After we’ve gotten our Bibles, study tools, and marking pens and pencils, and then worked through the text and interpreted God’s Word, we must then perform the most important task of Bible study: applying God’s Word to our lives.
Applying the Word means to obey it and keep the commandments that are contained in it. We must be doers of the Word.
Jam 1:22-25 KJV 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
The Word of God is like a mirror. We must use this mirror to examine ourselves. We should allow the Word of God to affect us. It should affect every aspect of our daily lives. It should affect the way we act, talk, and treat others, and it should affect the decisions we make. It will make a difference in our lives if we apply it.
We must first observe and interpret the passage, and then we can see clearly to apply it. In order to properly apply the Word we must ask questions about the passage. The questions you should ask are the basic ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’, and ‘how’. Here are some examples of the types of questions to ask:
- Who are the people in the passage?
- Who was it written to?
- What is the setting?
- What is happening in the passage?
- What is the moral of the story?
- What is the message to the original audience?
- How does this passage apply to us today?
- How does the passage apply to me personally?
- How does the passage apply to my current situation?
- How should I act upon this passage?
Application answers the question “now what?” Now that I’ve read the passage and determined its meaning, what do I do with the knowledge I just gained? How do I apply it to my life?
Applying the Word is to obey the Word, but it’s not always easy to know how to obey what you’ve read. Here are some principles to consider for application:
- Pray and ask God to show you
- Re-examine what the passage is saying by meditating on it
- Recognize that God is speaking to you by way of examples
- Be honest about the meaning of the passage by keeping it in context
- Do not read into the passage something that is not there
- Let the clear teaching of the passage speak for itself
- Recognize that there are different types of passages and not every passage has a direct personal application
- Allow Scripture to interpret Scripture rather than preconceived ideas or tradition
There is a difference in knowing and doing. In order to have a closer walk with God we must do both. We must read and study the Word, and then we must apply the Word to our lives. We must allow the Word to change us. We must live the Word. We are the light to the world and the salt of the earth. We must not hide the light under a bushel, or trample the salt under foot. We must read and study the Word to find what God wants us to do, and then we must evaluate ourselves according to the Word. Doing the Word is applying the Word.