A - Apply Scripture

When it comes to reading the Bible (Scripture), we like to think of the acronym R.E.A.P.  As we spend time in Scripture, we will "REAP" a harvest. Read, Examine, Apply, Pray.

Go back and see the “Read” post here, and the “Examine” post here.

So, now we look at the third step in this process… A is for Apply.

In his book Living by the Book, Howard Hendricks writes, “That’s exactly the situation confronting people in terms of Bible study.  They promise to pick up the Word, but it usually amounts to very little.  The real question is this: Even if they did read and study God’s Word faithfully, what would they do about it?  What practical difference would they let it make in their lives?”

Hendricks warns us to avoid 4 substitutes for application…

  • Don’t substitute interpretation for application – Just because we understand something, it doesn’t mean we allow it to change our life.  We’ve all done it.  We’ve read/heard/experienced/realized something, we’ve recognized its truth, and then we walk away as we get distracted by the next shiny thing.
  • Don’t substitute superficial obedience for substantive life change – Let's not only apply truth from Scripture to one part of our life.  Let's let these truths saturate every part of our lives.
  • Don’t substitute rationalization for repentance – “Our favorite strategy is to rationalize sin instead of repenting from it.”
  • Don’t substitute emotional experience for a volitional decision – It’s one thing to recognize truth, even to get emotional about our conviction, but it’s another thing to take the step of allowing that truth to change our life, behavior, thoughts, etc.

Once we’ve Read and Examined a portion of Scripture, it’s time to do the hard work of asking… How does this affect me?  Don’t forget this step.  Don’t move on too quickly.  Spend some time here.

Hendricks gives us 9 helpful application questions to ask of every passage…

  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there a sin to avoid?
  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a prayer to repeat?
  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a condition to meet?
  • Is there a verse to memorize?
  • Is there an error to mark?
  • Is there a challenge to face?

Once we’ve asked these questions, ask… What action do I need will I take?

  • Decide to change.
  • Develop a specific plan to implement the change.
  • Do it.  Practice it.  Follow through. 
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Rob Thompson