We already concluded in part 1 of this discussion, that:
1. The Bible was written to others — but speaks to you too.
2. And, the Bible is about God — but draws you in. We have to look for what the passage, chapter or Bible book says about God and recognise why it is straightforward to you that this passage has relevance for you personally, today.
When you recognise a passage still unknown to you as truth that applies to you personally, it will generalise or summarise God’s truth and narrative in a way that it clearly invites personal application and relevance.
Think, for example, about the promises of God to all believers, especially those that we know as the Gospel promises – about redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation and salvation with God in Jesus and our eternal future with Christ.
Also recognise the joys and sorrows, moral principles and commandments in the Bible that present themselves as of everlasting and universal importance. Apply these universal, eternal promises of God for all believers, to yourself. Or test your own life situations against the universal expectations of God for all believers.
Pay attention to how various Bible passages continuously and specifically reapply the same promises and standards over and over and how it relates to the whole Bible and its universal assurances and decrees.
Then, look for the place in such a passage where these words come to you as a Christian, as a follower of Jesus, and are therefore applied differently by you, than by a non-Christian, or someone of another religion.
In simple terms, how do I apply these revelations for and in my relationship with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Lord.
In matters of obedience, the Bible often proclaims a general truth without mentioning any of the multitudes of possible practical applications.
For example, when Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and money” – Luke 16:13, you are left to decide for yourself what “love for money” means in your life and in your culture.
There are multitudes of similar generalised expectations of God addressed in Scripture which we will read within the context of our own time and life, in order to daily apply it personally, as God’s Word for us.
These generalised cases, where the Bible speaks in large categories, addressing many different experiences, circumstances, and actions by only stating the principle, the universal truth must be applied to myself too– to my challenge, my concern, my sin and my salvation. Understanding what it specifically means in your life, asks for self examination, prayer pondering and guidance of the Holy Spirit as to what you should take from those words in order to rewrite your life’s narrative in obedience to God’s Word.
But now, how do we work out the implications for ourselves, when I read a less direct passage?
When you learn to listen with an open heart and mind you may find good and encouraging things taught, also in these passages.
Learning to wisely apply the harder, less obvious passages has a surprising benefit. Your whole Bible now “can be applied personally.” This Lord spoken about in the Bible, is your God – get to know him better from his dealings with believers that lived ages ago; that piece of history in the Bible, is also your history; these people became your people; this Saviour has made you one of his own, to participate in who he is and be blessed by what he does. Venture out into the remotest regions of Scripture, seeking to know, love and trust God more.
The Bible, as the Holy Scripture, is the only certain, unqualified source of God’s Word.
Paul’s statement that “all Scripture is breathed out by God”, (2 Tim 3:16) means that all the words of the Bible are God’s words to us. Therefore if we want to hear our Creator and Lord speaking to us, we must continually give attention to all the passages of the Bible, asking what it says to you personally, today.
Jesus Christ, after defeating Satan during his 40 days in the desert, with three quotations from Deuteronomy, declared, “a person shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”! (Matt 4: 4.)
The Holy Scriptures were spiritual food to Jesus that made him strong and faithful in his calling.
Jesus’ dependence on the sufficiency and potency of God’s Word during a variety of circumstances, shows us that every word God shares with us, and has meaning, application, comfort and direction for our lives.
What applies to Jesus, implies meaning to me, who has been redeemed and saved by and in Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, Lord and Saviour.