Over the years I have run into a growing problem - men do not know how (or have never been taught) how to study the Bible for themselves. As I lead Heart of a Warrior groups I am amazed how men immediately jump to application without first observing what the text actually says and interpreting what it actually means.
For instance, when you read Revelation 3:20 what is it about? Most people assume the passage speaks about salvation--that Christ stands at the door of our hearts seeking to come in and save us. But let's look at the passage in context.
14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." NIV
First of all, the text is written to the church in Laodicea. So, it is to Christians. He criticizes the church for being lukewarm. Their apathy and complacency is due to their wealth. He admonishes them to wake up and see their miserable state. Their self-sufficiency and arrogance has blinded them to their condition. He reminds them that he rebukes and disciplines those whom he loves. He has their best interest in mind. He seeks their repentence. All they need do is "open the door" and let Him in so that renewal can take place. He promises a special place for those who overcome their complacency, apathy and arrogance.
So, you see, the passage really IS NOT about salvation--it is about repentance and renewal. How did I conclude that? By simply employing basic tools of observation.
In the next few postings I will walk you through a 3-step process for proper Bible study so you too can glean all that the Scripture has to offer. The 3-step process includes Observation, Interpretation, and Application, Stay tuned.