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Application is the heart of Bible study. We do not just study Scripture to learn facts or win trivia games; we study so that our lives will be changed to become more like Jesus. To help with this task, use the SPACEPETS application acrostic that is discussed here. It will keep you on track with not just learning facts, but growing in faith and grace. If you haven’t already done so, check out the Introduction to this series on Bible study and Part 2: Some Basics.
Review of the Basics:
In my last post on Digging into the Word, we discussed some basics of Bible Study. To summarize, they were:
- Pray first – and throughout the study.
- Be consistent in studying the Word – set yourself a schedule.
- Study systematically – make a plan and stick with it.
- Write down what you learn – there is nothing quite like journaling Bible truths to have them stick in your heart and mind.
- Apply the truth to your life – always!
- Share what you learn – with someone, somewhere, somehow, and soon.
Today, I want to talk about application – the forgotten element of too many Bible studies. Application is where the truth of the Word meets your heart and life. It is where the work of the Spirit is done. It is where you will see, if you put in the work, great changes in your life. For me, application was easy when I first became a believer – there was SO MUCH I didn’t know! But only two years after being saved, I attended a small Bible college, and it actually got harder.
I learned a lot at that school and am grateful for the opportunity, but it was impossible to learn that much knowledge and apply it all to my life at the same time. We were required to have a daily devotional time that was supposed to help us to stay on track with application, but that often became another intellectual exercise for me. This experience, along with my natural tendencies, has resulted in a consistent struggle for me to not view Scripture and Bible study as an academic exercise, but as a means of changing my life and growing in love with Jesus. I’ve failed some, and succeeded some, but still battle that inclination.
To combat this tendency in your life, I urge you to start your Bible study time with prayer and include a prayer that the Holy Spirit will make the Word come alive to you and change you more into the person the Lord would have you to be. Specifically, pray that the Lord will show you how to apply that portion of Scripture to your life.
To help with the application part of Bible study, I want to share with you today an acronym I learned many years ago. This acronym can be found all over the Internet, and I do not know who first invented it.
The acronym is SPACEPETS and consists of 9 questions to ask yourself as you study a portion of Scripture.
- Is there a SIN to confess? Has the light of Scripture illuminated an area of your life that needs confession and forgiveness?
- Is there a PROMISE to claim? There are more than 7,000 promises in God’s Word. Does the passage you’ve read contain a universal promise or a specific promise to a particular person or group? If it is universal, ask yourself whether you’ve met the conditions of the promise.
- Is there an ATTITUDE to change? Is there something you need to think about differently? Do you struggle with pride, apathy, covetousness, or anger? Confess and commit to change.
- Is there a COMMAND to obey? Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
- Is there an EXAMPLE to follow? Are there positive examples to follow or negative examples to avoid? What aspects of the individual lives recorded in Scripture should you imitate? What should you avoid?
- Is there a PRAYER to pray? There are many recorded prayers in the Bible. Praying God’s Word back to Him is powerful!
- Is there an ERROR to avoid? It’s wise to learn from experience, and it’s even wiser to learn from the experience of others! What can you learn from the errors in the passage you’ve studied?
- Is there a TRUTH to believe? Often, we’ll read something in Scripture that we can’t do anything about. We simply must believe what it says about God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the past, the future, Heaven, Hell, or other topics in the Bible. When you come across a truth to believe, spend some time praising God for His wisdom and plan.
- Is there SOMETHING for which to praise God? You can always find something in a passage for which you can be grateful to God.
This technique can be very helpful in applying Scripture to your life, so I wanted to provide you with a tool to make it easier. Simply click on this link, and you will be able to download a SPACEPETS printable. I hope it helps you to remember to apply the Word to your life regularly.