Have you set any goals this year to have a deeper relationship with God? Today, I want to share with you 3 simple steps for in-depth Bible Study.
Ever heard of the Inductive Bible Study method?
This is by far my favorite way to study the scriptures!
2 Reasons to Study the Bible Inductively
1. Inductive Bible Study teaches you how to discover truth in God’s Word for yourself.
There are some amazing Bible studies written by very wise and knowledgable people. However, many of them are simply a reiteration of truth that has been revealed to another person. The author is teaching their readers what the Lord has shown them.
Don’t get me wrong – the church needs these people!
…what I’ve learned is that I am able to hear from the Lord too. I don’t always need someone else to reveal the truth in God’s Word to me. John 16:13
We have the ability to rightly divide God’s Word and correctly discern His voice because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us. HE is able to lead us into truth.
This is what makes these simple steps for in-depth Bible study so exciting!
What the Lord needs most from us is a hunger to know Him and a willingness to apply ourselves to the disciplined study of the scriptures.
2. The Inductive Bible Study Method, by its very nature, forces you to go deep.
The rule of inductive bible study is that you use God’s word as your first and primary source. You do your own study of the scriptures prior to looking at any commentaries or outside resources.
This forces you to really go deeper in Bible study to discover the correct meaning.
Some of my most favorite moments are those when I’m sitting early in the morning with my coffee and Bible open and the Holy Spirit reveals His Truth. Just Him and me.
So let’s get into the method of Inductive Bible Study.
3 Simple Steps For In-Depth Bible Study
1. Observation (What Does it Say?)
The first step is observation. It’s simply looking at the text to see what it says.
This step is crucial! In order to properly apply God’s Word to our lives, we must interpret it correctly. In order to interpret scripture correctly, we must observe it thoroughly.
2. Interpretation (What Does it Mean?)
There is one original meaning that the author had in mind when they were writing scriptures. This is the interpretation we are searching for.
It’s also very important to look at the text objectively at this point. If we read a certain passage of scripture with an attitude that we already know what it means, we may miss a deeper concept the Lord wants to show us.
3. Application that Leads to Transformation (What Does it Mean to Me?)
Once we gain a clear understanding of the meaning of the scripture, we should prayerfully consider how the Lord would have us apply that Truth to our lives.
Then, the fruit of our application should always be transformation.
This is a basic overview of the simple steps for in-depth Bible study. Ready to look at some deeper details?!?
How To Do It All
How to Observe the Scriptures
Mark Your Bible – Mark people, keywords, references to time, geographical locations, comparisons/contrasts, and terms of conclusion.
- People: Use a distinctive marking for each person (author, recipients, God, Jesus) in the text you are studying. It’s also good to create some universal markings throughout your Bible. (note: I always mark references to “God” with a purple triangle and “Jesus” with a purple cross.)
- Keywords: Keywords are words that are repeated or words that would change the meaning of the text if you were to take them out. Mark each keyword in a distinctive way.
- References to time, Geographical locations: These references help you to discover the historical settings and are important for keeping the scriptures in their original context. (note: I mark all locations with a green double underline.)
- Comparisons and contrasts, Terms of Conclusion: You can mark these the same way throughout your Bible. Looking at these words or phrases helps us to determine the main points the author is making.
Not everyone wants to go and mark up their Bible. I get it! I suggest you purchase a Bible that you use just for Inductive Study. The following is what I have used for years and love it! It is double spaced for easy marking and has large margins for making lists.
After you mark your Bible, go back and make a list for each person and each keyword you marked. Write down everything you learn about each that answers the who? what? when? where? why? and how? questions.
And that is step one of these 3 simple steps for in-depth Bible study!
How to Interpret the Scriptures
Keep It All In Context: This is probably the most important step for correct interpretation. Always read at least ten verses before and after whatever portion you are studying to ensure you are keeping the scripture in context.
Determine Chapter Themes: After observing a section of scripture, see if you can identify the key theme the author is portraying. Go a step further and break each chapter down to paragraphs to determine the theme of each segment.
Cross Reference: Consider the full counsel of God’s Word. When you are having a hard time interpreting a certain passage, look at other verses that relate to that scripture.
Things to remember when interpreting scriptures:
- Don’t try to make the text say something it doesn’t, just for the purpose of understanding.
- Scripture will never contradict other scripture.
- After you have done your own thorough study you can compare your thoughts to commentaries.
How to Apply the Scriptures
God’s Word is alive and active. After you gain the correct interpretation of what the text is saying, ask the Lord how He would have you apply it to your life.
Ask Him to show you beliefs or actions that need to change. Then be quick to obey.
Ready to Get Started?!?
When you begin to study in this way, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Please don’t let that discourage you!
Start by marking just a few verses and make a couple of lists. You will be shocked by how much you can learn just by observing the text!
The Lord will bless your diligence to know Him more fully!
Questions? Comments? Let’s chat! Leave a comment or connect with me on Facebook.