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Conclusion: Reading the Bible for Personal Application, by David Powlison (Part 5 of 5)

9 July, 2010

Concluding thoughts from David Powlison on how to personally appropriate the saving message and wisdom of the Bible in our own circumstances today.Ephesians 6:17


You started by identifying one passage that speaks persistently, directly, and relevantly into your life. You have seen how both the direct and the indirect passages intend to change you. Learning to wisely apply the harder, less relevant passages has a surprising benefit. Your whole Bible “applies personally.” This Lord is your God; this history is your history; these people are your people; this Savior has brought you in to participate in who he is and what he does. Venture out into the remotest regions of Scripture, seeking to know and love your God better.

Hopefully, you better understand why your most reliable passage so changed your life. Ponder those familiar words once more. You will notice that they also lift you out of self-preoccupation, out of the double evil of sin and misery. God brought his gracious care to you through that passage, and rearranged your life. You love him who first loved you, so you love his other children. And that is how the whole Bible, and each of its parts, applies personally.

The Bible, as holy Scripture, is the only certain source of God’s words in the entire world. Paul’s statement that “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16; see note) means that all the words of the Bible are God’s words to us. Therefore if we want to hear our Creator and Lord speaking to us, we must continually give attention to the authoritative words of the Bible. This means that the Bible must be the only true foundation and constant guide for all that we do in the life of the church, and the Bible must be central to all that happens in preaching and public worship.

Moses and Jesus confirm how God’s people are to regard his holy Word. On the very day that Moses completed the writing of the Book of the Law, he directed that it be placed beside the ark (Deut. 31:26), sang his final song (the great Song of Moses; Deut. 31:30–32:43), and then declared that “it is no empty word for you, but your very life” (Deut. 32:47). Moses’ declaration set the standard for the primacy and sufficiency of God’s Word (cf. Psalms 19; 119). A millennium and a half later Jesus, the second Moses, after defeating Satan with three deft quotations from Deuteronomy, declared, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The Scriptures were life to Moses and food to Jesus; as such they together establish the ideal for God’s people and directly inform the Bible’s use in preaching and public worship. Jesus’ dependence on the sufficiency and potency of God’s Word raised the standard high for all apostolic and post-apostolic preaching and worship.

(Excerpted from the excellent ESV Study Bible)


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