a passage as a springboard, but then ignores the point of the passage, he is dishonestly using the text. Solve this problem by making sure that your topic is an honest use, within the purpose of the passage of scripture.

Example Sermon

Title: "Flea Fornication"


To encourage sexual purity.


Does anybody know what the smallest sin in the Bible is? Flea fornication.


Today we will look at an embarrassing word in 1 Corinthians 6:18, fornication, what it means and how to flee from it.


1. Fornication is ...

Fornication is not just sex before marriage as some people think. The Greek word translated as fornication is porneia, which means any sexual perversion.


Any sex outside of a faithful marital relationship between a man and a woman is porneia, sexual perversion.

2. See the Danger, Flee

So many of us just walk through life naively believing we can get by without forethought and planning. Yet, we can foresee sexual dangers ahead of time and flee.

Application 1

It is not wise to be alone with a member of the opposite sex. It's really a simple bit of wisdom. I make it a personal rule, but I avoid as much as possible even being in a room alone with another woman, and if I absolutely must, I leave the door wide open.

Application 2

It is not wise to watch that questionable movie or click on that web site. Just like the frog in the kettle, you and I may not realize how jaded our moral values have become. Ask yourself, if you are embarrassed to see movie stars kissing each other. Most of us would answer not at all, yet 50 years ago a lot of people would have answered yes.

Application 3

It is not wise to allow your eyes to wander. Jesus said that if we have looked and lusted, we have already done it in our hearts. How many of us have been taught to look a member of the opposite sex in the eyes when we speak to them? How many times are those eyes looking where they ought not?

Application 4

Preserve the marriage bed. The marriage bed is a sacred trust. Do we guard it before and during marriage like we would guard a royal treasure? Do we guard other people's marriages the same way?


Sexual perversion is as common as sliced bread today, and engaged in just as casually. Let's foresee sexual dangers ahead of time and flee them.

Suggested Assignment

Take a text that is a good springboard for discussion, which can be fleshed out with modern applications.

Lesson Outro

Biblical truths can be used as a springboard for broader topical sermon and endless discussions. The dangers and also the possibilities are enormous. I once heard a professor describe theology as a 2,000 year long discussion. He concluded by saying that the discussion is not over yet.

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