Wednesday, June 16, 2021

IBS-1 Practical Guide for Inductive Bible Study

Bible on display

The Big Idea: Introduce a practical series for inductive Bible study.

In-Depth Bible Study Made Simple

You've heard the story - give someone a fish and they eat for a day. Teach someone to fish and they eat for a lifetime. 

True also for Bible study.

Inductive Bible Study lets you investigate God's Word on your own and apply it to your life, whether you are a new follower of Jesus or have followed God most of your life. 

Even if the Bible is new to you, don't be afraid of this method. In fact, it will help you dig in.

Kay Arthur of Precept, International, a ministry designed to facilitate Inductive Bible Study, says Inductive Bible Study is getting "In da Bible." It is as simple as that. 

In Inductive Bible Study you examine a passage carefully.  You note the obvious. You look for significant words repeted (key words). You observe framework, setting, and style. You ask how it matters to your life.

Let's begin to unpack how to get in "da" Bible. I trust someone completely new to the concept can apply this. I hope Inductive Bible Study champions will be refreshed and newly eager to explore the Bible.

There are three foundational steps to Inductive Bible Study.

Why does inductive study work?

It helps you slow down in your reading of a passage, not just skim it quickly. You don't ask yourself  one question - "what does this mean to me?" You notice what it really says. You look at correlations.

 You start to see the big picture and grasp themes and ideas the Bible conveys. When you follow the basic 1-2-3 guidelines fresh insights emerge. The discoveries are rich and God's Word sinks in. It is exciting!

Here is a list of basic principles for inductive study that work. 

1. Read. Repeat. You read the text over multiple times, often seeing something fresh on sequential reads.

2. Make notations (different colors and symbols suggested) to differentiate words. You can do this in your Bible or have the text printed on a sheet of paper.  You can see relationships and repeated words more easily.

3. Summarize by theme each chapter and eventually each book.

4. Search for obvious things. (Names, places, references to time, relationships)

5. Mark a different aspect each time you read it through.

6. Analyze from different viewpoints.  What does it teach about God, a character, qualities, mankind…

7. Make lists from your observations.

8. Identify key words.

9. Compare words, characters, concepts with other Bible passages.

10. Identify context.

11. Apply it to life. We study the Bible because it can make a difference to our life in every way. Learn to listen to God as you study it.

12. Cover it in prayer. Start with prayer, pray while studying, and end with prayer!

The Word of God is worth your time to study, meditate on and apply to your life. Doing this is tied to the promises of God. 

 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8

 See my animated video summarizing inductive study. 

Up Next: Context is Key

Previous Post: Jumpstart Reading Your Bible



1.  Which statement closest reflects your thoughts. 

  •     In-depth Bible study on my own is appealing because it sounds so logical and useful.
  •     In-depth Bible study scares me because I might get something wrong about the Bible.
  •     In-depth Bible study must be way more time-consuming than I want it to be.
2. Have you ever studied the Bible using any of these ways to look at God's Word? What did you think?

3. How is this like teaching a man to fish?

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