Once we have observed and interpreted the text, we can then apply the text to our lives. If we only observed and interpreted the Scriptures but never applied them, the benefits of Scripture would have no impact in our lives (Precept Ministries International, 2000).
James 1:22–25 says: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
Along with hearing the Word, we are to be doers of the Word so we are not deceived and so that the Word may bless us. By “doing” the word of God, we become more like Jesus, which is our ultimate goal as His followers.
The application of Scripture opens the door for God to work in our lives.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 gives us a great example of how the Scriptures are applicable to our lives: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Let’s delve deeper into this list: teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (Precept Ministries International, 2000).
The teachings of God’s Word consist of its wisdom about all areas of life. The Bible’s teachings are always true, as Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Therefore, we must embrace and live by the teachings of God’s Word because it is true. And, as we’ve been exploring in the last few days, we must first understand (through observation and interpretation) the teachings of God’s Word in order to apply them to our lives.
The Scriptures are also good for reproof. “Reproof” means a correction or steering us in the right direction. If we have thoughts or behaviors that contradict God’s Word, the Bible sheds light on these areas of our lives and its reproof moves us to change. Once these areas have been exposed, we can take the first step toward change by accepting the fact that we have been out of step with God’s Word in thought or deed.
Next, the Scriptures help with correction. After allowing the Scriptures to reprove us and point out that we are not in line with God’s Word, we can now correct our ways. This can be a difficult step, since it requires us to take action, be disciplined, and act obediently. Thankfully, God’s Word gives us all we need to accomplish correction in our lives. Last, God’s Word is good for training in righteousness. The Bible teaches how to live as we seek to follow Christ and be more like Him. The Scriptures give us all we need to be complete and “equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). In the Bible, we have all the wisdom we need to handle every situation in life. Part of this process is actually writing out applications for how scripture will be incorporated into our everyday life. An application is not just a general principle such as “Pray for my friends,” or “Love others.” Rather, it’s always specific and memorable (and sometimes creative!) Most people aren’t going to be moved to change by a general idea, but by something that intentionally gives direction. So, instead of, ‘Be Kind,” try something like, “Text two friends every day at noon and tell them what I love about them.” Application isn’t just a directive, it’s a way of making biblical truth come to life!
As we attempt to apply the Scriptures to our lives, let us remember to seek out the teaching of each passage, to examine our hearts and lives for anything contradictory to God’s Word, and to ask the Lord what He is trying to teach us through each passage.