by Rick Warren — June 25, 2023
From 40 Days in the Word
“Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him.”
1 Samuel 15:22 (CEV)
As you grow as a Christian, you have to start applying God’s Word to your life. Just reading the Bible isn’t enough. But if you haven’t spent much time trying to apply God’s Word to your life, you might be frustrated. How do you do it?
Today I want to give you three questions you can ask of any passage that will help you apply the Bible to your life. Here are the three questions:
1. What did this Scripture mean when it was written?
2. What is the timeless truth behind what God is saying?
3. How does it apply to me now?
I call these three questions the “application bridge.” We’re building a bridge between the world of the Bible and our world.
Let’s practice building this bridge by applying what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 8 about eating food sacrificed to idols. First, read 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. Then, look at how the three application questions are answered below.
What did this Scripture mean when it was written? There were people in the church of Corinth who knew that idols meant nothing and the food offered to them had no magic power. So this group would eat freely—but with no regard to what other people might think. Yet there were also new believers who were offended by that practice. Paul tells the mature believers not to allow their freedom in Christ to offend their brothers and sisters.
What is the timeless truth behind what God is saying? Don’t use your freedom in Christ to offend others. Freedom must be used in love.
How does it apply to me now? It may not be common practice to offer food to idols where you live. So does that mean this passage is irrelevant? Of course not! Look again at the timeless truth of this passage. Here’s how we apply it: We need to be sensitive to people around us, because that’s how we demonstrate love. Ask yourself, “Lord, is there anything I’m doing out of selfishness, arrogance, or insensitivity that could be causing a fellow believer to question their faith? Am I being puffed up by my own knowledge of freedom, or am I building up others in love?”
Each day as you study the Bible, apply these three questions to the passage you’re reading. Over time, you’ll see more and more that God will make it clear what he wants you to do with what you’ve learned from his Word.