Today we’ll consider how to apply the Bible’s historical passages to your life. The key to applying these passages is to discover the underlying framework and principles of the passage and then figure out what those principles look like lived out in your life.
Finding the Principles in Historical Passages
The Bible’s historical passages demonstrate doctrine. They show us what it looks like in real life situations. The precise circumstances of Bible characters is often unique, but the principles are the bridge from the past to the present. We’ll take a look at couple examples.
The the story of Noah begins in Genesis 6. There we read about God’s plan to destroy the world with a flood and His command to Noah to build an ark. Here is some of what God commanded Noah to do:
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” (Gen 6:13-14)
“But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.” (Gen 6:18-19)
Obviously, God is never going to command you to build an ark to save your family from His judgment by flood. Noah’s circumstances were unique. So what are the timeless principles that will help us bridge the gap between Noah’s day and now?
- A wicked world
- Soon coming judgment
- A warning from God
- Work to do
- The need to act on God’s warning and do God’s work
These elements of the story are as relevant today as they were in Noah’s day.
- We live in a wicked world (1Jo 5:19).
- God has warned us of coming personal (Heb. 9:27) and general (Act. 17:31) judgment.
- We have a work to do (Mat. 28:18-20).
- We must act by believing on Christ personally (Act. 16:30-31) and telling others about Him publically (Act. 1:8).
By extracting the timeless principles from the passage, you can live out what you learn.
Christ Calms the Storm
Next we’ll turn to a New Testament example from the life of Christ and His disciples:
“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mar 4:36-41)
While you may never be in a serious storm at sea, you can extract the skeleton of their story to see how it applies to your life.
- They were doing what Jesus commanded them to do (Mat. 18:8).
- They were in over their head in their area of expertise.
- They did everything they could to solve the problem except talk to Christ about it.
- They wondered if Christ cared about their situation.
- When they finally took the problem to Christ, He solved it in a way none of them could have imagined.
- Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith.
Are you in the middle of a mess right now because you obeyed God? Have you failed to take the problem to the Lord because you thought you had the skill, smarts or experienct to deal with it? Do you wonder if He cares about how bad things are for you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, what does the disciples’ experience tell you you need to do with your problem and your attitude?
Take some time this weekend to read Hebrews 11. This chapter contains many examples of people who lived by faith. Try to extract the skeleton of each story and see how their general situation might be like yours. (You may have to get the background on each person by refering back to the Old Testament.) What principles can you extract from their stories that will help you in your circumstances?