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.

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