Let’s Do Inductive Study – Part One!
Encountering a Ah-ha moment in realizing a transformational truth is one of the greatest joys I have found! Over the next few days, I would like to post some basic tools and steps to share with you on how to study the Bible and recommend two books for greater detail should you desire to study more in depth!
Overview Steps to Inductive Study
- Transcultural Truth
WHAT IS Inductive Study?
Inductive Bible study encompasses observing what the text says in context, in contrast to reading meaning into Scripture (deductive). Learning this tool can enhance one’s own study and with simple discipline, greatness in knowledge and application can literally transform one’s thinking and faith and deepen intimacy with God. Simply observing casually by reading has benefit, but the transformational ability comes when one applies the Scripture to one’s life, and becomes easier with practice! Inductive study includes such aspects of looking at the text to discover:
WHAT TYPE OF LITERATURE or GENRE is it (a letter, a Psalm, history, narration, etc.)?
WHO wrote it? To whom was it written? Who else is mentioned?
WHY was it written (clues from the Scripture itself)?
WHEN was it written (is there a significance, a feast or festival)? Where was it written?
WHAT is the passage about (in context)?
WHAT is right BEFORE this passage? WHAT is right AFTER this passage?
CONTEXT is CRITICAL for right observation!
TOOLS FOR Inductive Study
A Bible, a notebook, colored pencils or highlighters and an amazing cup of coffee are wonderful tools for the OBSERVATION phase.
Commentaries, lexicons, concordances, cultural background books, and maps, along with other tools are most helpful in the INTERPRETATION phase of study. Although these may be easy to dive into, resist.
Doing OBSERVATION without these tools is critical for the process and helps to set aside one’s own presuppositions when coming to the text.
How to Begin
- Set some uninterrupted time aside.
- Start with prayer and come with an open heart. It is difficult to put aside presuppositions, but most helpful! Being mindful that the Holy Spirit is present to help in the process is exciting as well.
- Select a passage. 10-15 verses are a good portion to study at one time.
- Read the passage 3 times.
Think of these tools as the easel that will hold the beautiful painting that is about to be discovered!
I’ll be posting the basics of OBSERVATION tomorrow!