The Inductive Method of Bible Study
As a result of all that we have gone over, the next logical step would be to learn to STUDY the Bible effectively
Handle the Bible Accurately
2 Tim. 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
What is inductive Bible Study?
Inductive reasoning, or induction means taking a number of facts and drawing a conclusion from those facts.
The opposite is deduction. Deduction means starting with a statement, an idea, or a conclusion and then finding various facts which prove that the statement or idea is true.
various facts———-leads us to———a conclusion
a conclusion———is proven by——–various facts
When using inductive reasoning while studying the Bible, you look at what the Bible teaches, (facts) and then draw your conclusions.
Three Important Questions
1. What do I see? Observation
Learn to go beyond glancing at Scripture and take a good look.
2. What does it mean? Interpretation
Interpretation is your attempt to discover what the passage you’re studying actually means.
3. How does it apply to me? Application
Application means putting the truth to work. You find out the truth and them apply it personally.
Things to look for during observation
- key words – often repeated
- advice – admonitions, warnings
- cause/effect statements – if you do this, then this will happen
- connecting words – therefore
- commands, questions
- contrasting words
- condition words
During the process of observation you are looking at the big picture. You’ve not begun to dig too deeply into the text at this point.
1 John 1:5-7 – And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, (key) and in Him there is no darkness (key) at all. If (condition) we say that we have fellowship (key) with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (cause/effect); but if (condition) we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship (key) with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Phil. 4:5-7 – Let (advice) your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near (promise). Be anxious for nothing (command), but (contrasting) in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard (promise) your hearts and your minds in Messiah Jesus.
Eph. 2:1-4 – And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God (contrasting), being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Rom. 5:1 – Therefore (connecting) having been justified by faith, we have (cause/effect) peace with God through our Lord Jesus the Messiah
Things to look for during interpretation
- literal approach – Read the Bible as you would other literature, realizing it contains figures of speech.
- context – Scripture must be read in it’s context to get the proper understanding. The total picture would go like this: immediate context — rest of the book — other books by same author — all of Scripture.
- compare Scripture with Scripture – Use cross references.
- progressive revelation – God revealed certain things in various ways down through history. He did not reveal everything at once, not everything to one writer. You need to take all Scripture into consideration during interpretation.
- let the Bible speak for itself – Avoid reading meaning into the Bible.
Principles of interpretation
- The purpose of the Bible as a whole
- The particular message of each book of the Bible
- To whom is it addressed
- The context
- Similar teachings elsewhere in the Bible
- Guard against prejudice
Example of faulty interpretation using the topic of Prayer
John 14:13-14 – “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
James 4:3 – You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Things to consider during application
Discover how God applied His Word to those to whom it was originally given – When God gave new truth, He did so in the context of the lives of the people that were being written to. First discover this application, make it personal – ask questions.
- What dangers do I face if I disobey?
- What are the benefits if I obey?
- How should this truth affect my attitude?
- How should this truth affect my relationship with God?
- How should this truth affect my behavior?
Wherever you are in the Bible, no matter which book, always look for Jesus and the Cross.
All Scripture pointed to Him
Luke 24:27 – And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Luke 24:44 – Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
John 5:39 – “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;