How to Apply Scripture When It Does Not Speak Directly and Personally to You
Here is a core dilemma for Bible readers.
On the one hand, we are told that “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). Likewise, we believe that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
But sometimes it is hard to see how. As David Powlison says, “Most of the Bible does not speak directly and personally to you.” He lists some examples:
How do you “apply” the stories in Genesis?
What about genealogies and census data?
The life stories of Esther, Job, Samson, or Paul?
The distribution of land and villages in Joshua?
The history of Israel’s decline detailed through 1 and 2 Kings?
The prophetic woes scorching Moab, Philistia, Egypt, and Babylon, fulfilled so long ago?
The ruminations of Ecclesiastes?
The Gospel stories showing Jesus in action?
The New Testament’s frequent preoccupation with Jew-Gentile relations?
The apocalyptic images in the Revelation?
He goes on:
The Bible’s stories, histories, and prophecies—even many of the commands, teachings, promises, and prayers—take thoughtful work in order to reapply with current relevance…
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