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Inductive Bible Study Hints
Inductive Bible Study helps you find the central truth and builds that truth
into your life.
To get the most from this study you need:
- A version of the Bible with paragraphs
- notebook for writing your findings
When you open God’s Word, expect to meet with Him and to learn something
about Him. Expect to find more of who He is and what He wants you to be
like. In a wonderful way you’ll grow to understand God and His ways if you
approach the bible open to be changed by what you find there.
Each day as you begin, open your heart to the teaching of the
Holy Spirit; ask Him to give you understanding and to help you think and
act in God’s way.
As you conclude a day’s study, apply to your life one truth God
has shown you as you relate to Him. Do as much of a step as you are comfortable with each day.
Step One: Book Overview
- Read it, if it’s brief. If it’s long, skim it.
If it’s a narrative, jot down a
fact about one or two of the main characters; list a few major events.
If it’s a letter, note a few facts about the writer and those
being addressed. If it’s another kind of literature, list some
facts that impress you.
- Write down a few
of your major impressions of the book.
- What helps do you
think you’ll get for your life from this book? Write down one or two
and ask the Lord to move in your life in these ways.
Step Two: The Book
- Look through the book to find which chapters
can be most naturally grouped together, either by main characters, events,
or by geography. On a simple chart, write the 2 or 3 or 4 major divisions
of the book, the natural groups of chapters. Give each division a short
- What seems to be the main theme of the
book? Write it in a short sentence over your chart.
- How does that theme apply to you personally?
In what part of your life do you need to act on that truth? Write down
a specific way you can begin to do that and ask the Lord to strengthen
you in it.
Step Three: Chapter or Part of a Chapter
If your version of the Bible has many short paragraphs, you can group them into thought-units and treat each unit as you would a paragraph.
- Make a list of facts that you observe
in the chapter (or part). Note who, when, what, where, and how. Note
also any interesting things about people, places, situations, atmosphere.
Include things that are emphasized, like words that are repeated or
contrasted. To cover a passage, make just a few observations on each
- Write down your major impressions
of the passage. What “hits” you from this passage?
- What does this passage teach about the
Lord? What difference does it make to you that He is like this?
Take sometime to praise Him.
Step Four: Chapter or Part
- Choose a short title for each paragraph.
- What connections can you find between
paragraphs? Look for a few, such as repeated words, similarities, contrasts,
cause and effect. What significance or meaning do you find in
each of these connections? Jot down the meanings.
- Then, look at the meanings, connections
and facts and ask yourself: What is the main thing going on this passage?
In other words, what is the central truth this passage is teaching?
Write that truth in a sentence.
- What is the main thing the Lord is saying
to me through this passage? Here are some possibilities. Select just
- Something to obey or an example
to follow or avoid? What is it exactly? How can I soon practice
- A truth about the Lord I can
rejoice in? In what part of my life is this truth especially encouraging?
- A promise I can take for a
situation I’m in? Are there conditions in the promise which I need
to fulfill? What are they? What does the Lord say He’ll do? (Memorizing
the promise will help in the days ahead.)
- Something to obey or an example
THE NEXT STEP: The Next Chapter or Part Continue as in Step 3.
THE STEP AFTER THAT: Proceed as in Step 4, etc.
Move along at your own pace.
RELATING THE MAIN PARTS TO EACH OTHER:
When you finish studying the chapters, notice how their main truths connect
with each other. As you connect these main truths, you are beginning to
put together the teaching of the Bible. See if from these you can
write the theme of the book in a sentence. How does it fit with
the theme you saw at first? Share these with a Christian friend or group
studying the same book. See how your theme compares with that in a Bible