Updated: Feb 11, 2020
by:Pastor Matthew Mitchell
“The third key to understanding is to opening your mind and heart to live what is in being said.” (Pastor Matthew Mitchell)
Once you have Observed, and Interpreted you can Apply rightly. Even at this point application is not about you. Application is our last step. It is a set of action. If we are truly going to allow God’s Word to impact us then we must take this and apply what God wants for us. The primary purpose of the Bible is to change lives, not increase knowledge. This is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is the act of storing information. Wisdom is the act of storing information and acting on that information. In Bible study we are on a journey to become the men and women that God desire us to be. Often we make applying God’s word an emotional experience, when it should be an action experience. It is your action God wants. Matthew 21:28-31a “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” (NASB) The will of the Father is to go do the work that He is asking us to do. No matter how old or young you have work to do. James 1:19-27 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 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.” (NASB) So lets get doing!
In our Application we need to use the principles of Observation. Write down some possible application during your Observation time. Be careful because your final application may be different. We don’t want the Bible to fit us, but we want to fit the Bible. In your prayer time before you start your study ask the Holy Spirit to help youfind the right application that God has for you.
Here are some questions to help you get started. Is there any examples for me to follow? Is there any command for me to obey? Is there any error for me to avoid? Is there any sin for me to forsake, or abandon? Is there any promise for me to claim? Be careful here with promises. Not all promises in the Bible are promises to you. A lot of the time promises in the Old Testament are not for us, but they do show us about God’s faithfulness. Finally is there any new thought about God Himself? These question will help you find the application that God has for you. The wonderful thing about this process is the more we grow the greater the understanding and application we have for your life. Remember there is only one Interpretation, but there can be many Applications. Applications change as we grow in understanding, and maturity.
To help you in your pursuit of Application use the 24 Laws of Interpretation found in your appendix #3. Interpretation is going to tell you how you apply what you are reading. You are looking for the author’s intent, so you can intently apply what God is communicating. Still remember it is not about you so the application may not be the same as the intended reader received. Remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 the application for Israel was that if they would repent God would bless specifically, but our application is that God is faithful in the big things when we are faithful in the little things.
Application requires 4 “B” that you need to think about. 1) Be selective in your Applications. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Remember to keep your heart open to what God wants to teach you. 2) Be teachable, but do not try to apply without 1st understand the Interpretation. 3) Be Specific about the Application. Put your finger on the heart of the problem and press. Don’t be what I lovingly call “John Madden,” which is to state the obvious. For example Philippians 2:5 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” (NASB) The Obvious, is God wants me to be like Jesus, but here is the specific Philippians 2:7 “but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” My specific application could be something like this: “I have not been a servant to family as I should. I sit around and don’t do the things that I am suppose to. I wait until someone else does them. I find myself getting upset when I actually have to go out of my way to serve someone else. I need to __________ (fill in the blank specific ways you can serve others and how you can go out of your way for others).” 4) Be personal. It is easy to see someone else in an application, but so much harder to see ourselves. Application is for you. God is trying to teach you something. So if something comes to mind don’t look around the room to point fingers. Remember when you point your finger you have three fingers pointing back at you. Point the finger at yourself to do what it is that God needs you to do.
Write out your application. Writing down your personal application will allow you to go back to see your progress, and to help hold yourself accountable to the things that you need to work on. Set up a check up. Application can take a short or a long period of time, but set goals to accomplish long range applications. One step at a time is all you need. God does not expect you to fix everything at once. He knows that it is going to be a process, and that is why He has given you the Holy Spirit. It is the struggle that is important. If there is not struggle then there is no salvation. There are some Principles of Application in your appendix #4. Check out the principles, because it is going to help you be intentional. We don’t learn by accident, and we don’t fix things by chance. It take purpose, discipline, and work to become more like Jesus.