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June 17, 2008



You know...I think the "their on their own" comment is VERY important. But, I also think it's begs a question that conventional wisdom or methodology perhaps overlooks.

In school, our teachers give us a rule...and then we practice applying that rule over and over--and over. In this kind of process, two types of students emerge: one student memorizes the facts and result of each case study. He does application by wrote--yet is often completely flabbergasted when asked to apply that same rule to circumstances that may only slightly vary from his memorized material.

The other kind of student learns HOW to apply that same rule for himself. He doesn't memorize a specific application and try to regurgitate it ad infinitum...he can explore the rule's meaning in any situation no matter how twisted or convoluted the facts get. Subtle nuances in the facts that he confronts lead him to an appropriately circumspect analysis of the proper result. Sometimes, facially similar circumstances, when put to an exacting analysis, lead to dramatically different results.

I humbly submit that the kind of application that the body most needs to be taught is not WHAT to think in a GIVEN situation, but HOW to think in ANY situation in light of a particular principle. Anyway, maybe you could be a trend-setter in application by taking a more "problem based, socratic" road in lieu of the current "give a man a fish" status quo? Broad strikes and pat answers are convenient...but they also sometimes seem to foreclose a "living faith." Why not be a teacher who helps his sheep learn biblical truth by forcing them to answer some questions (situations) YOU come up with?

Anyway, chew on that a bit. Cheers.

Alex Marshall

I definitely agree with Austin- the real challenge of applying a principle in any field of thought (Biblical, scientific, legal, etc) is that the specific application can change rather dramatically with even slight changes in the situation. So really, what needs to be learned is how to look at and assess a situation to discover the appropriate "application" or response. I don't know if that is something that can be done with a computer program, it seems to me like in a lot of ways that does have to be done by the individual. Not to say that it is completely subjective, but I don't think you can possibly make a software program that understands the variables enough to make an adequate "decision" about a specific situation in someone's life.

bubba matthews

I'd go a slightly different route and say many churches, and people, are all about interpretation of Scripture and not at all about application of Scripture. It is kinda like we act like there will be an entrance test to get into heaven based on our ability to cross reference passages. I'm not saying study isn't important but study without application seems to be one component of what James rails against. It seems I'd like to argue that without personal growth application and outward growth application we treat the Bible as nothing more than an interesting, really long, textbook.

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