Today and tomorrow, I will be posting a two-part article about the inductive Bible study method that I learned over the summer from a dear friend of mine. Toady’s article serves as an introduction to the method as a whole, and tomorrow’s post will dive into the specifics of each step. It is my hope that you might benefit from this helpful tool as much as I have.
An Introduction to the Method
The inductive method is a way to study your Bible that “uses the Bible itself as the primary source of information about the Bible. In inductive study you personally explore the Scriptures apart from conclusions Bible scholars and other people have drawn from their study of the word…. In inductive study, commentaries, books, tapes, and other information about the Bible are consulted only after you have made your own thorough examination of the Scripture…. Inductive Bible study draws you into personal interaction with the Scripture and thus with the God of the Scriptures so that your beliefs are based on a prayerful understanding and legitimate interpretation of Scripture—truth that transforms you when you live by it (How to Study Your Bible, Kay Arthur, pages 8-9, emphasis mine).
Arthur also says about this method that “The main requirement in learning to study the Bible inductively is the willingness to slow down and really look at what the Scripture is saying” (p. 8).
The inductive method consists of three steps: observation, interpretation, and application. (These three steps will be spelled out in more detail in tomorrow’s post.) By using this method we want to find out what a Bible passage says, what it means, and how we can apply it to our lives.
A Note On “Inductive”
Reasoning can work in two directions. Deductive reasoning moves from general statements to a more specific conclusion. Inductive reasoning moves from specific premises to a general conclusion. To read more about the difference between the inductive and deductive reasoning, click here.
I cannot overstate the importance of studying the Bible. While it is true we can learn a lot about God by studying his creation, in the Bible God has spoken in human words–words that can comfort and encourage and terrify and relieve the heart like the galaxies never could. May this simple tool called the inductive Bible study method inspire you to get into God’s word and get God’s word into you.