“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)
Just like we exercise our bodies to stay fit — it’s important to exercise our brains by seeking knowledge and applying it to our lives.
When we study the word knowledge in Scripture, we find its root-word, yādaʿ, to know, occurs 944 times in the Bible.The word “knowledge” is found no less than 156 times in the New and Old Testaments and refers to a knowledge that is both experiential and relational.Experiential knowledge is gained when we apply what we’ve learned to our lives. We acquire a much deeper understanding of what we’ve learned when we invest time practicing a newly acquired skill or principle. So, it’s not only important that we consistently engage in “learning” we must also consistently engage in “applying” what we’ve learned.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 (ESV)
Applying what we’ve learned is the final and most important step in Bible Study, a step that is often overlooked. It’s easy to say, “we know” what God’s Word says about a particular topic, yet it can difficult to “apply” what we “know” to our everyday lives.
Consider the following insights from a recent article by the Barna Group:
“Bible reading has become the religious equivalent of sound-bite journalism. When people read the Bible they typically open it, read a brief passage without much regard for the context, and consider the primary thought or feeling that the passage provided. If they are comfortable with it, they accept it; otherwise, they deem it interesting but irrelevant to their life and move on. There is shockingly little growth evident in people’s understanding of the fundamental themes of the scriptures and amazingly little interest in deepening their knowledge and application of biblical principles.”
While the biblical principles we learn from God’s Word are timeless and unchanging, the application of these principles needs to be specific, according to our individual circumstances.
Exercise your courage muscles today by experiencing the knowledge of God as you apply His Word to our life.
- Choose a book of the Bible to read.
- Pray: Ask God for wisdom, discernment, and to challenge you through His Word.
- Observe: Read each passage carefully, asking questions of the text like, Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
- Interpret: Look for timeless life lessons you can apply to your life.
- Apply: Identify changes you need to make by answering the following questions:
- a) What is God encouraging me to do?
- b) What can I do today to be obedient to God?
- c) Will I need someone to hold me accountable?
- d) How will I regularly apply this lesson throughout the rest of my life?
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
James 1:22 (ESV)
R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament(Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 366.
Gregory Mobley, “Know, Knowledge,” ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible(Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 777.