Application (What do I do?)
Putting it all together : how does It work? Or, how does this text relate to me and my times? This is where we finish that triangle we saw in the Obs. segment I getting the text from them/then to us/today.
This is maybe the most critical process in our training today. Howard Hendricks said, ‘Observation plus interpretation without application equals abortion.” In other words, every time you observe and interpret scripture but fail to apply it, you kill the purpose of scripture. Paul write Titus and the church so that they would have, “knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness.”
There’s a danger in Bible study and exegesis: it can turn into an intellectual exercise- fascinating but ultimately frustrating- spiritually. I get mentally excited but what I find in the Bible all the time yet I have to make sure it’s morally challenging to me, or what’s the point?
The differences between interpretation and application… Interpretation focuses on meaning. Application focuses on action. Interpretation involves a singular meaning (the same for all Christians). Application involves multiple actions (different for specific life situations).
The goal – is 2-sided. We need to get into the word of God, so the word gets into us. Our character and conduct has to change as the result of what we study. So application starts by Identifying the timeless truth(s) of a text- extract cross-cultural principles (general truths) for living, that applies to all people of all times.
Guidelines: identify a contemporary situation that parallels the original situation. Look for key elements (people, places, relationships, ideas, items, etc.) that parallel the original situation and relate the timeless truth specifically to that contemporary situation (e.g. 1 Cor. 8, 10, Ro. 14 and food offered to idols). As per 2 Tim. 3:15-17, Sola scriptura.
Begin with 3 questions:
1) What does this passage teach concerning a holy life in Christ (the purpose of our salvation/Eph. 1)?
2) How does my life measure up to the teaching of the passage? Am I doing what it says (e.g. Eph. 4 in terms of forgiveness)?
3) What definite steps of action do I need to take to obey the passage? Or..
What should I do? Is there a specific sin to avoid? Is there a verse to memorize? Is there a promise to claim? Is there a prayer to repeat? Is there a command to obey? Is there a condition to meet? b Is there a challenge to face?
What about difficult issues of conviction and conscience? Or how do I turn issues of grey to black and white (discernment or decision making)
• Will it build me up?
• Will it bring me to bondage?
• Will it help or hurt others?
• Will it glorify God?
I take these questions and Psalm 37:4 to mean, that the way we turn the grey of life to black and white, is to think biblically. Is to so love God, Jesus and people, and so love the Word and saturate your mind with it (Col. 3 letting the “Word of Christ dwell in you richly,”) that you know the will of God for your life. I once mentioned a lady professing to be a believer who had a abortion because she couldn’t find the word in the Bible that might direct her. The lady only had to turn to scripture in the psalms and Jeremiah and prayerfully what God says about life and about His sovereignty creating life in the womb and what the Commandment “You shall not kill-murder,” really means. That’s observation, interpretation and application on for your life and how to turn grey into B&W.