Applying Scripture Properly

**As I progress through my doctoral program I will be placing some of my work on here. Please feel free to engage with me in the learning process to seek greater depth in understanding of leadership, scripture, and life.

According to Duvall and Hays (2012) there is a process that can move a reader of scripture from meaning to application with confidence in accuracy. This process begins with comprehension of the text “in their town” (Duvall, 2012, p. 215), or grasping the historical-cultural context. For instance, in Mark 5:24-34, the woman with the issue of blood, it is very important to understand that her illness of bleeding was considered unclean by Jewish law, and anyone who touched her would have been considered unclean. (Baert, 2012, p. 665) In verse 25 it is revealed the woman has had her illness for twelve years (Crossway Bibles, 2007), and has therefore lived a life without much human contact for a very long time.

Once the original meaning has been discovered, Duvall and Hays instructs the reader to ascertain the divide, or the “width of the river” (2012, p.216), between the world of the writer and the world of the reader. Determining what similarities and differences exist will give the reader an understanding of the width of the divide.   Once the distance is understood, it is time to list the theological principles in play in the passage. Here the reader seeks out timeless principles intended by the original author and still applicable in a modern context.

Finally, the timeless principles should be applied to the life of the reader. The Holy Spirit inspired the original author, for the original audience and people of all time. (Duvall, 2012, p. 178) As in Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul is instructing his original audience to embrace “unity in the spirit”, which is applicable to modern followers of Jesus Christ. (Crossway Bibles, 2007)

Beyond the process lined out by Duvall and Hays, what attitudes and mindsets should a reader approach scripture with to successfully move from meaning to application?


Baert, B., Kusters, L., & Sidgwick, E. (2012). An Issue of Blood: The Healing of the Woman with the Haemorrhage ( Mark 5.24B-34; Luke 8.42B-48; Matthew 9.19-22) in Early Medieval Visual Culture. Journal of Religion & Health, 51(3), 663–681. doi:10.1007/s10943-012-9618-5

Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: study Bible: English standard version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.

Duvall, J. S., Hays, J. D., & Strauss, K. J. V. and M. L. (2012). Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (3 edition.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s