“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)
God wants us to apply his Word and let it change our lives. But it starts with studying God’s Word. How do you do it? Yesterday I gave you two general principles for Bible study that apply to any Bible study method.
1. Ask the right questions.
2. Write down your observations.
Today, I’ll share three more.
3. Apply God’s Word. You move from the “what” to the “so what” and do what the Bible says. The ultimate goal of all Bible study is application. In other words, how will this Scripture change my life? We never settle for understanding alone. We want to apply the biblical principles to our daily living.
Interpretation without application is abortion! You stop the process before it comes to full fruition. All of our Bible study efforts really don't have any value if, in the final analysis, I don't become more like Christ.
In fact, you only believe the part of the Bible you apply. Do you believe in sharing Christ with others? Do you believe in tithing? Do you do those activities? If you don’t do them, then you don’t really believe what the Bible teaches about them. The problem that most of us have with the Bible isn’t what we don’t understand; it’s applying what we do understand!
4. Study the Bible systematically. Don’t just study the Bible haphazardly. You can study it systematically by studying it verse-by-verse, book-by-book, topic-by-topic, or theme-by-theme. The opposite of that is the old dip-and-skip method, where you just open up the Bible and put a finger down where you want to study. That won’t produce the kind of results God wants in your life.
5. Read the Bible over and over again. This simple tool will change your life. It’s amazing how much you can get out of a passage if you study the same passage over and over again and then come back to the same passage a few months later. The more you read a passage, the more you’ll get out of it.
There’s no better time than today to start studying the Bible for yourself. No matter how you choose to study, apply these five principles and you’ll get more out of whatever you study.
Talk About It
- In what specific areas of your life do you believe God wants you to apply his Word today?
- Do you have an accountability partner? If not, do you think having one would help you study the Bible more diligently?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.