“Just tell me what I need to do, and I’ll do it.”
We sure are anxious to know how to live our lives.
At least that’s the way it seems. How many times have you listened to a message which had no concluding words of application? It’s as though the speaker knows we won’t be satisfied until we’ve been told what to do or how to put said points into practice.
Application is not merely right and good; it is essential. Yet, I think we all too easily get the cart before the horse. We like to apply every word of the Bible before we know what it means.
While it may be necessary for speakers to draw out three points of application for their hearers, I dare say this should not be a general rule for Scripture study as a whole.
Imagine a world where you examine the given passage of Scripture for days. Weeks. Months, even.
You think on it. Ask questions of it. Seek to understand its meaning. Lay out every fine detail. Mine the depths. Zoom out for the grand panorama. Interact with it in the course of everyday conversation. Soak in it. Allow it to fill your thoughts.
For days. Weeks. Months, even.
Without saying, “Here’s how we should apply this to our lives.”
Then, when you’ve lived in the passage and pondered it at great length, you begin to consider two questions:
1} How did this passage apply to the audience of its day?
2} How does this passage apply to me in my day?
Because how can you properly apply something you haven’t yet properly understood?
The Bible is simple and straightforward. We can read it, understand it, and live accordingly.
The Bible is deep and complex and weighty. We must read it and understand it. Before we live accordingly.
[image credits: flickr.com, journeyoftheword.com]