It would be difficult to over-emphasize the importance of “audience relevance” when studying the scriptures.
There is an old joke about the man who wanted to know God’s will for him. He believed that the Spirit would guide him to the correct verse if he just opened his Bible and obeyed the first verse he saw.
So he opened his Bible to this verse:
1Sa 15:3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ “
Obviously, that command was not for him!
It is the responsibility of readers of the scriptures to “rightly divide” the word. Paul told Timothy this:
2Ti 2:15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Basically, the Bible is a history book… a divinely inspired history book.
1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Notice that this verse has the word “our” in it, indicating that it was for the people then living. However, all can learn from this verse that the events and peoples of a previous generation can be “examples” and “admonition” to a later generation.
Ro 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Again, the “our” and the “we” are speaking of the “then living” disciples. But the principles, the timeless truths, live eternally, far beyond those originally involved in the events and the writers who recorded them.
The Scriptures were not actually written to us living today. But they are for us… for our admonition and learning. To rightly divide and follow God’s will, we must understand “audience relevance”.