This post is part of the Discover Deeper Devotions series.
The first Bible study method we are going to cover is my personal favorite. I have found the Inductive Bible Study method to be a great tool to help me gain a deeper understanding of what I’m reading in the Scriptures. (And I think the student part of me enjoys all the marking and notes!) I hope you will find it to be beneficial to your quiet times as well.
According to Precept Ministries, the fundamental principle of the Inductive Bible Study Method is to “study the text of Scripture first and refer to the work of others second. In this approach, individual time spent observing Scripture to know what the Bible says and using sound principles of interpretation to understand what it means should culminate in personal application.”
- Bible (one with cross-reference notes is best)
- Colored Pencils
- Concordance, optional
What does the text say? (I like to think of big owl eyes while I’m reading).
Begin with prayer. Ask yourself the “4 Ws and an H” questions: Who? (again, the owl eyes! ;-)) What? When? Where? Why? How? Often using colored pencils to mark or color-code these in the text as you read helps with observation. Make a list of your observations in your notebook or journal. Note expressions of time, geopgraphical locations, etc. and identify any themes you recognize..
What does the text mean? (Think of a big question mark!)
One of the most important things to remember when interpreting the Bible is context. You cannot take a verse out of the context of the verses/chapter that it was written and decide for yourself what it means. Remember that God’s Word never contradicts itself, so cross-referencing (looking up what the Bible says about the subject in other parts of Scripture) is extremely important. This is where cross-reference notes or a concordance comes in handy.
How does God want me to live in light of the truth of His Word? (Envision a U-turn because application always requires us to change direction).
Now that you have a better understanding of what the text says and what it means, you can now discern how to apply what God has revealed to you in Scripture to your personal life. What area of thinking or doing needs a change of direction? Ultimately, the result of studying God’s Word should be transformation, a change in nature or character.
In order to help you remember these three steps, I have created a printable for you to download. The PDF includes two half-sheet cheat sheets, so they are small enough to fit in your Bible or journal.
Also, for a more detailed description of this method, I highly reccomdend printing off this free guide from Precept Ministries International.
If this method seems a bit overwhelming, remember that you don’t have to do a large chunk of Scripture all at once. Break up chapters by sections and work on each section at a time. You may even want to work on one step each day until you get through them all and then move on. Remember, there is no hurry! Take your time and enjoy your time with the Lord, allowing Him to speak to you through His Word.
What are your thoughts on this study method?
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