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A Quick Guide To The Inductive Bible Study Method

The Inductive Bible Study method is an investigative process of studying the Bible. Each step in this process invites us to slowly read and examine the text through a series of questions, both about the background of the passage and its specific content. While the Bible is meant for us, we were not its original audience. So, the Inductive Bible Study method helps us gain insight into what the passage meant to its original recipients and thereby better understand its relevance to us today.

Step 1: Preparation

To fully grasp the meaning of a passage, we must first learn about its background. This includes its literary, cultural, and historical context.

Preparation Questions:

  • Who is the author?

  • When was the book written?

  • To whom was the book written?

  • Why did the author write the book? 

  • What is the book's genre?

  • What is the key message of the book? 

Step 2: Observation

This step invites us to identify what we see in the passage. 

Observation Tips:

  • Read the passage multiple times.

  • Read the passage in two or three different translations

  • Highlight or underline keywords, repeated words, connecting phrases, or action verbs. 

  • Look up keywords in a dictionary

  • Write out the main idea of the passage 

  • Write out any questions you have about the text. 

Step 3: Interpretation

This step invites us to determine what the passage means.  (Don't use commentaries or the notes in your study Bible until you have wrestled through the passage on your own. )

Interpretation Tips:

  • Study cross-references 

  • Use a lexicon to look up keywords in the original language (Greek or Hebrew) 

  • Consider the background context of the passage. 

  • Consider why the author uses the keywords you highlighted or makes specific points in the passage.

  • Summarize the passage in your own words.

Step 4: Application

This step invites us to think about how the passage should impact our lives. 

Application Tips

  • Reflect on what this passage teaches you about God and how you can respond to that truth. 

  • Write out the key principles or timeless truths of the passage.

  • Based upon these principles, is there - 

  • A promise you need to believe? 

  • A truth you need to affirm?

  • A sin or attitude you need to confess?

  • An action you need to take?


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