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11 Responses to “Killer Apps”

  1. the irreverent reverend's wife says:

    Esther Meek’s “Longing to Know” is another work that is excellent on this subject.

  2. David Naugle says:

    I have worried about the observation, interpretation, application model, for a long time now! Bravo.

  3. Nushi says:

    Mike- right on. I never thought of this way, people application va. application of xxx on people, very thought provoking and I want to KNOW.

  4. Dan McWilliams says:

    But, Mike, I think that the intent behind application is actually consistent with the Biblical view of knowledge. After all, applying the Bible is acknowledging that we can’t know the truths of the Bible apart from letting them get worked out into our lives, into our relationships, into the way we think and how we act. When you are applying a text you are saying that you can’t really know it unless you do it.

  5. Mike Metzger says:


    We agree in general but I disagree with your assessment that “the intent” behind the modern view of “application” is consistent with what I’ve written here. It’s not. “Letting truths get worked into our lives” is passive and academic-speak. You learned how to ride a bike by actually getting on the bike. Wasn’t passive. There is no text that says we are to be “applying a text” unless you are talking about the judicial sense that I cite above – in the Jewish theocracy. That’s the same today – a court of law applies the law to determine misconduct. But that’s not how we speak of application in the wider world. The larger sense of application is embodiment, not osmosis, as is suggested in “letting them get worked out in our lives.” It’s far more active than that.

  6. Gerard says:

    I often find that those who practice “applying principles” are really replacing principles for the law (as in under the law); they seek to sanctify themselves (and others) by the works of applying principles (law) rather than living by faith (intimacy with God; union with Christ).

    Well intentioned brothers they may be; but it is surely one of the reasons why the church has little glory in our day.

  7. Bob Moffitt says:

    Ps 119:97-100 NIV

    Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long.
    98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
    for they are ever with me.
    99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
    for I meditate on your statutes.
    100 I have more understanding than the elders,
    for I obey your precepts.

  8. Larry Taylor says:

    I appreciate Mr. Moffet taking us to the Scriptures, because I think it illustrates Mike’s point so well. The word ‘meditation,’ of course, comes from the same root word that describes ruminates, animals that digest food slowly by chewing a cud. I am always fascinated whenever I watch the process. When a ruminate swallows, my immediate reaction is to think it’s gone, but then a few seconds later the cud returns to it’s mouth. That process is repeated over and over again. What a great picture of embodiment. True meditation is much more than contemplation. Meditation is really practice that turns into habit when the behavior is repeated consistently again and again. And habit eventually becomes embodied truth, like the cud that is finally digested.

  9. Dan Smith says:

    I certainly share your frustration with the tendency (of many) to evaluate the strength of a sermon or article on the basis of application. The Gospel is certainly not a self-improvement plan (principles). But I’m not sure that the “Observation, Interpretation, Application” tool is all wrong. I would suggest that Adam did “observe” Eve. As a man, I’ll go out on a limb and suspect that his observation of her is what led him to want to “know” her. And your observation that the more important question is “What does this mean?” really is about “interpretation”. So I’m not inclined to jettison Observation and Interpretation as being unhelpful. And done well, I think they really can lead to a life lived in-line with the implications of the Gospel (One who had no sin applied Himself to my sin problem). Again, not “principles”; but life lived in light of meaning. Am I too entrenched with Bill Bright? 🙂

  10. Mike Metzger says:


    One niggling problem with your definition of knowledge – the Bible doesn’t describe Adam “seeing” Eve as knowledge. It was sex that brought forth knowledge. I recommend Lesslie Newbigin’s “Proper Confidence,” where he notes that to even question this basic assumption of the modern church is difficult, since it springs from, in part, Enlightenment thinkers. Newbigin concludes: “Christian missions were, in fact, among the main carriers of the ideas of the Enlightenment. The churches of Europe and their cultural offshoots in the Americas had largely come to a kind of comfortable cohabitation with the Enlightenment.” Our comfortable cohabitation makes it hard to imagine that we might not know what knowledge actually is.

  11. Jeffrey says:

    Mike did you really say “shazam?”
    good commentary! thanks.

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