The Bible was given to us to show how we can have a relationship with God and how to live our life the way He wants. It is a very practical book. But some people only see it as a text book and make very little connection with everyday life.
The Bible was written to be applied to our life. You really can’t know the Bible unless you apply it to your life. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day ‘knew’ the Bible but they didn’t allow it to affect their way of life.
In Rick Warren’s book, Dynamic Bible Study Methods, he shares 4 steps to make personal application of the Bible. Once you have chosen a verse or paragraph in the Bible, use these steps to help the Bible change your life.
1. Pray for insight on how to apply the passage.
The Bible is like no other book. It is spiritually understood and only the Holy Spirit can really teach us. So it’s important to ask God to help you understand it and promise to obey it and share it with others. If God knows you are ready to obey what He shows you, He may reveal more to you.
2. Meditate on the verse or verses you’ve chosen to study.
Bible meditation is thinking of a Bible verse over and over again. Visualize the scene in your mind. Put yourself in the situation. Think of how you would feel if you were in the situation. I discovered several ways to meditate. Use one or more.
- Emphasize words in the passage. Read through a verse aloud several times, each time emphasizing a different word, and watch new meanings develop.
- Paraphrase the passage. Take the verse and rephrase it in your own words.
- Personalize the passage. Put your name in place of the pronouns or nouns. For example, “For God so loved Greg Burdine…” (John 3:16).
- Use the S-P-A-C-E P-E-T-S. This acrostic represents a question you can apply to the passage. S– Sin to confess? P– Promise to claim? A– Attitude to change? C– Command to obey? E– Example to follow? P– Prayer to pray? E– Error to avoid? T– Truth to believe? S– Something to praise God for?
- Pray the verse or passage back to God. The Book of Psalms is a good example. For example, “Thank You, Lord, for being my Shepherd, and that I lack nothing…” (Psalm 23).
- Answer Who, What, Where, When, Why, How? These are 6 questions every newspaper article tries to answer about a situation. This helps you ask the right questions about a Bible verse.
3. Write out an application.
From the insights you’ve discovered through meditation, write a personal application. If you can’t put it on paper, think some more. Your application should be personal – use “I”, “my,” and “mine” in it. Your application should be practical – it ought to be something you can do. Your application should be possible – it should be something you know you can do. Your application should be provable – you must set up a follow-up to know you’ve accomplished it. Tell a friend so it will keep you accountable.
4. Memorize a key verse.
So you can continue to meditate on the passage and help remind you of your application, memorize a verse or phrase. Sometimes it takes God several weeks or even months to change habits, attitudes, or actions. Bible memory and meditation will reinforce what God is trying to do in your life.
The ultimate test of our personal application of Scripture is “Does this help me become more like Jesus?”
A man saw his neighbor coming out of a church one Sunday morning. He asked the churchgoer, “Is the sermon done?” The neighbor wisely replied, “No. It was preached, but it has yet to be done.”
I hope you will begin or continue to apply God’s Word to your life today!