Determine the Application
Devote to Application
Develop your Theology
Determine An Application
Determine how the text applies to you today, in your context.
- Pray for the Spirit’s help to understand how the text applies to you;
- Decide how the text applies to you;
- Complete the below:
- Based on this text, God wants me to know...
- Based on this text, God wants me to...
- I should apply this text when...
Develop Your Theology
Build your knowledge of who God is; of who you are; and of the relationships that exist between God, you, and the world.
- Complete one, or both, of the questions below:
- How does my study confirm what I understood about God, myself, God’s relationship to people?
- How does my study change what I thought I understood about God, myself, God’s relationship to people?
- Need help getting started?
How should you apply the text to your own life? Ask yourself these questions:
- Should I know something or should I do something because of this text?
- How did the author expect his original audience to apply the text?
- What general principle do I see in the text that I can apply?
- When and where can I apply this text in a way that is consistent with the original intended application?
- What can’t the text mean to me?
Then, Use the If/Then Statements below to answer the above questions:
|A command, instruction, example, expectation, promise, or warning is repeated in a variety of settings and addressed to a universal audience...||...the text, as it stands, probably applies to you.|
|A command, instruction, example, expectation, promise, or warning is found in a unique circumstance...||...the text may be limited to the original audience in the unique circumstance, but look for underlying principles that may apply to you.|
|Old Testament laws, promises, or curses in the text are specifically associated with an earlier covenant in biblical history...||...do not expect those specific laws, promises, or curses to apply to you, but do look for underlying principles in the text that may apply to you.|
|The text contains laws that regulate a practice that is less than God’s ideal (for example slavery or polygamy)...||...consider God’s ideal practice, and decide how the text applies to you.|
|The text contains a promise or warning...||...don’t expect the promise or warning to apply to you apart from the constraints or parameters of the context.|
|A cultural command, or a specific instruction, example, or expectation in the text means the same thing today that it originally meant...||...the text, as is, probably applies to you.|
|A cultural command, or a specific instruction, example, or expectation in the text does not mean the same thing today that it meant to the original audience...||...look for cultural equivalents or underlying principles and apply them to you.|
|The text is about a believer’s behavior in a New Testament text that occurs before Pentecost...||...do not try to understand specific behaviors as examples that apply to you, but do look for underlying principles that may apply to you.|
|The text is a narrative...||...do not look for behavioral models, search for underlying principles, or dig for nuggets of application, but do look for general truths about God, about people, or about God’s relationship to people.|
|The text is found in wisdom literature...||...apply the text to yourself as general truth with a probable outcome.|
|The text is a prophecy...||...expect an ultimate fulfillment of it that exceeds the immediate historical setting, look for the underlying message, and apply it to you.|
|The text is a command, instruction, a promise, a warning, or a prophecy that is part of a letter (an epistle) to the early church...||...the text, as is, probably applies to you.|
|The text is a genealogy...||...do not search for underlying principles or dig for nuggets of application, but do look for general truths about God, about people, or about God’s relationship to people.|
- Pray earnestly for the Spirit’s help in applying God’s truth and submitting to the authority of God’s word.
- Pray for God to search your heart and help you do an honest, humble self-assessment of your heart in light of his word.
- Pray for God’s Spirit to transform your thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors through the study of the text.
- Pray for God to help you connect his truth to your own specific situations.
How to Develop Theology
- Assign equal importance to your text and to related texts even if they seem to support opposite sides of a position; and
- Find strong and unforced connections between your text and the related texts you looked at in Part 2 to help you develop your theology:
- Look for themes about God (God, the: Father, Husband, Lion, Shepherd, Sovereign King, Warrior, etc.); and
- Look for theological themes (atonement, justification, repentance, redemption, salvation, sin, etc.) between your text and the related texts you used in Part 2.