How to Obey God’s Explicit Instruction

Bong Baylon Bible

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

Like I said in my previous post, all Scripture can either be a revelation or an application of revelation. To put it in another way, God may either be telling you something that you didn’t know (or don’t know) and He wants you to know it or he may be telling you to do something because He has already revealed something (either in the surrounding text or somewhere else). Both revelation and the application of revelation may be either explicit or implicit, meaning it’s either obvious or not obvious in the text. Previously, I discussed how you can identify God’s explicit (i.e. obvious) revelation. Today I’m going to teach you how to hear and obey God’s explicit (obvious) instruction (i.e. application of revelation). I’m going to use 2 Timothy 3:14-15 as an example.

First of all, you need to understand that all application is based on a revelation. In other words, God is commanding you to do something because of a truth or revelation that He has already given. He does not make commands in a vacuum. There’s a reason for every command. In our example above (2 Tim 3:14-15), the revelation is actually found in the next two verses after this passage.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

We already studied this passage. So now going back to verses 14 to 15, we can begin our study by identifying the original theme of the passage. Based on the context, the original theme is about “Godliness.” How did I come up with this theme? Simple. The conjunction “but” refers to the previous passage, and it’s about godliness. Let’s read…

12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 3:12-13

So the context indicates that Paul is talking about godliness to Timothy. So the phrase “But as for you…” indicates a contrast to the previous verse which talks about ungodly people. He wants Timothy to be unlike them. He is to continue in what he has learned and has become convinced of, because he knows those from whom he has learned the Gospel, specifically from Paul and other teachers of the Scriptures. Now, after we have identified the original theme, we also need to identify the original topic. In this case, the topic is “How Timothy can continue to pursue godliness.” The original truth statement, like I said, is found in verses 16 to 17, which verse 15 alludes to or anticipates. Verses 14 to 15, in effect, is really just about the thrust of the passage, or what Timothy has to do in light of this revelation. So the original thrust of the passage, which is the answer to the topic, is “Timothy must remain faithful to what he has learned from Paul and the others who taught him about Jesus Christ through the Holy Scriptures.”

Now, this is not the end of the process. We need to restate this in a universal way before we can apply it to ourselves. This is called exposition (the previous step is called exegesis). It requires restating the thrust statement in such a way that it can now be applied universally to every believer based on what God has said throughout the Bible (which is also called “thinking theologically”). We can start by restating the theme. Originally, the theme was about “Godliness.” We can restate it as “Being Faithful to God,” so that it can be applicable to everyone. The topic can be restated as “How believers can continue to be faithful to God.” The word “believers” replaces “Timothy.” So the universal thrust statement can now restated as “Believers must remain faithful to the Gospel that has been taught to them based on the Bible.”

From here you can apply this thrust statement to yourself. What is the Lord saying to you today? I think it would be safe to say that today the Lord is saying to you something like this, “I must remain faithful to the Gospel that has been taught to me based on the Bible.” You can further come up with practical steps in order to obey this command from the Lord. For example, you can start recounting and memorizing the Gospel that you have learned. Or you can examine yourself whether you have been living faithfully according to the Gospel, etc. This is how you hear and obey God’s explicit (i.e. obvious) instruction to you.