This completes our approach to applying the meaning of the Bible. Because God’s character and human nature do not change, his Word remains relevant! Our principlizing approach gives you a way to grasp the Bible’s relevance for every generation—not only for us, but also for our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, and so on.
Some of you might be concerned that this method will restrict your freedom to apply the Scriptures. We remind you that as faithful readers our job is not to invent new meaning, but to apply the meaning that has been inscribed in the biblical text. Don’t worry. You’ll be able to find a number of parallel situations in your life or in your world that do contain all the key elements. And when you find a genuine parallel, you can be confident that you are applying the real meaning of the biblical text. Also, don’t be afraid to make your applications specific by creating real-world scenarios or by contemporizing a biblical story. People need illustrations and examples of how the meaning might be lived out in real life. God wants his Word to sink deep into our hearts and minds and transform the way we live.
Before we move into the next unit of the book, where you will learn how to interpret the various literary types found in the New Testament, we need to remember the main reason we come to the Bible in the first place. We study Scripture not just to learn more about God, but to know and love God more. He gave us his Word not just to fill our brains with biblical facts, but to change our lives. The plain intention of the divine Author is that we would grasp his Word by understanding it and living it out. Or, as Jesus said in John 14:21: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.”