“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 NKJV
“Bible study is not for information but for transformation”
It is not those who hear (or know) but those who obey (or apply the word) that will be declared righteous. (Romans 2:13; James 1:22)
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3: 16-17 NASB
1) is inspired by God
2) is profitable for: a) Teaching or doctrine (showing us what is right, the right path on which to walk), b) Reproof or rebuke (showing us where we are wrong, where we got off the path) c) Correction (show us how to get right, how to get back on the path), d) Training or instruction in Righteousness (developing discipline live right, teaching how to stay on the path). The Bible is a as truly a comprehensive manual for living the Christian life. 2 Peter 1:3 says God’s “divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” That knowledge of Him (God) is obtained from the Bible.
3) is inspired by God so that (the purpose or reason it is given) “the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV
We have seen that for you to do these good works, you must “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 NASB.
To rightly handle the word of truth, we must interpret it correctly. But the transformative power of the word lies not in knowing what it says, or knowing what it means, but in applying in to ourselves so that the Holy Spirit can use it to transform us into the image of Christ. The goal of Bible study is not observation and interpretation. It is ultimately that we apply the Word of God to our lives so that we are transformed. That’s the only way our lives can be impacted by what we study. We apply it by doing what it says (ourselves) and teaching others to do what it says. Jesus says if we apply the scriptures to ourselves in these two ways, we will be called great in the Kingdom of God. So we should ready to be able to pass on to others what we learn from the Bible and even the methods that we use so we can help them learn how to fish for themselves. Feel free to teach the methods in this book to others so they can start studying the Bible too.
Testimonies on Application.
Here are some testimonies on application:
“One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it” Oswald Chambers.
“Heart appropriation, not merely head apprehension, is the true goal of Bible study.” Dr. Roy Zuck
You haven’t really read God’s love letter (epistle) until you become a living walking, breathing epistle yourself. Living out the word of God is the only way to prove to yourself or anyone else that you have learned it. Why? Because when you truly surrender your will to God and study his word with a determination to obey, you will understand his word and when you do, the living word of God will take a hold of you, it will possess you and you will obey it. It will become like fire shut up in your bones. Listen to what Jeremiah testifies concerning the word of God . He says, “but if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9. Jeremiah was a man just like us (James 5:17) and that is the effect of God’s word on him. Human beings haven’t changed at all since the time of Jeremiah. The problem with us is that we don’t usually surrender to God’s word to let it come it fully so that it takes hold of us. If we do, it’s impossible to not speak it out and live it.
One can say that the Bible transforms everybody who reads it. What matters is the type of transformation that happens in the reader. You cannot read the Bible and come out untransformed and without an opinion. The Bible can either cause positive life-change in the reader and transform him more and more into the image of Christ or it will transform him into the image of a pharisee where you are blind yet you think you see. Where you have information about the Bible and a from of godliness but no power. That head knowledge with no heart transformation and love to restrain it will puff up and not build up. It will train one to know how to act humble even though he is not humble. You will know the church lingo but bear no fruits. That is a dangerous place to be. The way to avoid that sleepy slope is to surrender your will to God and be ready to obey his word quickly, completely, and cheerfully as soon as you know what he is saying. It’s to be teachable and have a childlike mind before God, loving his Word, having appropriate reverence for it, and being willing to work hard to dig the treasures from God’s word. When you do that and rely on the Holy Spirit and prayer, He (the Holy Spirit) will transform your life with God’s word and teach you everything (1 John 2:27)
What is application?
Application is the act of putting to a special or particular use or purpose the truths that you have learned from the Bible. Application makes the written word to become the living word, that is living and active in your life. Jesus said “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” John 6:63. What are the words that Jesus (God) spoke to us? They are the words inspired and written in the Bible. In application, we prayerfully surrender to the Holy Spirit to make the written word to become life in us. Look at the testimony that Hebrews 4:12-13 gives about the word of God. “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Nothing can hide from it. God’s word will cleanse us and sanctify us (John 15:3). God’s word can only do all this when we apply it. If we just observe it and interpret but not act on it, it may do exactly the opposite. And the application is not limited to us. We must also teach others.
How to apply the Bible.
When we surrender our wills to God to do with us as he pleases and are willing to obey him, the truths that God reveals to us in the scriptures usually comes with instructions on how to use them. What I mean by that is that the Holy Spirit will almost always move our heart on how to obey. If it’s something we were doing wrong, the word will rebuke us for it, then it will correct us, and show us how to stay on the right path. If it’s something we were doing right, it will affirm us to continue it. So make sure you interpret the scriptures correctly and be determined to apply it to your life. The how of the application process will usually come easily. By that I don’t mean that life change will come easy. I mean that you will know what to do with the scripture easily. The process of change may take weeks or even months.
Principle 1: Use PRECEPTS acrostic.
To help with how to apply the word, you can use this acrostic: PRECEPTS
Principle 2: Obey Quickly, Completely, and Cheerfully. Delayed obedience is disobedience!
If God tells you to do something now and you postpone, when you do it later, it will be disobeying not obeying. When God asks us to do something, we need to do it now. Of course, if he teaches you to do something later, you wouldn’t be obeying if you wait to do it later. But many times, procrastinating to act on a word that God has given us means that we open the door for Satan to come and steal the word. If you want too see that Satan snatches the word from people see Matt. 13:19. But when you immediately start obeying, that seed of the word of God in you will take root and grow. It is more difficult for Satan to steal a seed or word that has grown roots. When you apply the word to you, it grows roots deep into you and it causes life change.
Principle 3: Record what you learn.
Keep a journal and write in it all that God teaches you. Our memories are not that great. You will lose most of the things that you don’t write down. You will find that when you write them down, it helps you remember them more and you understand more. That’s a scientific fact. Writing is a learning modality. Besides that, we have noticed that when we come back months later to review our journal, we see how God has been speaking to us in his word and we can correlate that with things that have happened.[divider top=”1″]
Principle 4: Set SMART goals.
Relevant / Realistic / Rewarding
Principle 5. You see one, do one, teach one.
The best way to apply God’s word for maximum benefit to you and to the Kingdom of God is to see one (you see one truth in God’s word), you do one (apply that truth to your life), and you teach one ( you teach at least one person that one truth you learned). When you do that, Jesus says you will be called great in the kingdom of God. (Matt. 5:19 b)