Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Connection Between Interpretation and Application

In a Sunday School class (yes I know it is now Bible Study) I have attended, I and in fact the entire staff here at The Old Dead Guys, are usually frustrated by the eagerness at which the class moves into application spending very little time on completely understanding the text through solid interpretation.  I know this is not anything any of you experience but it usually drives us nuts.  But I suspect that your class may be similar. Maybe not seen from the teacher but some in the class seem to always want to immediately move to “how will this help my marriage or my mortgage” before they find out what God is telling them. 

So that brings us to the question “what is the connection between interpretation and application”?

As I am sure you know, being some of the smartest readers of the blogosphere, everything in life centers on a proper interpretation of that around us.  This is true for everything not just the Scriptures.  Therefore, interpretation carries the idea of reading or observing and giving meaning to the text or situation.  This process is necessary for daily life as without it communication with others or vice versa is impossible. 

Application on the other hand is applying that which has been learned through interpretation.  This application can be proper or improper; therefore the connection between interpretation and correct application is not severable.  It is however vitally important to recognize that just as interpretation precedes application (or at least should), interpretation without application becomes just an academic exercise.  But the academic exercise is still vitally necessary.

Your method of approach to interpretation is likewise vitally important and the reason I believe the Scriptures be interpreted literally; that is, taken in there usual, customary, and grammatical meaning unless context or some other clearly observable trait dictates otherwise. 

Biblically for application to be correct and therefore effective, the Bible must be interpreted accurately using sound systematic methods.  These methods must include recognition of who is being addressed and the limitations, if any, that are to be applied.  

So application is easy but if it is not founded on solid exegesis it is greatly subject to flaw.

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