How To Do The Inductive Bible Study Method

Above all, we hope you’re reading the Bible as your primary source of truth, knowledge, encouragement, and growth. It is the only book inspired by God and without error. Many people use the inductive study method to help understand the Bible, both in it’s original context and as it applies to life today. 

This method of studying the Bible has 3 basic steps, guiding the reader from specific details to more general principles in the text. The 3 steps are:

  1. Observation (What does the text say?)
  • Determine who, what, when, where, why, and how
  • Note repeated words, lists of things
  • Identify contrasting words, cause and effect

“While making observations, turn it into a conversation with God as you read so that you’re actually asking God these questions and allowing him, by his Spirit, to lead you to the answers. Studying without observing is like cooking a meal without paying attention to the ingredients.” – Jackie Hill Perry, Jude Study, LifeWay.com

2. Interpretation (What does the text mean?)

  • Look at cultural/historical context to the original hearers of the passage
  • Consider details about the author, setting, type of literature it is, etc.
  • Investigate other Bible texts to help you understand
  • Connect the passage to the gospel and the bigger picture of the Bible

3. Application (What does the text mean for my life?)

  • Based on what you’ve learned, what does the passage mean for you?
  • Ask yourself about your own actions, thoughts, and motives based on what you’ve discovered.
  • What did God communicate to you? Consider his commands, warnings, promises, or encouragements. 
  • Prayerfully and humbly respond.

The underlying goal of inductive Bible study is to investigate Scripture, understanding what it says, what it meant to its original audience, and what it means for life today. 

Remember, it’s the Holy Spirit who gives understanding of God’s word (1 Corinthians 2:12-14). 

“When you know what God says, what He means, and how to put His truths into practice, you will be equipped for every circumstance of life. To be equipped for every good work of life—totally prepared to handle every situation in a way that honors God—is not only possible, it is God’s will.” – Kay Arthur, The Inductive Method of Bible Study: The Basics, May 15, 2019

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