"Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth."
At the end of our Thursday Bible study I lamented about not having much application in our lesson. Application is important. So I stewed about the lack of it on my way home. Sometimes pastors believe they have failed in their teaching, and I had that sense as I considered the historical content I taught. It was all good stuff, but was it boring without application?
As I thought about how I can be a better teacher, the Lord placed an article in front of me as I was reading before bed. I am glad He did. Yes, application is important, but it must be grounded in something. The article explains why,
"The first goal of the interpreter is to understand the meaning of the text. Once you figure that out, then the next thing to do is apply that meaning to the needs of the audience. You may apply the same text in many different ways--but never outside of its established meaning."
But here is where the article helped (read it carefully),
"You cannot utilize this method of interpretation, through expository preaching, in sound bites. It takes time to stand in the pulpit and establish the meaning of the text. People today just want application. The problem with this is that people leave with wonderful application, but they do not know where it came from. It will make them feel better for a short time, but when the first trial comes up, it will simply dissolve like cotton candy."
The author continues,
"Application is an important step in the process--but it is a secondary step. People need to understand, first and foremost, the meaning of the text. The application is only as good as the meaning from which it comes."
Beloved, this is what we are attempting to do in our church: Make you into Bible students who know and understand the context, so you can take the passage and apply it to your life. That takes time.
We want to be a church grounded in the literal, historical, grammatical truth of the Word of God--not experiential, but exegetical (able to explain the text from what it actually says).
Let's heed Paul's words to Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:15(NKJV)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
After reading the article I relaxed. We are on the right track. I was able to sleep in peace.
Wood, Andy. Ever Reforming Dispensational Theology and the Completion of the Protestant Reformation. Dispensational Publishing House. Taos NM, 2018.