The main purpose in reading scripture is to deduce the meaning of the text at hand. We read and study scripture in order to determine the intent of the author. Anything less is not bible study and will always lead to a chaotic approach of application. Prayerfully, carefully, and skillfully we must determine what the original author intended for his original readers to know and to understand.
The hardest thing for most believers is to "step outside" of the text and let it speak as originally intended. What I mean by this is the scripture was not written to white, anglo-saxxon's in the 21st century. The scripture was written to 1st century Jews and Gentiles. The bible is not our personal and/or individual script to be interpreted as we need or please. I hate to say this and burst any bubbles but there is no "special message in the bible or from God" for you. We only derive blessing, benefit, and application as we apply the original intent of the author to our modern day setting.
We must work hard to discover the eternal principles of truth that are in each and every passage of scripture. It is here that we are comforted, or encouraged, or strengthened. We can certainly be blessed by the reading and study of Scripture. Bible study is a spiritual exercise. Bible study is actually communicating with God through His living Word! The Holy Spirit inspired the bible to be understood and applied in our lives on a daily basis.
There are four principles that we must keep in mind when we make application of a scripture passage for our lives:
- application is grounded in biblical truth not opinion, speculation, or "special messages" to you
- application is based on the biblical author's intended meaning and purpose
- application is to demonstrate the relevance of biblical truth in a practical manner
- application is never to contradict, convolute, counter, or challenge biblical principles
Next time you open the living Word of God, have determined the meaning of the text and are about to make application, remember these four principles and "apply" them to application process.