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4 L's of Text-Driven Bible Study: Live Unto God

This article is part four of a four-part series covering the 4 L's of Text-Driven Bible Study.

What was your motivation for beginning your Bible study? Was it to learn more facts about God? Was it to be knowledgeable about a certain subject? While those are noble reasons for starting a Bible study, the purpose of Bible study is not just to accumulate knowledge and facts, not just another stuffy academic exercise, and not to be a seminary classroom that concludes with some final exam. Instead, the purpose of Bible study is to undergo transformation. Scripture is the tool that the Holy Spirit uses to bring about transformation in our lives.

The final “L” in our "4 L’s of Text-Driven Bible Study" is “Live.” With the knowledge that we have learned, we are now obligated to respond. Our response to the biblical truth that we have learned is to live unto God. Applying God’s Word to our daily lives is the purpose of text-driven Bible study. Scripture makes this assertion clear in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Paul said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

The purpose of text-driven Bible study is to be equipped with the necessary tools for living a life unto God. Therefore, in this final article, we are going to look at how to draw applications from a biblical passage after we have completed the other steps of a text-driven Bible study. In order to learn how to live unto God, we will need to discuss three topics: 1) The Training of Application, 2) The Righteousness of Application, and 3) The Practical Areas of Application.

The Training of Application

Anything worthwhile in life takes training. Natural giftings can only take you so far. For even the greatest of athletes who were gifted, needed to spend time training. Typically the differentiating factor between a good athlete and a great athlete is the seriousness by which they approach their training.

Paul informs Timothy that Scripture trains believers (2 Tim. 3:16). The term that he uses for training indicates an academic exercise. God’s Word instructs the believer like a math teacher instructs a classroom. Therefore, we can expect there to be classwork and homework that is necessary to test our comprehension of the knowledge we have learned. Not only is there academic training, but Paul uses the metaphor of physical training when speaking of the growth of a believer. For instance, in 1 Timothy 4:8 Paul says, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way.” Consider also what is said in 1 Corinthians 9:25, “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” These verses demonstrate that godliness takes strenuous work.

To apply Scripture, we need to assume that it is going to be hard. The act of applying Scripture will be challenging. However, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, we can be assured of the promise that God is going to give us the strength necessary to rightly be trained by Scripture in our application of the Word.

The Righteousness of Application

What is the ultimate application for all Scripture passages? The application point for every biblical text is righteous living. Through obedience to Scripture, we walk in righteousness. This is precisely what Paul was describing in 2 Timothy 3:16 by the phrase “training in righteousness.” When we live in obedience to Scripture we are doing righteous actions. We are demonstrating through our actions that in Christ we are righteous.

I have found that many people do not have an understanding of righteousness. I like to think of it in this way: prior to salvation, we were all “wrong-ness.” Our actions were wrong. Our thoughts were wrong. The direction of our life was wrong. Everything we did was wrong. Therefore, the consequence of our “wrongness” was death – separation from God. However, Jesus was the opposite of us. He, in every way, was right. Every action he did was right. Every thought he had was right. Every area of his life was directed in the right way. For Jesus was righteous. Therefore, when Jesus died on the cross, he died for our wrongness. By virtue of His death in our place, we by faith receive his righteousness.

The actions that a believer does in obedience (i.e. application) to Scripture is a demonstration of the righteousness of Christ through us. Applying the Scriptures properly is critically important. For the manner in which we apply God’s Word either displays correctly or incorrectly a view of God’s righteousness.

The Practical Areas of Application

At the conclusion of 2 Timothy 3:17, Paul uses the phrase “every good work.” What does he mean by this? Paul means that Scripture is applicable to every area. God’s Word can be applied to all areas of your life. There is not an area of your life that Scripture does not provide you with adequate application steps.

Therefore, when you come to the end of your text-driven Bible study, I want you to think in several categories. These are the five areas where Scripture is going to provide you with truth for application: 1) Personal, 2) Family, 3) Church, 4) Work, and 5) Hobbies. Under each of these categories, here are some questions that you can ask yourself to help you apply the passage:

  • Personal

    • How is the passage challenging my character?

    • How is the passage challenging my affections?

    • How is the passage challenging my emotions?

  • Family

    • How is the passage helping to improve my marriage?

    • How is the passage helping to improve my parenting?

  • Church

    • How is the passage strengthening my commitment to other believers?

    • How is the passage leading me to desire to gather with God’s people?

    • How is the passage calling me to serve God’s people?

  • Work

    • How is the passage making me a better employee/boss?

  • Hobbies

    • How is the passage showing me to display Christ at all times?

By working through each of these categories, you will begin to see the righteous application points that will produce good work in you to the glory of God.

Partaking in text-driven Bible study is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. Doing text-driven Bible study takes time, commitment, and a desire to pursue Christ’s very best for your life. As we said, anything worthwhile is worth doing well.

For more information regarding the fourth L of Text-Driven Bible Study, listen to the Text-Driven Podcast episode from September 25, 2023.


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