9 Steps of Application

23 Oct
A mother holds up her child.

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Yesterday I explained to you what application was, today I will show you 9 steps in applying the bible.

1. People
Identifying the people in the passage, the characters who are actively involved. Sometimes no specific individuals or groups will be named (such as when you’re reading Proverbs or Romans). But don’t forget the author and the original audience. Questions to ask:

  • Who are all the people in this passage?
  • How are these people like people in my world?
  • What characteristics of these people do I see in myself?

2. Place
This step puts the passage in its original setting, the historical and cultural context. The more you know about the culture, history, and problems of the people in the passage, the more you will be able to find parallels to your life today. You may ask:

  • What is the setting of this passage?
  • What are the significant details in the history, culture, and geography?
  • What are the similarities to my world?

3. Plot
“What’s happening?” Usually you can discover this by the context of the passage and book. Ask:

  • What is happening in this passage?
  • What is the conflict or tension?
  • What would I have done in this situation?
  • How is this similar to what is happening in my life or in the world today?

4. Point
Before you can determine what something in the Bible means for you today, you must first ascertain the meaning for the original audience. Therefore, carefully consider the cultural context (what you learned in the first three steps) to find the particular lessons that God wanted to teach these people. A clear understanding of the Point can prevent damaging misapplication and is invaluable for determining the timeless truths in the passage. To determine the Point, ask:

  • What was the intended message for the original audience?
  • What did the people in the passage learn?
  • What did God want them to do?
  • What was God’s solution to the problem?

5. Principles
The next step is to determine what transferable principles are embedded in the passage. The Point and Principles may be exactly the same—or may be indirectly related. The Principles are the distilled essence of a passage. You should ask:

  • What is the message for all of humankind?
  • What are the timeless truths?
  • What is the moral of the story?

6. Present
This step expands the areas of application for the Point and Principles that you have extracted so far. This step brings the truth into your context, into today’s world, here and now. Ask:

  • What do these principles mean for my society and culture?
  • How is this relevant?
  • What back then is similar to today?
  • How can I make the timeless truth timely?

7. Parallels
This step is similar to Present, except that it is very personal, addressing specific life situations, fears, hopes, and relationships. This is the time to explore all the areas of life where the truth might apply. Thus, you should ask:

  • What does this truth mean for me?
  • Where are my areas of need, conviction, and opportunity?
  • Where in my life might this truth possibly apply?

8. Priorities
After surfacing application areas, select one that you consider to be most important—one that God is nudging you about. In taking this step, you are answering the question, “So what?”; that is, what does this passage say about how I should change? This involves asking these tough questions:

  • How should I adjust my priorities?
  • What should I change about my values, beliefs, attitudes, or character?
  • What about my thoughts and motives should change?
  • What kind of person does God want me to become?

9. Plan
After pinpointing what needs to change, you need to take action. You need to answer the question, “Now what?” and put truth into practice by determining to change and then making plans to live differently. Planning involves selecting a goal, breaking it down into bite-size pieces, and getting moving! These questions will help:

  • What does God want me to do about what I have learned?
  • What steps will get me to that goal?
  • What should be my first step? How should I get started?

Remember, a big difference stands between knowing and doing. So as you begin taking the steps to application, ask yourself:

Am I doing what God wants me to do?
Am I obeying him?

Be honest in your self-evaluation. Applying the Bible begins now, with you.

adapted from Dave Veerman, How to Apply the Bible

Blessings & Giggles to you & yours,


Mommy & Writer

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