An obsession with the Scripture’s applicability

Comment: A reminder that the key to Scriptural interpretation is “what does it mean” not “what does it mean to me”.

John MacArthur: What Does It Mean “to Me”?

Intro:

That’s a fashionable concern, judging from the trends in devotional booklets, home Bible study discussions, Sunday-school literature, and most popular preaching.

The question of what Scripture means has taken a back seat to the issue of what it means “to me.”

The difference may seem insignificant at first. Nevertheless, our obsession with the Scripture’s applicability reflects a fundamental weakness. We have adopted practicality as the ultimate judge of the worth of God’s Word. We bury ourselves in passages that overtly relate to daily living, and ignore those that don’t.

More:

There is no danger of irrelevant doctrine; the real threat is an undoctrinal attempt at relevance. Application not based on solid interpretation has led Christians into all kinds of confusion.

MacArthur mentions the book of Ephesians:

Doctrine gives rise to dedication to Christ, the greatest practical act.

Paul followed [this pattern] in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians. The doctrinal message came first. Upon that foundation he built the practical application, making the logical connection with the word therefore (Rom. 12:1; Gal. 5:1; Eph. 4:1; Phil. 2:1) or then (Col. 3:1; 1 Thess. 4:1).

True doctrine transforms behavior as it is woven into the fabric of everyday life. But it must be understood if it is to have its impact. The real challenge of the ministry is to dispense the truth clearly and accurately. Practical application comes easily by comparison.

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