One of the primary goals of the Church is to produce disciples of Jesus. It is not enough to merely preach the gospel and see people come to faith. The bigger goal is for people to grow in their faith until they are living like Jesus.
Two of the biggest elements of this project are …
1. Bible Teaching. A follower of Jesus sees the Bible as the word of God spoken to them. You read the stories and seek to understand all that it says. As a result, we read, and we study until we know more than just a few children’s stories.
2. Practical Application. What does this mean to our lives today? What does the message of the Bible look like if it were lived out today? How do we do what the Bible is teaching us? These are all very practical questions that can have various answers. For example, the Bible teaches that husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. I believe this is a fundamental teaching about marriage. But the practical application can range from a weekly date night to taking out the garbage and doing the dishes.
It is important for each one of us to understand these two different principles.
First, you need to understand the information you are receiving clearly. A Bible study might be a group that studies the message of the Bible with very little application. This blog is very practical with little Bible teaching. A sermon might be a combination of both Bible and implementation.
Second, much of what is considered practical application can adjust for each person. What works in your marriage might not work in mine and vice versa. Sometimes you might need to try several possibilities before landing on the best plan for you.
Third, Bible teaching is timeless, but the application is ever-changing. Applying a passage today might look very different from what it did 100 years ago because of the internet. We as believers and as a Church need to continually be evaluating our practices to make sure we continue growing over a lifetime.
If we teach the Bible without application, we might only produce mentally strong Christians. If we try to live for Jesus without knowledge of the Bible, we can easily slip into pop psychology instead of eternal truth. When we combine both, we prepare the way for years of growth in Christ.