Good Idea or Biblical Mandate?

I'm looking forward to teaching the last week of Bible Study Methods with a group of men in the morning. I'm responsible for teaching "application."

Application is the most important step of studying the Scripture, but you can't do application until you do everything else. It is a lot like putting the roof on a house; the roof is vital, but you can't put it on until the structure is in place.

When you apply Scripture without doing the spade work of figuring out how the first person who ever read God's words would have understood it, and what we have in common with them, you end up with applications that don't really have anything to do with the passage. That's really dangerous, because we end up confused between the things that are good ideas and the things that are biblical commands.

Good ideas are wise things that I should do. Biblical commands are good things that everyone must do.

The two are often connected, but should never be confused.

When you have application before you do the hard work studying a passage, the best-case-scenario is that you become a legalist... even if you have a good idea.