The human mind cannot retain or recall everything to which it has been exposed. What we learned once, we will need to review often to reapply the meaning of commands like to “be continually thinking” about Paul’s teaching, which means “to perceive with conscious thought, as opposed to mere contemplative reflection.”
Every command of Scripture must be studied to glean the main thought of every verb. This is much more than casually reading the text or memorizing passages. Then we must consider the context as we draw conclusions from each the passage.
Finally, the bridge between understanding the meaning and making decisions about what we must do is called “mediation.” The key to maturity is the application of the meaning of the word of God.
In 1 Timothy 2:2, Paul had given the command to train faithful men to do the work of the ministry (cf. Eph 4:12). To illustrate the challenge of applying principles of God’s word, he used the hardships of a soldier, the rigorous training of an athlete, and the hard work of the farmer to produce a crop.
Merely reading a text has little effect on the transformation of a person, because the implication of the meaning of a passage is easily overlooked. Sadly, many people feel good because they have read over a passage, even though they never spend the time to reflect on the meaning and seldom ask, “What am I to do today?”
The one who “finds pleasure in obeying the LORD’s commands;…meditates on his commands day and night” (Ps 1:2NET); he is the one who is “like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts” (1:3NET).
One author wrote, “Think over and carefully ponder what I have been saying. Look at your own life and ask yourself if you are a strong Christian, a spiritual Christian, a mature Christian.
Are you devoting yourself to guarding and teaching God’s Word? Do you deny yourself and count your life as nothing in order to faithfully serve the Lord? Do you keep a distance between yourself and the affairs of the world? Do you continually prepare yourself to serve your Master? Do you understand self-denial and self-sacrifice as an athlete? Are you willing to pay the price that He demands?” (MacArthur, 2 Timothy ).
If you seek both the meaning and the application, “the Lord will give you understanding of all this.” You will finish God’s plan.
“Father, as I reflect on Your words to us, it is amazing to me that the King of kings has given us His wisdom and instructions to live by. Help me to understand them correctly and to have the conviction to live faithfully by them today.”