The Bible is not about us – it’s about Jesus (John 5:39-40) – but it always changes our lives. When we teach the Bible, ‘application’ is where we acknowledge this biblical reality.
(That’s why it’s possible to do application that is both powerful and false. Powerful because it’s helpful, false because it starts from the view that the Bible is about us. That’s another story.)
I’m familiar with thinking about individual application. ‘Christian, God says live like this.’ For example, if looking at the Bible on eternal life, an application might be do not let your employment be your identity.
OK. But I’m wondering if I mention structures enough. A Christian might have dealt with the his/her own thinking, but be oblivious to the wider situation.
Take the previous example, that of employment. Chris Christian knows that his/her identity is in Christ – not in law or running a shop. That’s OK, but what about the pressure to work 80-90 hour weeks? Chris knows. But Chris’ workplace does not know, nor care.
I think it’s important for Chris to see this. And, if necessary, not to slide into the workplace point of view. Perhaps Chris needs to say to the structure that Tuesday night is milkshake with the kids, and Thursday is Bible study. Chris might bear a cost here: disdain, missed opportunity, dismissal. Yet Chris would be living the truth of identity in Christ individually and structurally (for wont of a better word).
My application: I think that those who teach the Bible should include structural applications as well as individual ones.