Application

Biblical application involves both thinking and acting; being and doing. “Immersing oneself in the study of the Bible has the power to transform one’s feelings and emotions, attitude, and will. And according to the Bible, this transformation of character will be expressed in behavior”.

The purpose of this phase is for the student to connect the text to their contemporary life using the key verse/sentence. Connecting application with the key helps ensure the main point is being applied.

In this process it is important not to go straight to application before considering the original application for the original audience. One question to ask could be: “What is the eternal principle of this text?”. This is looking for something from the original setting that is transcendent and relevant for today that should inform one’s thinking and behavior.

Conclude with prayer that prays the application of the key.

Challenges

Situational challenge
To overcome the historical gap between the text then and now it may help to ask rational and implicational questions. “The rational question probes the underlying reasons, or rationale, for the statement, and quite often at least some of these reasons that stand behind a circumstantially contingent statement are transcendent (for all time).” Implicational question divulges the presuppositions and logical outgrowths of biblical passages. Generally the implications of a circumstantially contingent statement transcend the original situation.

Relations of testaments
“One’s understanding of the relationship between the Testaments will make a difference in terms of one’s evaluation and [application] of biblical statements”. Generally speaking, “the Old Testament prepares for the New Testament, and the New Testament fulfills the Old. Specifically, the two Testaments have a dialectical relationship between them because the notion of preparation-fulfillment involves essential continuity but with some discontinuity.”

“Old Testament passages should be evaluated in light of their place in the Old Testament and in light of specific New Testament statements and overall New Testament teachings.” New Testament statements “should be evaluated in light of overall New Testament teachings and other specific New Testament passages.”

Biblical ethics
The Bible generally “presents ethical obligation in terms of principles (e.g., thankfulness, love) rather than a legal code” and so Biblical ethics is more principle-based rather than legal-based.

“The primary concern of the Bible is not ethical but theological, so ethics derives from the primary theological focus of the Bible.”... “The center of biblical ethics, the human moral obligation, is to respond to God’s lordship.”

Textual clues to help with application

Context. This “is generally the most significant type of evidence; for context involves authorial direction to the reader. Students should remember that context includes all evidence within the biblical book.”

Scope: “This involves asking whether the teaching of this passage applies to all persons in the world or only to certain persons” or groups.

Force: “Some demands are absolutely required, so that one’s acceptability to God is directly affected by compliance or noncompliance” other statements “are only tactical suggestions. They constitute advice that may be helpful” (eg Proverbs).

Degree of concession: “ascertaining whether a given biblical teaching or statement is an ideal accompanied by the concession that no one, or at least very few, can be expected to realize it; or deciding whether a biblical teaching or statement reflects a concession” of weakness.

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