How to Bible: How to apply the Bible.
The Bible is called the greatest book, and rightly so. Most people have a Bible somewhere in their home. Year after year, the Bible is the world’s best-selling book, yet most people know very little about this amazing book. Many people see the Bible as merely a book to be read, but the Bible is so much more. It is a blueprint for life. It is the story of redemption. The Christian life is not just about the future, it is also about the present. The Christian life is about growing more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. A crucial means of this growth is regularly reading the Bible with a view to living out what it says—that is, applying it. On Father’s Day, we looked at what makes a man great and how to apply what makes us great in our lives.
Something To Talk About:
If there’s anything in shortage today, it is great men. If you want to be great, consider the following:
- A great man is caring: Given the state of our culture today, it may appear that a lot of men don’t care enough about their families. Perhaps there’s some truth to this. My experience is that husbands and dads love their wives and children a great deal. Yet, sometimes apathy can take hold as the stress of life overtakes us. We need to care even when the wolves are at our door because caring is a hallmark quality of being a Christian. Especially when we remember that God is love and that the ultimate expression of caring and love was laying down His life for us. Scripture is full of specific instruction on how we should treat each other and that starts with caring.
- A great man is consistent : A pastor was asked what he thought was the most important quality for a Christian to achieve. “Consistency,” he said without hesitating. The only thing that most of us are consistent about is inconsistency. Sadly, many men today are not consistent. Often our spouse never gets the action or reaction he or she expects. The goal is to be consistent in all of our dealings with our family and others. Great men are reliable, responsible, and consistent. They work hard to “bring home the bacon” and provide for their family’s needs. They are consistent in good times and in times of crisis.
- A great man is cooperative: Jesus said the litmus test for a believer is love. He said people will know we are His followers by the way we love one another (John 13:35). Love is an action verb. One of the ways we show our love is when we cooperate. There is no greater cause for which to cooperate than the advancement of the gospel. Great men team up to meet needs individually and corporately. Cooperation is almost a lost practice in some of these areas. There are no Lone Ranger Christians or churches. We are all stronger when we cooperate.
- A great man is considerate: Mark Twain reportedly said, “Being considerate is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read.” His remark is a testament to the power of being considerate which we all admire in people and would like to practice more consistently. An excellent New Testament example of special courteousness is found in Matthew 27, subsequent to Jesus’ death on the cross. Matthew records how Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate for the body of Jesus. Pilate consented, after which “Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock.” (vv. 59-60). This was an act of consideration. He didn’t have to provide his own tomb for the storage of Jesus’ body, but Joseph did so. Special acts of courtesy are properly so-called because they require an extra measure of consideration for, and attention to, someone’s needs. The courteous person does so without being asked. A truly great man is considerate of others.
- A great man is courageous: From Joseph, to Daniel, and King David to Paul, Peter and even to Jesus Himself, the Bible gives us many examples of godly courage. Consider Daniel who had just been taken out of his homeland and brought into a new land; it would have been easy for him to lack courage after all of that. Yet, in the midst of this situation he challenged cultural norms in Babylon and resolved in his heart to trust the Bible when it says not to sin against the Lord (Daniel 1:8). The same goes for Joseph. It would have been all too easy for Joseph to succumb to Potiphar’s wife and her attempt at seducing him, but he didn’t. Instead, he resisted and suffered. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way we are, but never sinned (Hebrews 4:14-16).The goal of every great man is to live with such courage.
- How would you describe the ideal man?
- What is the most important relationship a man can have? Why is it important?
- After being away on business or just working long hours, what is your favorite or best way to reconnect with your family?
- What does spiritual leadership look like in your home?
- What do you think it means to be caring? Consistent? Cooperative? Considerate? Courageous?
- A great man doesn’t have to be a talker . . . but he does need to be a communicator. Agree or disagree and why?
- Should a great man have a constant eye on the future? Why or why not?
- How does the Bible teach us about God? About people? About how we relate to God?
- What is your litmus test for application of scripture in our lives?
- What can we do this week to make the Bible more actionable?
Take one thing home with you:
Being a great man means applying the principles of the Bible. If we don’t apply it, the Bible becomes nothing more to us than a normal book, an impractical collection of old manuscripts. That’s why Paul says, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9). When we apply the Bible, God Himself will be with us.
The degree to which we study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word is the degree to which we understand how it applies to our lives. But understanding how the Word applies is not enough; we must actually apply it (James 1:22). “Application” implies action, and obedient action is the final step in causing God’s Word to come to life in our lives. Let us do our part by hiding the Word in our hearts and obeying the Holy Spirit as He draws that Word out of us and makes it part of our lives.