Wednesday, February 23, 2022

IBS-31 Never Ask This Question!

The Big Idea: “What does this passage mean to you?” a commonly asked application question, can be problematic implying that any interpretation is OK.

"What does this passage mean to you?"

Near the end of a Bible study it is easy for a leader to blurt out, “What does this passage mean to you?” In reality, this is not only a lazy question, it is a dangerous one. The goal in Bible study is to know God’s Word and make it matter to daily life. This question may actually lead us far away from Biblical truth. In defense of Bible study leaders, we want each person present to consider how the Bible can make a difference in their life. Coming up with good application questions is hard. There are better ways to pose the question.

Opinion is relative. Truth is not.

The question can make it appear truth is relative to the individual. It implies that there are many ways to interpret the Bible and understand God. Everyone should have a unique personal application of the Bible to their life, but not a different interpretation of Biblical truth. If we think everything is truth, the actual truth becomes blurred. Our society champions relativity, but let’s not get confused that God is whatever one wants Him to be.

I can hold a red apple. Someone can say it is aqua, purple or a cell phone to them, but opinion does not change the nature of that red apple. Application rather is one person seeing it as a quick portable snack, another to bake into an apple pie, and another envisions homemade apple butter. Same red apple. Different applications. But not different entities.


Variations on the Question

God wants to be known. His Word is designed to guide us to know Him and a guide for this life as well as for eternity. Inductive Bible Study is a great way to get into the meaning of the text. Let’s look at a variants on the question.

NO – What does this passage mean to you?

YES – What does this passage mean?

NO – What does this passage mean to you?

YES – What does this passage mean FOR your life?

NO – What does this passage mean to you?

YES – How does the passage meaning apply to your life?

“Opinion is the medium between ignorance and knowledge.” Plato

One ought not to strive to know God half way. Seek to KNOW Him and His Word, not just be content in your opinion of it.


This is the thirty-first in a series called Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.
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1. Have you been in a Bible Study with this question asked, did someone’s opinion of the passage seem strange to you? What did the Bible study leader do?

2. If you are a Bible study leader or Sunday School teacher, do you find it easy or difficult to come up with good application questions? How do you usually approach this?

3.Prayerfully meditate on this verse for a couple of minutes this week.

Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. Psalm 119:27 NLT

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