Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Application: The Promise Filter

The Big Idea: Practical advice toward finding God’s promises in a Bible passage using a series of steps as a filter.

The Promise Filter

Not every verse or chapter in the Bible reveals a promise of God, even though God’s Word is all about God and His relationship with people. We must always keep alert for His character and nature to be revealed to us. As we have that radar on, we find how He treats people, and His promises emerge.

It is a valuable skill to be a promise finder. There are many books, articles and charts online and at Christian book sites about the promises in the Bible. But you can find them for yourself as well. As we study the Bible inductively, we should hone the craft to find promises with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Applying the Promise Filter

1. Pray first. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through the Word.

2. Practice by reading books of the Bible with a higher concentration of promises. Books like the Psalms, Isaiah, and the many Epistles of the New Testament.

3. Read the Bible looking for God’s character.

4. Read the Bible observing how He interacts with people.

a. Check for promises to those who love Him and are committed to Him.

b. Observe those who don’t follow God. We see both God’s patience desiring they turn to Him and His judgment after He has given them many chances and they won’t change or He needs to establish boundaries. (See Romans 5:8-10)

5. Record God’s relationship with people, especially those who love Him. Note what He says through the Biblical writers.

6. Observe to whom God makes promises. The Psalms often present promises to the people of God. The Apostle Paul writes to the people of God. We can appropriate these.

7. Check for conditions or qualifications. Many are promises to those who live a life of Faith. Examine yourself too.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 NLT

8. If you love a phrase or a single verse, read the paragraph or chapter around it, recognizing the context. It is dangerous to base your understanding of God on one phrase.

Put on your Promise Filter to find God’s promises for YOU!


This post is forty-fourth in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.

Up next: Find the Application: Promises Claimed-4 Practice with Psalm 23
Previous post: Find the Application: Promise Claimed-2 Trust God's Character



1. Do you have a favorite promise of God? Why is it special to you?

2. If you have a favorite book or chapter in the Bible, take a look at it and think about promises that might come out of that. Try it out prayerfully.

3. Next week we will look together at gleaning promises from the well known Psalm 23. Look at it this week and see if your observations line up with mine!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Application: God's Promises are Based on Trust

The Big Idea: This mini-series is about finding practical applications in a Bible passage; God’s promises are based on His character, which we can trust.

God's Pomises are based on Trust

One of Aesop’s Fables is about the boy who cried wolf. The shepherd boy teased the villagers that a wolf was attacking their sheep and watched with glee as they dropped everything to protect the sheep. After numerous jokes the people stopped listening. He lost their trust. His word was worthless.

God is worth our trust because of who He is. He has revealed Himself to us through His Word, the Bible, which also includes stories of people in Bible times who discovered who He claims to be is true. Christians through the ages recount their own stories of the same.

We can trust God

The many attributes of God make Him worthy of complete trust. Here are a few.

  • He does not change. (Numbers 27:19, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8)
  • He knows everything and is infinitely wise. (Psalm 147:5, 1 John 3:20)
  • He cannot lie. All He says is true. (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18)
  • He is all powerful. (Jeremiah 32:17, Hebrews 1:3) He can do everything He said He will do. (Ezekiel 24:14, Psalm 52:9)
  • He is good. (Psalm 145:9, James 1:17) There is no dark side with God. (1 John 1:5)
  • He will make everything right someday. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1-5) He is st. (Luke 18:7)

Samples of promises based on His character

In this list, there are promises made to individuals who lived in a very different setting than ours. Many of the examples of God’s love and faithfulness are from the Old Testament. Many are made with the contingency that you love God and follow Him; that you are His children. We can observe God’s nature and actions through those promises not made to us. The most important things we need to know about God and His relationship to us are in the Bible.

These verses are samples. This is not a comprehensive list!

Some characteristics: God is everywhere. God knows everything.

  • God is always with me. (Deut 31:8 Joshua 1:19, Psalm 23:14)
  • God sees me. He sees my dreams, my confusion, my pain. (Genesis 16:13, Psalm 139:13)
  • God is watching over me. (Genesis 28:15, 2 Chronicles 16:9a)
  • God can coach me/give me counsel (Psalm 32:8, John 16:1)
  • God gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:6, James 1:5)
  • God is bigger than the troubles of this world. (John 16:33)

More characteristics: God is all powerful. God is good. God holds all resources in His hands.

  • God gives strength. (Isaiah 40:29, Ephesians 3:16)
  • God can meet my needs ( Philippians 4:19)
  • God has the power to rescue me. (Psalm 50:5, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 107:13)
  • God can free me from darkness, bondage. (John 8:3-6)
  • God is good to His children (Psalm 103:2-5, Matthew 7:9-11)
  • God will make all things right, ultimate judgment over evil. (Revelation 12: 9-11)
  • God is the ultimate giver of eternal life. (John 11:25-26, 1 John 2:24-25)

What to look for

These samplings suggest what to look for as you read through Bible passages. Always ask:

What do I learn about God’s character here?

How can God be at work in my life right now? What does He want from me?

Put on your Promise Filter to find God’s promises for YOU!


This post is forty-third in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.

Up next: Find the Application: Promise Claimed -3 Promise Filter
Previous post: Find the Application: Promise Claimed-1 Not every promise is mine



1. What attribute of God do you appreciate the most? Why do you think it is special to you?

2. What is a promise He has made to someone in the Bible that you could use today? How might you remember this verse and lean on it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Application: Not Every Promise is Mine

The Big Idea: This mini-series is about finding practical applications in a Bible passage; A few guidelines help sort through God’s many promises.

How Many Promises in the Bible?

It’s easy to make promises. It’s hard work to keep them.~ Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of England.

How do you feel about promises? Our perception is experience-based on how dependable the promise maker proves to be. 

God is true to all His promises and He has made many to His people. The word “promise” occurs over 100 times in the Bible in almost any translation you check. He is trustworthy.

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19 ESV

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV

Not every promise in the Bible is mine

A Canadian schoolteacher took a year and a half to examine how many promises were in the Bible. He concluded there were almost 9000 of them! Some were from one person to another, God the Father to God the Son, man to God and other combinations, but well over 7000 were promises from God to man.

Use caution claiming all the promises of God as your own. Throughout the Old Testament many were made to individuals and even more were made to the Israelites in a specific situation. God promised judgment on specific kings and peoples. His old covenant promises were fulfilled in the New Testament. This doesn’t mean they are not useful or meaningful. We can learn much about God’s nature and His relationship with man through the promises He has made.

Some guidelines

1. Many promises of God are conditional. Look for the “if.” (Psalm 37:4) God’s love is unconditional but there are consequences to bad choices and rebellion.

2. Recognize God’s promises have a purpose. They work out His will and work in the world in us. How does God want to do His work in you? Promises provide His assurance and guidance in our lives. 

3. Don’t manipulate or limit God. God is not a galactic vending machine dispensing whims. God loves us and wants the best for us. However life works best when we submit to Him. Expecting Him to submit to our bidding is preposterous! We cannot know exactly when a promise will be fulfilled by Him, either.

4. Ask these questions when reading promises in the Bible.
  • Who was speaking? Was it God? Was it a prophet or Apostle?
  • Who was the promise for? Was it an individual or a group?
  • Was it specific to a situation or a general statement given?
  • Was there a condition, and what was the expected benefit?

Next we will explore some very precious promises that are ours because of who He is!

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4 ESV


This post is forty-second in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.

Up next: Find the Application: Promise Claimed- 2 Trust God's Character

Previous post: Find the Application! Admit Sin



1. Has someone you loved broken a promise? Do you find that affects how you feel about the promises of God or not?

2. Is there a favorite promise you appreciate and hold on to from the Bible? What is it? Do you know where it is found in the Bible?

3. What aspects of God’s character make Him the best promise keeper?

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Application: Admit Sin

The Big Idea: This series is about finding practical applications in a Bible passage; this post addresses sin and our response to it. 

It's Hard to Admit Sin

Sin takes serious humility to admit, and it is even harder to address. Our excuses make it sounds better in our head.

“My weakness.”

“It’s not my fault…”

“The devil made me do it.”

“Others do it all the time.”

“I’m pretty much a good person.”

“But I had good intentions.”

Sin seems harmless but it is powerful; tremendously powerful. It holds power over us and gives us power over others. Sin is sticky, grabbing us and making it hard to let go.

Sin is easy. Sin is complicated. Sin is beautiful. Sin is ugly. Sin is fun. Sin is mean.

Teaching us about Sin

Use Bible passages to learn some of the following: Not all of these will apply to each passage but this gives you a start reflecting on what a passage might be telling you about sin. 

  • What does God thinks of sin. What is His holiness like and how does it affect others? Why is sin so bad?
  • Where does sin comes from? (Satan. Worldliness. Our sinful fleshly nature). What is the nature of sin?
  • When did the situation turn into sin? How can that be avoided?
  • What are consequences that result from sin. What did it do to the people involved?
  • How did God make a way for us to be pardoned? How does Jesus’ act on the cross erase our sin?
  • What does the Bible teach about forgiveness? God toward us, and us toward others?
  • How is a Christian to live in a sinful world? What is holiness and how we can live free from sin? What helps us?
  • How can we combat against temptation and sin?

The Bible has a lot of examples on what not to do. Stories show us bad examples, how not to live and even how the good guys can mess up. Moses had sinful mistakes. He killed a man and then tried to hide it. So did David. Ask yourself, where did they mess up and how do I mess up?

The Bible: Written to Help us with Sin

1. The Bible exposes sin.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:12 ESV

2. The Bible is for self-examination and training to live right.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV


This post is forty-first in a series as a Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.

Up next: Find the Application: Promises part 1

Previous post: Find the Application!



1. How would you complete this three word sentence? Sin is _________________.

2. Has a verse or passage of the Bible convicted you of something wrong in your life? Did it surprise you? How did you respond?

3. What is something you have earned from the Bible about sin? How is this helpful to you.