Dig Deeper {3} The Key

I can do a lot of things. I can make a perfect loaf of bread, milk a cow, balance a checkbook, count large sums of money very quickly (five years as a bank teller) and numerous other things.

There is one thing, however, that I am completely incapable of doing alone:

interpreting Scripture to make it applicable to life. 

Do not misunderstand me. I am fully capable of understanding the Bible. I am even capable of discerning what it probably means. But without the Holy Spirit, I cannot correctly apply it to my life. 

I believe that those who attempt to interpret Scripture and apply it to life without the aid of the Holy Spirit will fail. In fact, I believe this is exactly how legalistic views are formed.

A note on legalism:

le·gal·ism/ˈlēgəˌlizəm/

Noun:
  1. Excessive adherence to law or formula.
  2. Dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith.
Avoiding legalism in your personal life is essential. However, remember not to judge others practices as legalistic or not. You cannot know another’s personal faith. 
At my church I accept some traditions that I do not believe are biblical mandates. I don’t accept them because of legalism, I accept them because of grace. You are responsible for your personal walk with God- and that is all.
As humans, we like formulas. Lose weight? Do this, this and this. Clean house? Apply this method. Get rich? Go here and do this.

We do the same thing to Scripture. Ten steps to Evangelism. 31 days to becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. 1-2-3 children’s ministry. We pull out verses and compute and print out step-by-step programs.

Why? Because Scripture does have to be interpreted to become useful to our lives. And some of those programs may be good and beneficial. However, if we’re not careful, we’ll cut God right out of the equation.

Evangelism becomes a method and not a burning hunger to spread the hope of Christ. Being a Proverbs 31 woman becomes an obsession instead of working hard to serve your family because that is what Christ did for you. Children’s ministry becomes about numbers instead of little ones who are desperately in need of a Savior.

We need the Holy Spirit to keep our gaze focused on Christ. Scripture is living and active. It has the power to completely and totally transform us. If we allow the Spirit to have control.

David Wilkerson, an inner-city missionary who became well-known for leading Nicky Cruz to the Lord (astounding story, if you haven’t read it. Grab a copy of Run, Baby, Run) gave a sermon on “getting to know the Holy Spirit” a few years before he died. He says:

“However, to receive the Spirit is more than a one-time experience. The word “receive” means “lay hold of that which is given”…. In fact, the Holy Spirit is not received by someone until he is allowed to take full control…”

“I know the Holy Spirit by the change he is working in me…”

(to watch a video of this sermon go here)

(to read the full article go here)

As we read the Scriptures and surrender to the Holy Spirit our lives will change. If you know Christ but your life isn’t changing then probably the “method” of interpreting and applying Scripture that you are currently using does not contain the added dynamic of the Holy Spirit.

I encourage you, profusely, to read and re-read Romans 8. And listen to what God would tell you about it. (if it tells you anything, I am currently trying to memorize that chapter. *sigh*)

There are many tools for interpreting Scripture. Tools can be useful and effective as long as they do not overshadow being Spirit-led. 

Ways to Dig Deeper {3}: Interpret and Apply Scripture

One of my favorite ways to interpret Scripture is to use this checklist (feel free to save and print this graphic! I have many printed and I just paste them into my Bible Study journal and fill them out as I go…)

I have also used this series of questions:

Does this text reveal something I should believe about God?

Does this text reveal something I should praise or thank or trust God for?

Does this text reveal something I should pray about for myself or others?

Does this text reveal something I should have a new attitude about?

Does this text reveal something I should make a decision about?

Does this text reveal something I should do for the sake of Christ?

There is a desperate need in our society for a return to Biblical morals. A return to a reliance on Scripture instead of traditions, ideals or popular teachings. That return starts with us. Me. You. One by one, our surrender to the Spirit of God will bring change.

Learning to interpret and apply the Word of God to our everyday lives is the key.

I love this quote by my grandmother. True, eh? Let’s base our morals on the Bible and let us face our sin with repentance. 

What about you? Do you have a tool that you use to help you interpret Scripture and apply it to your life?

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17 thoughts on “Dig Deeper {3} The Key

  1. Okay, first, props for memorizing a chapter! It takes me three months to get one verse down. 😉 But I really like this post so much. It does start with us individually.

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  2. Good Evening to you Natasha girl,
    I so enjoy coming by to see what God prompts you with next. I really like your scripture checklist idea. I’m pondering tonight how God’s Spirit wants me to consume more Bible? I love this Christian journey. It’s always learning, always repenting, always being loved by a perfect God! ~ Blessings, sister, Amy

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    • I love this Christian journey. It’s always learning, always repenting, always being loved by a perfect God!

      So, so, so perfectly said.

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  3. Great post! I really appreciate your defining legalism and reminding me that the Holy Spirit is required to apply scripture to my life.

    I use the SOAP Bible study method most of the time. I usually even translate my inductive studies into the SOAP format, it’s just such a good way of organizing my thoughts and feelings on scripture.

    I did the Bible in 90 Days last summer- it was life changing! I’ve been planning to do it again, but in chronological format this time. Reading all of scripture at once just makes the overall theme and picture so much clearer.

    Have you tried listening to the Bible in order to memorize it? My husband has most of the New Testament memorized and he did it by listening to it rather than memorizing by reading. He seems to think it’s much more effective. I haven’t tried it myself though.

    Romans 8:28 is my all time favorite verse. 😉

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    • I’ve never heard of that method, will definitely research it! I love having new ideas up my sleeve for when I get bogged down.

      I do listen to the Bible on CD quite often and it is very helpful. I think I’m more of a visual learner rather than audio though. I’m working at it for about an hour a day (while I’m milking cows. 🙂 and have been doing quite well, I think. I should try to listen to that chapter more though- the repetition can’t hurt!

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  4. So much good information in this post — the legalism definition, the book you suggested (with the video of the sermon), and the study method. I loved it. I also enjoyed the comments of others — going to look up the SOAP method….

    Thanks so much for linking this wonderful post to Make Life Meaningful Monday!

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  5. There is so much good stuff in this post! I liked your definition of legalism, your book recommendation, and your checklist for applying scripture!

    Thanks for sharing this at Make Life Meaningful Monday!

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