Friday, August 5, 2011

Bible Study Application

We have often talked about the importance of both reading and obeying God’s Word. We need to apply what we are reading to our lives. God uses the application of His Word to transform us into His likeness.

Application is easier said than done, though.

Recently we have been de-cluttering our house. One of the pieces of paper I found in sorting through some old files was something I had typed up years (okay, decades!) ago describing three different methods of applying Scripture to our lives. It seemed like one of these methods might be useful to someone someday, so I thought I would share them here. (Unfortunately, I did not include the source of the information on that sheet, so I am unable to give proper credit to the people who came up with each of these suggestions.) :(

To use any of the methods below, read the passage of Scripture a few times, and then reference the passage while answering the questions. (I highly recommending writing the answers down - when we write or type the things God is teaching us - it helps to cement the concepts more fully into our lives.)

The Application Pyramid

People: Who are the people in the passage and how are they like us today?
Place: What is the setting and what are the similarities to our world?
Plot: What is happening? Is there any conflict or tension? How would I have acted in that situation?
Point: What was the intended message for the first people to hear this passage? What did God want them to learn or feel or do?
Principles: What are the timeless truths?
Present: How is this relevant in our world today?
Parallels: Where does this truth apply to my life? At home, at work, at school, in church, in the neighborhood?
Personal: What attitude, action, value or belief needs to change in me?
Plan: What would be my first step of action?

The Application Window
(based on II Timothy 3:16)

Doctrine: What should I believe?
Reproof: WHow should I not behave?
Correction: What should I not believe?
Instruction in Righteousness: How should I behave?

The Application Acrostic:

Is there a(n)
Attitude to adjust?
Promise to claim?
Priority to change?
Lesson to learn?
Issue to resolve?
Command to obey?
Activity to avoid or stop?
Truth to believe?
Idol to tear down?
Offense to forgive?
New direction to take?
Sin to confess?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bible Study or Prayer Time?

I’ve not posted in a while, as life has been so chaotic that I’ve had all I can do to keep up with the Bible in 90 Days reading. I have missed you all, though. :)

For the last couple of days weeks months the Holy Spirit has been talking to me about my prayer life. I’ve learned that many times when the Holy Spirit is talking to me about things, I am not the only one. So I thought we’d take a few minutes to talk about prayer.

We often separate the concepts of prayer and Bible study, but we cannot truly understand the Word of God without His Spirit revealing It to us. Therefore prayer, which deepens our relationship with the Lord, is necessary to deepen our understanding of Scripture. :)

But how do we pray? This is not a new question, even the disciples asked this of Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray.” My childhood pastor once suggested using The Lord’s Prayer as a model for personal prayer, using each section of the prayer as a springboard for more detailed communication with God. I’ve been practicing this model for a few weeks, and while it’s slightly different each time, the overall breakdown usually looks something like this:

Our Father Who art in Heaven:
  • Reminds me God is my Father and desires intimate relationship with me. I thank Him for that.
Hallowed be Thy Name:
  • Reminds me God is holy, and that the attitude of prayer should be awe. (Mary Lou Redding of The Upper Room says the essence of prayer is being with God as we are and naming Him as He is, being changed by degrees with each encounter with Him.) God is holy, yet He wants a relationship with me! What a humbling concept! This prompts me to spend some time in worship and praise.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven:
  • Reminds me to surrender to His will for my life, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, year by year.
Give us this day our daily bread:
        •        Reminds me to pray for needs of others and for my own needs.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us:
        •        Reminds me to confess any sin and ask for forgiveness, and also to ask for the strength to forgive others who may have hurt me.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil:
        •        Reminds me to ask God to fight for me, fight through me, and to rescue me

For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever:
        •        Reminds me to conclude my prayer time with a time of thanksgiving and adoration.


What models of prayer have you found helpful in your pursuit of a deeper relationship with the Lord?
Please share with us!