Continuing the breakdown of the 10-point Bible Study Tool, we next come to point 4: Application in daily living. How you apply God’s Word to your life is central to true faith. In fact, the last six points are all elements of life application.
Many people think it is enough just to memorize some of the Bible. Our jails are full of men and women who can quote Scripture. Yet when they are released, they go right back into a life a crime. They think they can “play” God, trick Him into showing them favor. Now some really do find God in prison, and are struggling with a sin nature that wants to drag them down. But for others, it is part of their game; they have no intention of serving God when they get out. They are just using God (they think!) to get a lesser sentence.
There are law-abiding, church-going people who do the same. They use religion to salve a guilty conscience. They give money to the church to pay God off for their sins. They memorize verses, but never try to live them.
The Apostle John said that this is how we KNOW that we know Christ, when we strive to keep His commandments (1John 2:3). The person who only knows a little of the Word, but obeys what He knows out of a heart to honor God, is greater in the Kingdom of God than the one who can quote Scripture backward and forward, but continues in sin.
It has often been said, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” In the New Testament, the Pharisees and scribes (experts in the Law) knew the Scriptures very well, and thought they had God all figured out. However, by their actions they proved that they did not know God.
Let’s take the Sabbath Law for example. On the Sabbath Jews were not allowed to work; it was to be a day of rest in memorial of the seventh day of creation – and because we all need to take time off to rest. But by Pharisaical interpretation, if a man’s animal got stuck in a ditch on the Sabbath they were allowed to free it, even though that was work. One day, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath; the Pharisees and scribes got hot under the collar over it, accusing Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. They proved that they did not know God (Matthew 12), even though they claimed to know and believe Scripture.
(John 5:39-40) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
The ultimate key to knowing Scripture is going to Christ. He is the author and finisher of our faith, and He is the one who writes His Word in our hearts. Thus, it is through going to Him that we can make His Word effectively apply in our lives.
It is not enough to just say a little sinner’s prayer, and perhaps go to church. That is only the beginning of salvation. It does not even matter if you have been baptized in the Spirit, and work in spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-13). Jesus said that on judgment day there will be many who say to Him, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” Jesus will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23). Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” to Jesus is going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do His will.
The only way we can really get to know a person is to spend time with them, talk to them and find out what they have to say. Find out their mind, their way of thinking. Likewise, we must go to Christ and ask Him what He meant by the things He said in His Word. James said we need to ask God to give us wisdom (we all lack it in our own selves) (James 1:5).
Then, as we get to know Him, we will learn how to keep His commandments. We will find how to use this Bible study tool. We will know how God’s Word applies to daily living.