Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Find the Application!

The Big Idea: Introduction to a mini-series of posts about how to constructively look for the application to a Bible passage.

Growing up my family subscribed to Highlights magazine. I always looked for a drawing, “Hidden Pictures” with instructions: “Find the hidden objects in this picture.” Now similar online and app games are popular.

Do you ever feel like that with Bible application? You look at a Bible passage knowing there must be an application for your life, but it escapes you. Many people find the Old Testament especially challenging.

It can be difficult to read the Bible and find practical applications. Many who teach Bible study methods list these five things to look for: Sin to forsake, a promise to claim, a command to obey, an example to follow and a response to God. Previously, I put these into the acronym  A-P-P-L-Y to easily remember.

  • Admit sin
  • Promise claimed
  • Principle followed
  • Live the example
  • Yield to God Revealed
I tested this and it is not always obvious to find the application even with the specific categories. First of all, not every category is found in each passage of the Bible. Sometimes the practicality is not apparent. Some of this may be because the Bible was written in an ancient culture and time and we need to transfer the idea.

Good Guidelines

In the following weeks we will look at each point specifically. Here are a couple of good guidelines going in to this.

  1. Breathe a prayer for guidance. I don’t mean lengthy flowery prayers or days of fasting. Just say a prayer in your heart. The Holy Spirit is always there to guide us.
  2. What is obvious? Some sections of the Bible are quite straightforward.
  3. Reflect what you already know about God and His Word. It will be in sync.
  4. Generalize. Consider the theme of the book of the Bible or the life situation presented. Make sure it is in sync with the rest of what you know of the Bible and God, but trying to get too specific is sometimes over thinking and gets you where you should not go. Just ask: what is God saying? Why is this story or passage in the Bible?

I am a practical person and I want to be succinct in my teaching. I trust this mini-series will be useful to your study of God’s Word. God is eager to speak to us.

Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. Isaiah 59:1 ESV


This post is fortieth in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.
Table of Contents

Up next: Find the Application: Admit sin
Previous post: Trust and Obey



1. What is a passage you find especially difficult to apply? Why is that?

2. Have you read or heard about this kind of list before for application? Have you used it? How did it work out for you? Did you find it easy or a bit difficult?

3. Take a moment to pray over your Bible and Bible study time to ask for God to teach you to make it practical for your life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

IBS-39 Trust and Obey: Foundation to Bible application

The Big Idea: Learning to both trust and obey God are the basics of the Christian life. .

As a child, I learned this old hymn (circa 1880s). People who have followed God for years say these are the basics of happily living the life of faith. It is a foundation based in Bible application.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


The Basics

Trust and obey: one follows the heels of the other. Stripping faith to the minimum consists of these two actions. It is raw Bible application.

Trust: to believe, follow, put confidence in or accept completely. In my own words, but a dictionary definition is similar. Explore “trust” in Hebrew and Greek (often translated “believe” in the New Testament) will be similar.

Obey: To follow through and do what is said. Just do it. Again my own words, similar to any dictionary definition.

Practicing “Trust”

Think of an adult you trusted as a child. Most children learn to trust someone. You listened to their opinions and advice. You followed their example. You went along with them. You knew you could count on them. Maybe you learned who you could count on over time.

Start there with God. Read the Bible, His Word. Listen to it. Try it out. Practice taking its advice. Follow it and discern it is true. Learn that you can trust it.

Practicing “Obey”

As a child you listened to a trusted adult, sometimes to avoid consequences of disobeying. You figured out that following their advice is useful. Perhaps years later you realized they knew what they were talking about.

Start there with God. When you read the Bible, practice taking its advice. Does this sound a little like “trust”? The trust part is trying it out and learning you can rely on it as a good and true word. The obey part is doing it.

In many ways they are linked together. You trust and follow through to obey. You obey so you learn to trust more.

Happiness and Peace

As we trust God and follow through we learn we can lean on Him more. Peace flows from doing the right thing and discovering He does what He promised (2 Peter 3:9-11). True joy and happiness come as we lean on Him. His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and we need His love and care.

Happy are the people who have all this. Yes, happy are the people whose God is the Lord! Psalm 144:15 NLV 
Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Eph 3: 17 NLT


This post is thirty-ninth in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.
Table of Contents

Up next: Find the Application!
Previous post: Dwelling on the Word: Easter Example



1. What do you believe is your source of happiness? Peace? Is obeying God on that radar? Why or why not?

2. Growing up, were you able to trust an adult? If not, have you found difficulty trusting God or have you found He is worth trusting because He is more trustworthy?

3. How could you apply trust and obedience in something in the Bible today?

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

IBS-38 Dwelling on the Word: Made Pratical for Easter

The Big Idea: Diane practices memorizing and reviewing Isaiah 53 every year during Lent which draws her mind to Christ’s work accomplished on the Cross.

Raised in a conservative Christian home attending an evangelical church, Lent was not familiar to me. We celebrated one day. Easter Sunday at my Grandparent’s church in Minot, North Dakota. I loved sitting next to my Grandpa singing enthusiastically together, “Up From the Grave He Arose”.

The Practice of Lent

At 40 I married a widower, an evangelical Air Force chaplain. He found the spiritual disciplines of Advent and Lent useful for a deeper walk with Christ. Leading up to Easter he would either give up something like diet cola or television, or add something like volunteer or read a book on Christ to prepare for Easter. Every Good Friday we practice silence from Friday noon to 3 PM, the time Jesus was on the cross. It has been a profound annual exercise for me.

A couple years ago I decided to memorize Isaiah 53 (in King James, so poetic) during Lent. This Old Testament chapter graphically describes what Christ accomplished on the cross. That year I memorized up to verse 7.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. Is. 53:7 KJV

The M&Ms: Memorization and Meditation

Often during Lent I revisit Isaiah 53. Review is important for Bible memorization as our mind easily forgets. I have not yet memorized the entire chapter but I annually meditate on its word pictures whether in traffic, at the grocery store, or at the doctor’s office. I sing hymns reflecting the passage.

“Man of Sorrows”
“O Sacred Head now Wounded”
“What Wondrous Love is This.”

This year I have been reading it and mulling it over in the New Living Translation.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. Is 53:4a

I have recently carried sorrow and heaviness. This passage assures me of His presence, and His profound love for all that I carry.

Memorizing Scripture and meditating on it is a lifetime effort. It carries great benefit for my mind and soul. Try it. It costs nothing and provides great comfort and insight.


This post is thirty-eight in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.
Table of Contents

Up next: Trust and Obey: To be happy
Previous post: Dwelling on the Word: Meditation


1. The phrase “spiritual discipline” was used. Meditation is sometimes called that. Why might it be called a discipline?

2. If you could memorize a verse or passage for Easter what might it be? How do you think it may be helpful?

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

IBS-37 Dwelling on the Word: Meditation


The Big Idea: Bible meditation is an excellent way to immerse in the Word of God, strengthening our friendship with God and accessing His help for our daily life.

Living by the M & M's (Memorization /Meditation)

A verse in the Psalms calls it “hiding God’s Word in your heart.” This refers to memorizing the Bible but it also applies to reflection.

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 (NLT)

Memorize words: easy. I can memorize the Lord’s Prayer in Portuguese but not knowing Portuguese it is not meaningful or useful to me. More than pure memorization, meditation lets Scripture flow and process in our heart and mind.

It is also a Biblical command!

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippiens 4: 8 (NLT)

Tips for Learning to Meditate on God’s Word

1. Invite the Holy Spirit to be a part of your meditation process. He is the author of the Word and is our counselor (John 14: 26). One of His roles is to teach us understanding.

2. Let your mind linger on a phrase or a verse, reflecting over and over on the same words. I like to think of it like ironing as the hot iron repeats over the same section to smooth it out.

3. Mull over each word or phrase in your mind. Reflect on the meaning, and various nuances of it.

4. Put it in your own words. I call mine the "Di version".

5. Pray it back to God, using words and concepts in the verse. Expound on it to God.

6. Put emphasis on a different word of a phrase each time, reflecting how that Word is significant. Example from Psalm 23:1

THE Lord is my shepherd.

The LORD is my shepherd.

The Lord IS my shepherd.

The Lord is MY shepherd.

The Lord is my SHEPHERD.

7. Think what God might be saying to you. Don’t expand on what you think, but dwell on the wording of that particular verse.

8. Try out conversation with God. Is He speaking to you through this verse? Listen. really listen with your heart. Then, what would you say back to Him?

9. If you have not done so already, consider memorizing this verse. That in itself is a worthwhile exercise and useful for future meditation.

Meditation is a buzz word in our secular spiritual minded society. Meditation on the Creator of the universe and His Word to us is of the highest value to our life.


This post is thirty-seventh in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.
Table of Contents

Up next: Dwelling on the Word: Made practical for Easter
Previous post: Dwelling on the Word: Memorization



1. Have you done any form of meditation, either for stress reduction or Biblical reflection? Was it rewarding or was it a bit difficult? How might reflection on the Word of God be of higher value to you than secular meditation?

2. Take a moment right now to reflect 1 minute on a phrase from the Bible . You can time yourself if you wish. If this is your first time it may seem like it a minute goes on forever. “The Lord is my shepherd.”

3. Would you ever consider adding some meditation time to your devotion to God, or increasing the time you spend in devotions?