Theology in 3D

Beyond Chapter and Verse

Ken Casillas | March 8, 2018

Today I’m excited to announce the release of my book Beyond Chapter and Verse: The Theology and Practice of Biblical Application. In a few months it’ll be available on Kindle via Amazon, but for the print edition you can presently get the best online price through the Wipf & Stock website. There you’ll also find endorsements by my esteemed dean Dr. Sam HornDr. Michael Barrett, a beloved mentor, and three other respected theologians: Drs. Kevin BauderJason DeRouchie, and John Frame.


Here are some reasons that prompted me to write Beyond Chapter and Verse:

  • Christians often wrestle over how to integrate two foundational realities. On the one hand, we are declared righteous through the work of Christ alone. On the other hand, we are responsible to obey God’s Word. How can we keep these two concepts in proper relationship in our thinking and living?
  • When we do strive to obey, we often struggle to figure out what it is God’s Word requires of us. The Bible was written millennia ago—to and about people and circumstances vastly different from those of our day. The process of connecting the dots between this ancient book and the twenty-first century involves various challenges and potential pitfalls.
  • When we are evangelizing, sometimes unbelievers bring up such challenges and pitfalls as objections to the Scriptures.
  • I grew up and minister in a stream of conservative Christianity whose approach to holiness has been subjected to all manner of criticism. It has been dismissed as obscurantist, man-centered, isolationist, hypocritical, legalistic, and abusive. These are serious accusations and call for sober self-evaluation.
  • Going in the opposite direction, in various Christian circles biblical application suffers from neglect due to a minimalistic mindset. Some seem to think that if the Bible doesn’t explicitly address a topic in a “chapter and verse,” then the Christian is free to do whatever he feels like doing.
  • In regard to all the areas above, Christian leaders need to think especially of the next generation. Are we addressing their legitimate concerns as well as correcting their flawed thinking? Are we teaching them and modeling for them how to use the Bible responsibly?


Responding to these kinds of concerns, Beyond Chapter and Verse articulates a theology of biblical application and develops a corresponding methodology for application. I don’t claim to have all the answers or the last word on the various issues I raise. But I do hope my work provides a sound basis for a much-needed conversation concerning the application of Scripture to our lives.

One of my main theses is that the Bible itself requires that we apply its teachings and also guides us in developing a process for doing so. So I spend a lot of time expounding a variety of passages that relate in some way to the concept of application. I also aim at concreteness, sharing multiple illustrations and case studies. Throughout, I’ve tried to keep in mind believers generally as well as preachers, writing substantively but also accessibly.


Beyond Chapter and Verse divides into five parts. Part I gives vital background material. It sketches the broad theological context of Bible application, relating it to the gospel generally (chapter 1) and to the doctrine of sanctification specifically (chapters 2 and 3).

Parts II and III form the heart of the book. They provide a synthesis of key Old and New Testament passages touching on application. Part II argues that application is necessary due to the nature of Scripture (chapter 4) as well as the scope of sanctification (chapter 5). Then Part III unfolds various biblical patterns of application, particularly as reflected in the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament (chapters 6 and 7).

Part IV interacts with common objections to application. Here chapter 8 deals with appeals to the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture, and chapter 9 discusses charges of legalism. This leads to an exposition of Christian liberty in chapter 10.

Based on all the preceding, Part V lays out procedures for arriving at legitimate applications of God’s Word. Chapters 11–14 explain and illustrate an approach for moving from the Bible to life. Chapters 15–17 show how to move in the other direction: from life to the Bible and then back again. A brief epilogue concludes the book with some personal reflections.


I hope this post hasn’t come across like shameless self-promotion! I’m just burdened about the topic of application, and I want to help those under my care and the broader body of Christ. I trust that Beyond Chapter and Verse will provide the Lord’s people with motivation and practical help as they strive to implement the teachings of Scripture in their daily lives. I pray God will use it for his glory!

Photo credit: Ben White at Unsplash

9 responses to “Beyond Chapter and Verse”

  1. Steve Cruice says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to reading your book.

  2. Layton Talbert says:

    I got to read the initial full draft of Ken’s book when he first completed it. It is clear, compelling, thoughtful, practical, and above all biblical. It frankly made me feel profoundly privileged to be his colleague. I hope this book gets as wide a reading as it deserves and has a significant impact on the church’s handling of God’s words.

  3. […] This is a book I’m looking forward to reviewing soon here on the site: Beyond Chapter and Verse | Theology in 3D […]

  4. Ben Cheung says:

    Glad to see your new book and excited after reading your introduction. Going to get a copy and ship to Hong Kong. congratulations Dr. Casillas

  5. Andrew says:

    Excited to read this book! I’m curious if we will be given direction about preaching Christ from OT passages, especially in terms of application?

  6. Christi Geldenhuys says:

    Hope this book will be available in South Africa. It will be a great help to clear up uncertainties.

    • Ken Casillas says:

      Thank you for your interest! You should be able to get the Kindle version easily once it comes out in a few weeks. If the shipping cost for the print edition is prohibitive, I could try to work with a mission organization to get some copies over to you. Feel free to send me a note about that via the contact page. May the Lord bless!

  7. […] At times Jesus equated an accurate understanding of the Scriptures with the right response to or application of them (Matt 12:1-8; see my discussion of this passage in chapter 6 of Beyond Chapter and Verse). […]

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