The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.—Psalm 119:130
Today’s intellectual thinkers point to the shellfish and sabbath commands that no longer apply, and promptly toss out the Scriptures. Other out-of-date commands like morality and sexuality also conveniently hit the editing floor. Our society has, we are told, has advanced beyond the old-fashioned simplicity of biblical times. It seems like applying the Bible is totally unnecessary.
But we don’t have to give our brains a rest when reading the Bible. On the contrary, we need to engage our minds. So, rather than judge whether or not God has the right to say what he does, we need to use our intellects to understand what God means by what he says.
Admittedly, this begins with one’s worldview. Whether or not the Bible is true is another issue altogether (and it’s an essential one.) But if we can begin by believing what the Bible says is true, then our challenge is how we can understand—and ultimately, apply that truth.
Living in a Google world of instant answers doesn’t help us cultivate good study habits. Like any worthy while subject, there’s a discipline that requires we slowdown in order to better understand the Bible. We need to look below the surface.
Every command of God has a timeless truth behind it—a truth that we can apply to our lives in every age. These timeless principles are hidden in the context of Scripture. Some of these timeless truths will express themselves differently in different ages. But in no age may we conveniently ignore them. Some truths remain unchanged in their life application. If a command seems out-of-date, ask yourself, “What is the timeless truth or behind this command that must be applied today?”