Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Discerning and Applying Scriptural Principles pt.2

Drunk on wine. Ephesians 5:18 (NIV), says not to get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. The “interpretation” is very narrow, simply forbidding getting drunk on wine.

However, the “application” (with help from the scope of Scripture-including D&C 89) would include getting drunk on any alcoholic beverage, and would even go beyond that to include anything that compromises us mentally or physically, such as recreational drugs, which also lead to “debauchery” (the Greek word means reckless abandon, dissipation, profligacy).

Interestingly, the Old Testament also connects alcohol to reduced sexual inhibition (Hab. 2:15). Thus a proper conclusion to draw from this verse is that Christians should not be drunk on wine or other alcoholic beverages, or use recreational drugs or other such things that lead away from God to a lifestyle of dissipation.

Praying Before Sunrise. Determining the proper “application” of a passage of Scripture is not an exact science by any means. For example, Jesus got up before daybreak and prayed (Mark 1:35). The interpretation is very narrow, and refers to a day in Jesus’ life and what Jesus did that day. The application of this verse is certainly not that everyone should get up each day before daylight and pray.

On the other hand, the verse certainly emphasizes the importance of prayer. Furthermore, we should learn from the example of Jesus Christ, so it is a proper application to say that there will be times when we should get up extra early and pray, just as Jesus did.

The “application” of Scripture is determined from its scope, as well as our reason, logic, and wisdom. It is also important for us to realize that just as there is both a proper interpretation of Scripture and an erroneous interpretation, so there is both the proper application of Scripture and the improper application. Just as much good comes from the proper application of Scripture, so much harm has come from the misapplication of Scripture.

We must be diligent not only to properly understand the interpretation of a text, but to properly apply it as well."


  1. I also appreciate Isaiah's mention of the drunkeness on the wine of pride and self-deception that affects Ephraim at the last days.

  2. Oh, good one, Jennifer. That's not US, is it? :)
    This is good. applying to the last few posts: God gave us brains and He expects us to use them.