If you have attended church for any period of time, you have been taught that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. We know to look to the Bible for answers to spiritual questions, maybe even relational issues, but is the Bible really the first place to look for all of our decisions?
Paul states in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (NLT). Today, I want to look at how we can better apply God’s eternal truth to our day-to-day lives.
Obviously, we make many decisions that are not specifically addressed in Scripture because the world is different than it was when the Bible was written, and many aspects of our daily lives, such as modern technology, were completely unknown in the ancient world. However, scripture does give us guidance on our motives, attitudes, relationships and where our thoughts should be focused. So, for example, the Bible does not tell you if it is permissible to watch certain types of movies. It does say, “I have the right to do anything, you say, but not everything is beneficial,” (1 Corinthians 10:23a, NIV) and “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things” (Phillipians 4:8b, NIV). The Bible also teaches us wisdom. Proverbs opens by clarifying the purpose of the words to follow: “for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight” (Proverbs 1:2, NIV).
Author D. Swavely notes that “Colossians 3:16 implies this slight distinction between the Word and wisdom when it says, ‘Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another.’ The word of Christ is the written revelation we have received from God; the wisdom Paul is talking about is the God-given ability to apply the principles of Scripture to human problems” (p.126). The implication is that we can use the Bible to make daily decisions, but we must first study His word, prayerfully, consistently, intently, as “a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NIV).
I apologize if anyone is disappointed, but there is no easy way; I cannot write a quick guide to discern God’s will. However, by studying God’s word in this manner, we can gain wisdom and insight, learn to examine our hearts, and understand Godly principles which can be used to guide our decisions. We will likely make better decisions when we have spent years learning God’s ways than when we simply content ourselves that we have Googled the topic, and the Bible does not directly forbid it. I challenge all of us to stop looking in the Bible to see how far we can go without actually sinning, and start allowing his Holy Word to transform our hearts and minds.
On the journey with you-
Holy Bible, New Living Translation. (2007). Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
NIV Student Bible. (2002). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.
Swavely, D. (2003). How to make decisions. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R.
Written by Jen Eicher. Read Jen’s full testimony here