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How To Accurately Apply The Scriptures

We must always hear Scripture first in its proper context and setting to arrive at its meaning. Once we’ve done this, we can then ask what difference does this make to the way we are supposed to live. We worship God by applying the principles that come from that proper understanding. To hear examples of this in the preaching ministry of Dr. Caldwell, consider listening to the following sermons where he exposits some of the more difficult passages of the Scriptures:

Mercy's Measure

The Blessed or The Cursed - Pts. 1-4

Prayer For The Spiritually Exhausted

Christian Contentment - Pts. 1 & 2

Why Christians Love Each Other

No Fear Of Judgment

The Golden Chain Of Redemption

A Doer Of God's Word

The Outcome Of Our Approach To God's Word

The Sovereign & Just Judge


How To Accurately Apply The Scriptures

How To Accurately Apply The Scriptures

How can we understand and apply the Scripture to our lives? Can we take any biblical passage or verse and accurately apply them to our particular situations? Can we use and apply verses of Scripture that don’t seem to apply to us today?

This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and host, Dr. Josh Philpot, discuss how to rightly go about dividing the Word of God, that we may properly apply it to our lives today. Dr. Caldwell tells us we can take any principle from any text of Scripture and make some application of the principle. However, if we haven’t considered the original context of the passage, then we haven’t even understood the principle correctly.

Dr. Caldwell explains the importance of hearing and understanding the teaching of the verse or passage in the context where it is given. The text has a single meaning, and it means what it means in the original context. We need to hear the verses for what they were saying to those people at that time. The authors had a specific historical audience, context, and purpose. Too often, people try to interpret a verse by itself in isolation without looking at the context surrounding it, and this typically leads to misapplication. Once we have taken in and considered the original context, the meaning of the text can be properly determined. Then we can extract the principle, and the application of it can be multiple in how we live it out.

Quoted Out Of Context

Dr. Caldwell and Dr. Philpot discuss verses from passages of Deuteronomy 31, 2 Chronicles 7, Proverbs 14, Jeremiah 31, and Psalm 127. They walk us through these texts of Scripture that are often quoted out of context and inadvertently then misapplied. They talk about the original context in which the verses were given and even what specific words themselves mean. Dr. Caldwell explains how to arrive at and understand the proper meaning of a passage. He next explains how to derive a principle from the texts meaning, and lastly, how to apply the truth of the principle derived.

Dr. Caldwell says that there are times when someone sitting in a Bible study might say, “What does this text mean to you?” Someone might follow up with, “Well, this is what this passage means to me.” Someone else might say, “Well, that’s just your interpretation.” However, Dr. Caldwell adamantly tells us that it does not matter what it means to us. He directs us clearly in saying that what matters is – what does it mean; what does the text mean? The text means what the author intended it to mean. The most basic and simplistic way we can learn to interpret the Scriptures is to seek to grasp the authorial intent of the text, in its context.

The true meaning of a text resides in the context. Once we know what it means, then we can ask, “How does this particular passage of Scripture apply to my life?”.

The Truth Of The Passage

We begin to do this by asking what principles do we find in the truth of the passage. But, once again, we are not ready to undergo the process of discovering the principles of a text until we know what it means. If we do not understand the meaning, even our principlizing will be wrong, and we will go on misapplying.

Dr. Caldwell further explains that meaning and application are two separate things. He tells us that both of these things are necessary to a Christians spiritual health. While there is only one historical interpretation, there are many applications that can be lived out in our lives today. So, if all we do is focus on what something means and not think about how to live it out, we misunderstand the purpose for which God has given us His Word. God means for us to know it that we would live. He intends for us to walk daily in it, living by the truth.

To only know the meaning but not think about the application would be to fall short. However, as Dr. Caldwell points out, the church today suffers, not from a lack of applying, but from much application that is actually misapplication. This misapplication comes as a result of neglecting to get hold of what the text means. He explains how this has happened in the church as it relates to the book of Acts. The book of Acts is both descriptive and prescriptive.

Misapplying Scripture

There are situations and circumstances in Acts that are primarily descriptive of what happened, but not prescriptive for what should be expected in the modern church. During the progression and transition of the first-century church, events occurred that are not necessarily normative for what should take place in the church today. To make the book of Acts the standard for everything we do in the church today would be misapplying Scripture. We must interpret descriptions in the book of Acts in light of what the Gospels and the Epistles prescribe and teach as timeless truths.

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.

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Season 12 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Makeup Artist
Samantha Claveria

Graphic Design
David Navejas


Special Thanks to
El Centro Network

Music by

Motion Graphics
Szymon Masiak

Walking In Grace Produces The Straight Truth Podcast - The Best Christian Podcast On The Web

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