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

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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?

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