Inductive Bible study can be defined as, “interpreting scripture with no pre-judgment, from the text itself, through analyzing the evidence and drawing out of it logical conclusions.” In layman’s terms, inductive Bible study is using the Bible to study the Bible on a more in depth level. An inductive Bible study can be a very important tool to a person wanting to learn more about the Word of God. Therefore, the next part of this paper is going to tell why inductive Bible study methods are important.
Why is inductive Bible study important? The first reason that inductive Bible study is important is that it allows people to pull information directly from the source, which in this case is the Word of God. It is also important because it allows people to be able to understand the Bible better through studying on a more in depth level. Inductive Bible studies are more in depth because they ask penetrating questions and give the reader the opportunity to come to the conclusion themselves. The reader comes to their conclusion by cross-referencing the specific text they are currently studying with other verses in the Bible. Key words or repeated words also greatly help the reader come to their own conclusion. By studying the Bible in this way the reader is given the opportunity to recognize how the Word of God applies to their life. They begin to realize what exactly the Lord is saying through a specific text.
What are the three major areas of inductive Bible study? According to David Lawson the first major area of inductive Bible study is observation. Observation of the Bible is simply examining what the text says. To do this, a person must ask the questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Another thing that is important in the area of observation when doing an inductive Bible study is the identification of key words. Key words are words that are repeated and have importance to the text. These words will become obvious to the reader after having read the specific from beginning to end a few times. Upon finding these key words, the reader should begin to ask ‘who, what, when, where, why and how’ to see what they can learn about the word in each reference. Over the course of the reading the reader will begin to see a pattern. It may also help the reader to make a list of what they learn about the key word(s) each time that it is used. The second area of inductive Bible study is interpretation. Interpretation of the Bible simply means that you come to an understanding of what the text says. Context is the key to the interpretation of the scripture. If something is taken out of context it can have a completely different meaning. This is where cross-referencing comes into play. A verse in James may have cross-references in Galatians and Romans. These are verses that say the same or similar things and they will help when attempting to interpret the Bible and take passages in the correct context. By cross-referencing the reader is less inclined to misunderstand or misquote the Bible. The third major area of inductive Bible study is application. Application of the Bible is applying what is learned and making it a lifestyle. It is living out what is learned from observing and interpreting the Word of God.
In closing, an inductive Bible study is an important thing to a believer because it allows him or her to understand the Word of God on a more in depth level. This kind of study gives a believer the opportunity to learn directly from the source rather than relying on other individuals conclusions. A Christian will also be able to observe, interpret, and apply what the Bible says to his or her life. Through this understanding a Christian may properly and effectively preach the gospel to others.