Whether our team is preaching or teaching we consistently use principals from the Inductive Method of studying the Bible.
Now you might be asking “Inductive Wha??”
Inductive Bible study is a way of approaching the Bible; it begins with gathering facts from the text and allows those facts to establish a conclusion. It is the opposite of Deductive Bible study which starts with a conclusion and gathers information with the goal of supporting that conclusion. Although we are not opposed to approaching the Bible deductively, we believe this is something that should be done after laying a solid foundation of first allowing the Bible to speak for itself.
There are many methods that can be used to approach the Bible inductively; the method we use consists of the following 4 steps:
In the 1st step you take time to invite the Holy Spirit into your time of study and discovery because He is the ultimate Author. Although this is the first step, we encourage you to consciously do this throughout your time of study.
In the 2nd step you’re going to read the entire book or passage that you want to study. Ideally you will do this in one sitting so that you will see the big picture context. As you read, be aware of factual observations; DO NOT ask any questions about the meaning, just begin laying a firm foundation of seeing what the text says. We would also encourage you to read the book or passage more than once before continuing on to step #3.
In the 3rd step you’re going to begin peppering the text with “why” and “meaning” questions. BUT before you do that, it is important to remember that the Bible wasn’t written to you (although God did preserve it for you). Therefore your questions will be asked within the context of the original writer and the original audience (readers/hearers). In order to do this you must get into the shoes of the these people by reading some historical background (check out www.studylight.org for free Bible dictionary resources but don’t crack open those commentaries, other people’s opinions will confuse your study!) This step requires a bit of practice but is key so don’t give up!
Finally, in the 4th step you ask “what does this mean for me?” without application there is no point in studying the Bible; this book isn’t meant to simply inform but to transform! In order to apply the truth you discover, you must assess it to make sure it is timeless. Timeless means that it transcends location, culture, and time; it is something that has always been true and will always remain true. Once you’ve identified truths that are timeless you can begin applying them in your life. When you choose truths that you want to commit to, it is important to think of specific ways of personally and intentionally applying/implementing it. Don’t overwhelm yourself; be practical!
Congrats! You’ve just completed a version of our Inductive Method Overview teaching =)
In our next post we will explain how we practically implement this in our ministry.