But What Does It Mean to Me

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But What Does It Mean to Me? "What does this verse mean to me?" by John MacArthur All Rights Reserved That's a fashionable concern, judging from the trends in devotional booklets, home Bible study discussions, Sunday-school literature, and most popular preaching. The question of what Scripture means has taken a back seat to the issue of what it means "to me." The difference may seem insignificant at first. Nevertheless, our obsession with the Scripture's applicability reflects a fundamen- tal weakness. We have adopted practicality as the ultimate judge of the worth of God's Word. We bury ourselves in passages that overtly relate to daily living, and ignore those that don't. Early in my ministry, I made a conscious commitment to biblical preaching. My first priority has always been to answer the ques- tion, "What does this passage mean?" After I've explained as clearly and accurately as possible the meaning of God's Word, then I exhort people to obey and apply it to their own lives. The Bible speaks for itself to the human heart; it is not my role as a preacher to try to tailor the message. That's why I preach my way through entire books of the Bible, dealing carefully with each verse and phrase--even though that occasionally means spending time in passages that don't readily lend themselves to anecdotal or motivational messages. I am grateful to the Lord for the way He has used this exposi- tory approach in our church and in the lives of our radio listeners. But now and then someone tells me frankly that my preaching needs to be less doctrinal and more practical. Practical application is vital. I don't want to minimize its importance. But the distinction between doctrinal and practical truth is artificial; doctrine is practical! In fact, nothing is more practical than sound doctrine. Too many Christians view doctrine as heady and theoretical.
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