Welcome to the on-line
edition of the SEPA Handbook. The focus of the handbook is to
provide guidance on the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
We have provided explanations of the purpose and importance of
each step in the SEPA process, and tips on how to best complete
them. We have also included information on the history and
purpose of SEPA and its relationship with other associated
We hope you find the format and content of the SEPA Handbook helpful in your work with SEPA, whether you are a responsible official, reviewing agency, applicant, concerned citizen, or tribal member. If you have additional questions (or comments you would like to make on this publication), please contact our office: SEPA Unit
Washington Department of Ecology
PO Box 47703
Olympia WA 98504-7703
IV. Application of Bible Interpretation
At this point we turn to application. You have taken the time to understand the text in its original setting; now you must apply it to your life, your culture. I define biblical authority as "understanding what the original biblical author was saying to his day and applying that truth to our day.”
Application must follow interpretation of the original author’s intent both in time and logic. We cannot apply a Bible passage to our own day until we know what it was saying to its day! A Bible passage should not mean what it never meant!
Your detailed outline, to paragraph level (reading cycle #3), will be your guide. Application should be made at paragraph level, not word level. Words have meaning only in context; clauses have meaning only in context; sentences have meaning only in context. The only inspired person involved in the interpretive process is the original author. We only follow his lead by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. But illumination is not inspiration. To say "thus saith the Lord,” we must abide by the original author’s intent. Application must relate specifically to the general intent of the whole writing, the specific literary unit and paragraph level thought development.
Do not let the issues of our day interpret the Bible; let the Bible speak! This may require us to draw principles from the text. This is valid if the text supports a principle. Unfortunately, many times our principles are just that, "our” principles—not the text’s principles.
In applying the Bible, it is important to remember that (except in prophecy) one and only one meaning is valid for a particular Bible text. That meaning is related to the intent of the original author as he addressed a crisis or need in his day. Many possible applications may be derived from this one meaning. The application will be based on the recipients’ needs but must be related to the original author’s meaning.