By: Mark McGee / GraceLife Ministries

This study quotes heavily from the college textbook titled "Methodical Bible Study: A New Approach to Hermeneutics" by Dr. Robert Traina.

The next step in Bible study is Evaluation

Meaning and Place of Evaluation

Evaluation follows interpretation. Interpretation is the meaning of a Biblical passage. Evaluation is the relevance and usefulness of a Biblical passage.

"In view of the meaning of evaluation, two facts should be stressed regarding its proper place in methodical study." The first is "that evaluation must follow interpretation and not precede it or be simultaneous with it." The second is "that evaluation must precede application proper."

Some of the worst mistakes made in Bible study are getting these processes out of order. Many students want to rush to application before observing. Many want to evaluate before or even without interpreting. This can lead to great misery in the lives of people this kind of study impacts.

Process of Evaluation

  1. Process of General Evaluation --- "In the evaluation of Biblical statements one is concerned with two major questions. The first of these involves the general validity and worth of the Scriptures as a whole or of large parts of them. It may be stated thus: 'Is the Bible (or a major part of the Bible) of any value for the modern man, or is it invalid and worthless?' This question is basic to all Scriptural evaluation and application. For if the answer to it is to the effect that the Bible as a whole or a large portion of it is of no value for contemporary life, then the process of evaluation has been completed in relation to the material in question, and further, the possibility of application has been removed, since the presupposition is that Biblical statements have value and therefore should be employed for the improvement of life.
  2. Process of Specific Evaluation --- Assuming that one's answer to the first problem is to the effect that the Scriptures are generally valuable for contemporary life, one is confronted by the second major question of evaluation. It is more specific in nature and may be phrased thus: 'Since the Bible is of value for contemporary life, what is the exact worth of the statements of particular passages? When and where and for whom are they worthwhile?' The primary task of this phase of evaluation is to analyze the statements of a passage in order to determine which of its truths are timeless and therefore of contemporary worth."

The Scriptures themselves indicate that the ultimate standard for determining which truths are universal is Jesus Christ, Who, as the Incarnate Son of God, embodies that which is of timeless and supreme value. All things must therefore be measured by Him. Thus, since the New Testament contains His life and its implications, it becomes the grounds for appraising the statements of the Old Testament."

The next step in Bible study is Application

  1. Process of Application
    1. Analysis of Contemporary Situation in View of Passage --- "Having determined the universal elements of a passage through the process of evaluation, the next step is to discover the exact contemporary situation to which the passage is applicable. For though the truths one may have found are actually timeless, it does not follow that they can be applied indiscriminately to any circumstances. Thus if one wants to apply the truth of a passage, one must either analyze a specific modern situation to ascertain whether it falls within the bounds of the universal truths, or one must find a contemporary situation which does."
    2. Application of Passage --- "Theoretically, the application of a passage represents the sum total of the preceding two steps. For once one has discovered the universal truth of a passage as well as the contemporary situation which falls within its province, then one may bring the passage to bear on the situation, and the result is application."
  2. Kinds of Application

    "It should be realized that there are two distinct types of application: theoretical application and practical application. The first is a necessary foundation for the second; the second should be the logical outgrowth of the first."

  3. Areas of Application

    ..."Biblical truths should be applied both personally and to others; they should be employed in connection with the political and economic aspects of life as well as the spiritual; they should be utilized locally, nationally, and universally; they should be applied to believers and to non-believers."

Summary of Evaluation and Application

"The applicatory step is that for which all else exists. It represents the final purpose of Bible study. However, if application is to be valid, it must be preceded by a process of evaluation ... The major task of the specific phase of evaluation is to distinguish between those truths which are local and limited and those which are timeless and general. The basis for making such a distinction is the supreme and universal revelation which is embodied by Jesus Christ and which is recorded in the New Testament. After the universal truth has been determined, one must then analyze a specific modern situation which may have occurred to one in order to ascertain whether it comes within the scope of the universal truth, or one must search for a contemporary problem to which the truth is relevant. When one has discovered a modern situation to which the timeless truth of the passage is pertinent, then it is one's duty to apply that truth, not only in concept but in deed. And one should apply it in whatever realm of life it is appropriate and regardless of the consequences. For in the last analysis one of the primary secrets of Scriptural application is the kind of abandon which causes one who has discovered a truth to follow it to its logical outcome, even if the road be hard and the intangible rewards few."

The final step in Bible study is Correlation

"Although some correlation inevitably occurs during interpretation and application, this phase forms the concluding step of the inductive study of the Scriptures. For it represents the generalizations which are the outgrowths of the examination of particular passages.

To be more specific, the goal of Scriptural study is the development of a VITAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY