How to Apply the Bible - pt. 1
Application is the step between knowing what the Bible says and doing what it says. We have developed a Bible study system called the Life Application Pyramid. Imagine a pyramid with four steps on each side and one at the top. Each step has a name: People, Place, Plot, Point, Principles, Present, Parallels, Priorities, and Plan. Using the nine sets of questions in the Pyramid, you will be able to study the Bible and then apply its principles more practically and thoroughly to your personal life situations.
In this article we will climb up the left side of the Pyramid toward Principles. We will explore how to gather the information from the Bible itself that we need in order to apply it to our lives.
Begin by identifying the people in the passage, the characters who are actively involved. Sometimes no specific individuals or groups will be named (such as when you’re reading Proverbs or Romans). But don’t forget the author and the original audience. So you should ask,
Next, consider Place. This step puts the passage in its original setting, the historical and cultural context. The more you know about the culture, history, and problems of the people in the passage, the more you will be able to find parallels to your life today. Ask,
This step answers “What’s happening?” Usually you can discover this by the context of the passage and book. Ask,
Before you can determine what something in the Bible means for you today, you must first ascertain the meaning for the original audience. Therefore, carefully consider the cultural context (what you learned in the first three steps) to find the particular lessons that God wanted to teach these people. A clear understanding of the Point can prevent damaging misapplication and is invaluable for determining the timeless truths in the passage. To determine the Point, ask,
The next step is to determine what transferable principles are embedded in the passage. The Point and Principles may be exactly the same—or may be indirectly related. The Principles are the distilled essence of a passage. You should ask,
In Part 2 we will learn how to turn all this information into an application.
This article is adapted from Dave Veerman, How to Apply the Bible (ISBN: 0972461604), available everywhere books are sold.