How Do I Apply The Old Testament To My Life
by Dr. Richard Fisher | Jul 28, 2017 | Personal Growth, Say Yes to God |
Can a 2000-year-old bookthe holy Bibleprovide counsel that directs our lives today? And what about those portions that are even older than 2000 years, going back to the O.T. world of pharaohs and patriarchs?
Despite our skepticism that the Old Testament may not be as helpful to us as the New, Paul wrote, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work .
Paul illustrates his process of applying the text when he answers questions posed by the Corinthian believers. This newly formed church, fraught with disagreements and immorality, was made up of converted Gentiles who were unfamiliar with Gods laws. Old habits had to be replaced and old thought patterns transformed. But where should they begin?
Paul showed them how to apply lessons from Old Testament accounts to their modern scenarios. The church was divided on issues of Christian freedom, like whether it was permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols. How would this practice affect their walk with God? How might it affect others?
Follow The Will Of God
For us to live with a God driven purpose, you must first put down this life to gain life.
Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails.
God has better plans for us than we can imagine and he does things, which we may not be able to understand but trust in his will. Through scripture, there are several ways we can live a purpose driven life.
For all that is in the worldthe desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessionsis not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Take time and reflect if you feel you desire materialistic possessions or want pride and power. Its futile to focus on temporary pleasures because on our deathbed we cant take anything with us. Besides more than likely, your family will be by your bedside, and they love you unconditionally, not because of what you have.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Questions To Apply Scripture To Your Life
A good question in Bible study helps uncover riches in the text that we may not see. This is true for observation, interpretation, and application stages of Bible study.
The following questions¹ will help you apply a passage of Scripture to your life and rely on God for transformation. It may help you to print off the list and tape it inside your Bible .
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Example Of A Bible Verse Commonly Misinterpreted And Wrongly Applied
Judge not, that you be not judged.
Matthew 7:1 ESV
We all know this verse. Even non-Christians know it. We all love to quote it. But unfortunately its almost always taken out of context. Many people use this verse to mean that they can do anything they want to and no one is allowed to tell them whether its right or wrong. Ironically, many non-believers use this verse to condemn Christians for judging.
But Jesus didnt tell us not to judge. In fact, we are called to judge righteously.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Matthew 7:1-2 ESV
The point is that we arent supposed to be hypocrites. We cannot hold someone else up to a standard that we refuse to live by. Jesus is saying that if you judge your neighbor according to a specific standard, prepare to be judged by that standard as well. In other words, its not saying dont judge. Instead, its saying judge people in the way you would want to be judged.
What happens when we misinterpret Matthew 7:1?
When we misinterpret this passage, we can unknowingly adopt the idea that everything is okay and nothing should be called out or spoken against. We think that were sinning if we righteously call out someone elses wrong. This may cause us to live in fear of addressing hard topics and calling out wrong in our communities. Misinterpretation causes misapplication and we end up failing to be doers of the word.
Turn Your Heart To The Lord
Every time we come to the Word, its good to first turn our heart to the Lord Jesus. Before we start our Bible reading, we can pray a simple prayer like this:
Lord Jesus, I turn my heart to you right now. I open to You. Speak to me and wash me in Your Word today. Dear Lord, there is so much more for me to see in Your Word. Enlighten me more as I read today.
Praying a simple prayer like this will help us be open to anything the Lord would like to speak to us through His Word.
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The Basics Of Personal Meditation
Whether through reading the Bible personally, hearing it preached, or studying it corporately, believers are called to apply its teaching to all dimensions of life. This comes largely through careful and prayerful meditation on what we have heard or read. As we reverently consider what God is saying in a particular text, we ask the Lord to illumine our minds, bend our wills, and strengthen holy desire, all to the end of the sincere practice of godliness.
To help us in our application of a particular passage of Scripture, we can ask the following questions:
Is there any truth about the Triune God for me to know? Remember that the Bible is primarily a book in which God reveals who he is through his saving acts on behalf of his people. So, we should discern what characteristics of God are evident in the passage.
Is there any example for me to follow? Most of the Bible is narrative, so there will be men and women whose lives of faith we should seek to emulate as we go about our own lives. Observing these examples, we can seek, by the grace of God and the leading of the Spirit, to imitate their faith .
Is there any command for me to obey? Often in our Bible reading we will find very clear commandsfor example, love one another whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them . We should think about how to apply such instructions in our present relationships in the home, church, and society.
Pray Over What You Read
Sometimes as were reading the Bible, a particular verse stands out to us. It may comfort us, convict us, or apply exactly to our situation. Other times, a verse may perplex us. Whatever our reaction may be, when were struck by a particular portion we should stop and pray over it. We can thank the Lord or praise Him for the promises we find in His Word. We can also ask Him to show us the meaning of a certain passage or just talk to Him about a verse.
In this way, the Bible can become a book of prayer to us, helping us spend time with our dear Lord Jesus and develop our relationship with Him.
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The Simple Guide To Find Your God Given Purpose In Life
By Kevin Payne
Do you find yourself struggling to find your God-given purpose in life? If so youre not alone. While in college I found myself questioning if I was wasting my life because my actions didnt reflect a life I was too proud of. I knew what I was passionate about but didnt know if following my passion aligned with Gods purpose for my life. I want to share some of the lessons I learned while seeking the help of pastors and mentors to answer this question that many philosophers have been debating over for centuries.
I must admit I often link my career accomplishments with my identity, which can lead to us falling short of our true God-given purpose in life. The right thing to do is bring glory to God because there is no one greater who is worthy of trust, adoration, and worship. Therefore, for the Christian, we are to live to bring glory to Godhow we do that is through prayer and study of His Word, the Bible, so that we might better know what He has for us. Here are several ways to glorify God in your everyday life.
The Holy Spirit Will Help You Apply The Bible To Your Life
When we first gave our hearts to God, he filled us with the Holy Spirit who speaks to us and leads us in truthGods truth. As we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit will guide us to understand it and live out Gods ways.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you .
Applying the Bible to your life means hiding Gods Word in your heart and obeying the Holy Spirit as He whispers Gods ways and truths to us .
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The Bible Tells Us What To Do
God gave us the Bible so we could know how to be faithful to Him. His word gives us general guidelines that are applicable regardless of time, place, or person.
Now that we know beyond a doubt we are Gods children, this can influence our daily lives, our self-worth, our relationships, and so much more.
But wouldnt it be nice to have some specifics? What kinds of things should we do with this new perspective?
Fortunately the Bible is helpful here, too. While the culture was vastly different at the time it was written, humanity was dealing with the same struggles that persist today: pride, greed, guilt, hate, fear, etc.
All those struggles are the same sin, just wearing different clothes. Each one represents a form of selfishnessvaluing ones own life and preferences above others and choosing that same self-interest over Gods loving guidance.
Its not just in Genesis the whole Bible is about choice. Its like a reference book to help us make better choices each day.
In Exodus we have the Ten Commandmentsprobably the most famous rules in the Bible.6 Thats understandable, since many of todays laws reflect those same principles.
Dont steal, dont murder, dont cheat on your spouse those are all commandments. And thats a good start. Following those will certainly help keep you out of trouble.
Want to learn how Gods principles can also help you find freedom, hope, and healing in your life today?
Take Micah 6:8 for example:
Heres another good one:
Tackle The Application Of Less
Application is a lifelong process, seeking to expand and deepen wisdom. At the simplest level, simply read through the Bible in its larger chunks. The cumulative acquisition of wisdom is hard to quantify. A sense of what truth means and how truth works is overheard as well as heard. But also wrestle to work out the implications of specific passages.
Consider two examples. The first presents an extreme challenge to personal application: a genealogy or census. These are directly irrelevant to your life. Your name is not on the list. The reasons for the list disappeared long ago. You gain nothing by knowing that Koz fathered Anub, Zobebah, and the clans of Aharhel . But when you learn to listen rightly, such lists intend many good thingsand each list has a somewhat different purpose. Among the things taught are these:
The Lord writes down names in his book of life. Families and communities matter to him. God is faithful to his promises through long history. He enlists his people as troops in the redemptive reconquest of a world gone bad. All the promises of God find their Yes in Jesus Christ .
You apply a list of ancient names and numbers by extension, not directly. Your love for God grows surer and more intelligent when you ponder the kind of thing this is, rather than getting lost in the blizzard of names or numbers.
God reveals himself and his purposes throughout Scripture. Wise application always starts there.
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Why Do We Need To Apply The Bible To Our Lives
While the Bible was written a long time ago, its more than just an ancient book. The Bible is Gods way of revealing himself to us. When we apply scripture to our lives, we move from simply having head knowledge towards also having heart knowledge of Gods word. Anyone can read the Bible and think they know God but only those who ready by the Spirits help and take his word to heart will truly know him.
The Bible also teaches, corrects, and instructs us in righteous living.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
We all need to grow in our faith and relationship with God. If we only read without absorbing what God wants to teach us through scripture, well miss out on spiritual growth.
You Might Be Surprised How Immediately Applicable Its Spiritual Principles Can Be All It Takes Is A Little Study And Reflection
If you asked a history teacher why its important to study history, you might hear something like, So we wont repeat our past mistakes, or To understand why things are the way they are.
Sure, studying history can feel like reading a bunch of old news. But a closer look at past events can reveal different aspects of human nature. It can teach us valuable lessons about group behavior and cause and effect. We learn what people have tried before, why they tried it, and if it worked or not. Then we can plan for the future accordingly.
Learn Your Story Through Scripture
The Bible is like one big history book, useful for those same reasons. The bonus is that the Bible includes a perspective no other history book has.
The lessons in the Bible are a promise from God Himself that living a Christ-centered, Bible-based life can benefit you here and now and also eternally.
Heres an overview of how the Bible can provide guidance and add purpose to your life even today:
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The Bible Tells Us Why We Should Do What It Says
The Bible says in multiple places that those who believe in God and strive to do His will are given eternal life. . They get to go to heaven and hang out with God in a perfect world.
But is that it? Are we only supposed to do good so well be saved?
As you might have guessed, theres a bit more to it.
The Bible gives us guidance for life today because today mattersfor you, for God, and for everyone around you.
While there is no promise of a perfect life, the lessons in the Bible are meant for your benefit. Thats why Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly .
God offers the fruits of His Spiritlove, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control7 to those who choose Him daily.
Whats more, when considering what Jesus has done for us, it only makes sense to live a life enriched with gratitude. In response to Gods love, we strive to love one another. This is the key to freedom, healing and hope.8
Colossians 3 touches on this concept:
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you put off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.
Gifting Gods Love
What Does God Want Us To Do
James 1:22-25, Matthew 22:34-40
Applying the Bible to modern life is a phrase we can often say without knowing what we really mean. So what do we mean when we say apply Gods word?
What does it mean to apply Gods word? and How to apply Gods word are similar but different topics. In a past article I wrote about 5 practical ways you can be empowered to actually do what the Bible says.
Thats the how part of applying Gods word. Today, however, we are talking about what applying the Bible to modern life actually means.
Applying Gods Word to Modern Life Means You Do What the Bible Says
When I say the phrase apply Gods word I mean live Gods word or do Gods word. Theres a difference between knowing and understanding the Bible compared to actually applying biblical principles to modern topics and questions. You can know the doctrines and live a very secular lifestyle.
So when I say apply Gods word I mean the actions and patterns of your life are reflecting godly truths and Christs likeness in your modern day and age. It means you are actually doing what the Bible says in your life. James 1:22-25, for example, explains the difference between being a hearer and a doer of Gods word:
But that is more about the How to apply Gods word to your life. Theres more to say about What does it mean to apply Gods word to modern life?
To Apply Gods Word, You Must Love God and People for His Glory
To glorify God we must obey his commands .
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