Justice Defined Bible Study Lessons

Application puts feet on our Bible study—we cannot really say we know the truth until we walk in it. Dr. Roy B. Zuck said, “Heart appropriation, not merely head apprehension, is the true goal of Bible study.” In this chapter, we will be focusing on the ultimate aim of every Bible study method: a transformed life. It is impossible to study the Scriptures diligently without running headfirst into the need for personal application. When we know what a passage means (interpretation), we are responsible to put what we know into practice (application). As we “do it,” our lives are transformed.

“DO IT”—Are You Applying What You Know?

How do we apply the Bible to our daily lives? Simple. We become “doers of the Word.” James 1:22 says that if we are hearers only we are deceiving ourselves. God’s purpose for our study time is transformation—He wants to make us more like Jesus. He is not impressed by our knowledge; He is blessed by our obedience. So one very important question that we need to be asking as we study the Bible is how can we apply what we are learning to our lives each day.

The greatest evidence that we love God is that we walk in obedience to His Word, not out of a sense of duty or in response to a book of rules, but out of a genuine heart of love and devotion to Him. Love for God will always motivate us to obey His commands and seek to glorify Him in every area of our lives. An unwillingness to apply the Scriptures to our lives will inevitably lead to spiritual insensitivity to the Lord and to His people. If a Christian is careless in Bible reading, he will care less about Christian living.

Indeed, applying the Bible to our lives changes the way we think, act, and live. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny!” Perhaps W. H. Griffith described it best of all when he said, “Through and above all stages we must press until we arrive at the summit, which is the use of the Bible as God’s personal Word to our own souls, ‘What saith my Lord unto His servant?’ ‘What wilt Thou have me to do?’ The Scriptures are intended to lead the soul directly to God, to introduce it to His presence, and to convey His revelation of truth and grace. And if we fail to realize this, we fail at the critical point, and all our other knowledge, great and valuable though it be, will count for little or nothing.”

Do Not Neglect Application

Remember, observation, interpretation, and application work together in transforming the way we live our lives. Each stage in the process is necessary, however application is both the most needed and the most neglected of them all. It is truly better to live one verse of the Bible than to recite an entire chapter from memory. Don’t be deceived! Every time we hear the Word of God, we choose whether we will obey it. Oswald Chambers said, “One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.” It is possible to have heads that are filled with Scripture and yet have hearts and lives that are filled with carnality. Every Bible should come with the following label:

Warning: This Book is habit-forming. Regular use causes loss of anxiety, and a decreased desire to lie, cheat, steal, or hate. Common side effects may include: increased sensations of love, peace, joy, and compassion.

The Three P’s of Good Application

• Personal: Ask yourself: How does this truth apply to my life? (At work? At home? At school?) Make it personal by writing your answers in the first person singular, using the personal pronouns “I,” “my,” and “mine” as you record your thoughts.

• Practical: Ask yourself: In view of this truth, what specific changes should l make in my life? It ought to be something that you can begin doing right away. Plan a definite course of action and begin to implement it. Design a practical project, which will encourage you to be a “doer of the Word.” Make your application as specific as possible. Broad generalities will leave you feeling helpless and produce little action.

• Provable: Ask yourself: How do I propose to carry out these changes? When will I do this? Be specific in determining the answers to these questions. Set up some sort of follow-up to check your progress. It has to be measurable so you can know that you have done it. It is also good to set a deadline for your application.

Andy Deane, Learn to Study the Bible: Forty Different Step-by-Step Methods to Help You Discover, Apply, and Enjoy God’s Word (Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2009), 34–36.

Josh Hunt ● www.joshhunt.com ● josh@joshhunt.com ●  1964 Sedona Hills Parkway, Las Cruces, NM 88011
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