Inductive Bible Study method is one of the most effective bible study methods for personal bible study, quiet time or small group bible studies. This guide presents three basic steps of Inductive bible studies, Observation, Interpretation and Application. It will walk you through each step of inductive bible studies in details.
By definition, inductive logic or induction means ‘the type of reasoning which involves moving from a set of specific facts to a general conclusion’. (Wikipedia) Inductive bible study method provides a bible-based tool to study bible by observing the facts, investigating the motives and reasons behind it and thus offering life applications relevant to individual’s life experiences. (Also check out: Manuscript Bible Study Method)
What You Need:
- Bible, Notebook, and Time!
- Other resources: Bible commentary, Bible dictionary, study guide etc.
How to Start:
- Spare about 20-30 minutes for the bible study, more if possible.
- Start with Prayer and ask God for his guidance specifically for the study time.
- Select a bible passage. It is good to select a book of bible and study it continuously. However, it all depends upon your own preference. In any case, select a bible passage, which consists of 10-15 verses (Usually one or two paragraphs which may cover the story, topic or event). Selecting a very long passage or whole chapter of bible may not be the best approach, as you won’t be able focus on one particular event or aspect of the chapter.
- Read the passage 2-3 times. While first read may be a quick read, reading second or third time, will give you a good overview and outline of the bible passage.
- The three steps of Inductive bible studies are Observation, Interpretation and Application.
Observation is an essential aspect of inductive bible studies. So often, we get to the interpretation or even application of the bible verse without understanding its context. But if we miss this step, we can miss a lot about what passage has to offer. In this step, you should ask yourself following questions:
- Who: Who is mentioned in the passage? To whom it is said or written? Who are the audience? It helps you to get the picture of what is going on in the passage.
- What: What is happening? What is the passage about? Is there some kind of teaching, event like miracle or healing, exhortation, warning, conversation, debate, arguments, discussion etc?
- It also helps to ask question, weather the bible passage is the historical event, poetry, narration, letter etc?
- When and Where: This is an important piece of information. Ask yourself, when and where did this occur? The place and its significance, time of the day/month/year?
- One useful way of observation is to imagine yourself present in the settings of the bible passage.
Once you get a good background and understanding of the bible passage. Now, you can move to questions about the interpretation.
- Why: Why is it mentioned? What is the core issue? What is the main focus or theme of the passage?
- You may use some other resources, such as bible dictionary or a bible commentary, if the passage is difficult to understand.
- Observation and Interpretation may overlap each other sometimes, but these two steps will enable you to understand the context and meaning of the bible passage.
Finally, Inductive bible study is not complete, unless you have an application from the bible passage. The idea of bible study is not only to learn and gain knowledge but also to apply and implement in our own lives. Ask yourself:
- How does this passage apply to present situation?
- What can I learn from this passage?
- How does it apply to me personally?
- Application process helps you to make the bible passage relevant to you, and your life experiences. It is the step in which you can relate to the bible and discover how God communicates to you through the bible passage.
So, if you have not ‘try out’ inductive bible study method, test for yourself. You will be amazed at the treasures, you may discover though it!
- Reflections on Inductive Bible Study, by Ajith Fernando
- Independent bible study: E-Book – Independent Bible Study Method, written by Irving L. Jensen, published in 1963 by Moody Press. The book is freely available as ‘E-book’ in pdf format. It offers a great in depth method of using Inductive Bible study method.
Inductive Bible Study Resources on Amazon:
Check out our eBook, The Miracles of Jesus Christ – 7-part Bible Study Series on the Healing Miracles of Jesus Christ for Small Groups & Personal Study.