This past Sunday I spoke to our church about Jesus’ command to his disciples and those in the crowd to “do and observe” what the Pharisees and Scribes who sat in Moses’ seat taught, so long as it was accurately reflected in the Bible. We are also called by Scriptures to do and observe all that the Bible teaches. So, as a people who desire to be not merely hearers, but doers, I gave these five applicational thoughts about how to “use” the Bible more effectively. If you want to hear the sermon that this is taken from, you can download or stream it here, entitled “The Authority of the Word of God.”
- Notate. Take note of application given in sermons you hear. Literally take notes! Look for what God would have you DO with his Word. Don’t just collect biblical information. Then, go back and review your notes, praying for help to obey what you have seen that he wants you to do.
- Saturate. On your own, read your Bible with an eye for application. This means that you need to know how to find universal principles in the Bible. These are truths that are good in every time and every culture. They are also consistent with the whole Bible.
- Categorize. Take those universal truths and begin categorizing them into useful headings. Begin by setting up categories for your roles in life–Bible verses for you as a Father/Mother, as a husband/wife, as a son/daughter, as a Christian, as an employee, as a neighbor.
- Organize. Put Scriptures (and the principles that they speak of) in categories that will lend themselves to your use–such as pride, humility, gossiping, the tongue, hope, fear of man, decision making, forgiveness, etc. Some of these will be more useful to you than others, so be sure to put them on a list that you can tuck into your Bible, or even write into the end papers of your Bible so they are handy whenever you need them.
- Apply. Now, when you are, for example, having a bad day with your mouth–you keep hurting others, or maybe you’ve lost your temper–you can turn in your Bible and meditate on what God’s Word says about that issue and what you need to do. As you do this over and over, you will not only begin to remember where to go without having to look at the list, but you will slowly memorize those verses.
It’s not brain surgery or rocket science, but it does take discipline and effort. Jesus said for you and I to “do and observe” His Word. If you claim that the Bible is truly your authority, then you need to know it so you can obey it. If not, then you are merely a hearer of the Word and not a doer–fooling yourself. May we never find ourselves there.