“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” Proverbs 18:15
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.
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8
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.
Begin exercising 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 and ask God for wisdom, discernment, and to challenge you through His Word.
- Observe each passage carefully and look for timeless life lessons you can apply to your life.
- 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?
May we apply God’s Word and not just be hearers of the Word only!
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
 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.