Application is what sets meditative Bible study apart from an exercise in academia and is at the heart of sanctification. It is, without doubt, the most important part of Bible study, as it leads to the changed life Jesus said is the hallmark of true faith.

Step One: Pray

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you study.

  • Ask for Him to reveal what He would like you to learn from His Word.


Step Two: Meditate

  • Meditation is key to knowing how to apply Scripture.

  • Read the passage several times to familiarize yourself with its content.

  • Make sure you can paraphrase the passage. If not, read it again until you can explain it in your own words. Superficial, mindless reading is the opposite of meditation and the enemy to application of Scripture.

  • Visualize how would act in the Bible character’s situation, or what you might say. Imagine how the character must have felt or what he or she might be thinking.

  • Read the passage in several translations and consider the small differences in phrasing. (“God works all things for good…” vs. “God works all things for the good…” -- one word can give you entirely new insight.)

  • Some questions to ponder as you meditate:

    • Is there a sin I need to confess based on what I’ve learned?

    • Is there a promise here to claim? If there is a condition, have I met it?

    • Is there an attitude I need to change?

    • Is there a warning I need to heed?

    • Are there specific things for which to pray?

    • Is there a command I need to obey?

    • What is the main universal principle (true for all people, of all times, in all places)?

    • Is there an example to follow or an error to avoid?

    • What does this passage reveal about God (His attributes, views on something, ways of relating to people, reasons to love Him more, etc.)?

    • Is there something I can be thankful for?

  • Please note that answers to these questions are not applications themselves, but they can lead to it.


Step Three: Apply

  • Can you think of a situation in your life (i.e., work, church, school, home, family) in which you need to take Christ-like action?

  • Use your answer to Step Two, and put it into the context of your own life.

  • Write out an open-ended question that requires a specific action as an answer. That is,

    • Avoid questions with “yes” or “no” answers.

    • Rather than “Do I need to stop gossiping?” or “Will I try to be better about gossiping?” a better question would be “How will I respond the next time someone tries to engage me in gossip?” or “To whom can I talk about become an accountability partner regarding gossip?”

  • Your question should produce a measurable outcome; you should have quantitative data at the end of the week to answer the question, “How am I growing in holiness?”

  • Write the answer to the question down somewhere (e.g., “Next time my coworker tempts me to engage in gossip about Nancy, I will say something positive about Nancy instead.”)

  • Begin to do what you said you would do.

"Superficial, mindless reading is the opposite of meditation and the enemy to application of Scripture."