Applying the Scriptures
Sometimes the hardest thing to do with the Bible is apply it to your life. For many of us, it is easier to make the application for other people. One preacher realized this fact when a member consistently greeted him after worship by saying, "You sure preached to them today!" The preacher dreamed of someday hearing this man take the message personally. He thought he had finally gotten his chance when a severe storm prevented everyone but he and the man from showing up one Sunday. After the sermon, the man didn't make his standard remark. Instead, he said, "Too bad they weren't all here because you sure preached to them today."

Our first objective in Bible study must be to correctly interpret the divine message. We must be diligent students and do our best to properly handle God's word (II Tim. 2:15). However, once a proper understanding of a passage is achieved, much work still remains for each Christian. One must labor to apply the truths he has learned to his life and let them mold his character and behavior in the way of righteousness. Without application, Bible study is nothing more than vain, intellectual exercise.

Paul once wrote to Timothy - "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Tim. 3:14-17). Paul exhorted Timothy to be a good student of God's word, but he did not stop there. He wanted Timothy to continue practicing the things he had learned from the Scriptures. The inspired word needed to be continually applied in Timothy's life if he was to be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The same is true with us. To understand what a particular verse or passage means is not enough. We must make a focused effort, not to simply know the Book, but to live it, realizing that the truth contained within its pages is relevant for us today.

Sadly, there are atheists and infidels who are more knowledgeable about the Bible than many Christians. Yet their knowledge is of no use, for they do not believe or implement divine truth in their lives. Friends, Bible knowledge will not do you much good if you fail to reflect upon it and incorporate it into your words and deeds daily. So, the next time you read from God's word, participate in a Bible class, or listen to a sermon, don't be satisfied with a basic comprehension of the message, and don't fool yourself into thinking that the message just applies to others. God only communicates to us through His word today. Are we listening? Are we learning? Are we applying His truth personally? We must if we desire to please Him.