Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application

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Today I met with some friends of mine to discuss how to study GOD’s word. I pointed out that there is a difference between just reading the Bible and actually studying it. I believe it is best to do both: Read through the Bible as a book (because it is), and intentionally study the Word in smaller portions. Reading through the whole Bible helps you to gain a “big picture” view, while studying helps you to get down to the “meat” of the text.

There are many methods and templates one can use to study the Bible, but the basic premise comes down to four parts: prayer, observation, interpretation, and application. Prayer is essential in the reading or studying of GOD’s word because the Bible is inspired by GOD and therefore a spiritual thing.

[1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV]
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

I would give an in depth explanation here, but instead I think that you should download the packet that I made for my friends and read it. There are two articles –one from precept.org and one from christianity.com) that give a good overview of the basic principles of Inductive Bible study (Prayer, Observation, and Interpretation.) Observation is looking at the text to determine what it is saying. Interpretation involves looking at your observations and determining what the text means. Application is taking what you have learned and putting it into practice. This is crucial.

[James 1:22 ESV]
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

There are examples in the handout, along with a template for the S.O.A.P. devotional method. You will also see a page with the text of 1 John 1. I show how I use BlueLetterBible.org to copy the text of the Bible and paste it into a word document, giving myself a wide column on the side to write down observations.

If you see anything in the packet that confuses you feel free to contact me and ask questions.

I made this handout with information from the following sources. Check them out. They are worth the purchase. I was not paid or given any incentive to use or promote these sources. I just found them helpful and pray that they might help you in your journey of learning the Word of GOD.

Precept.org

christianity.com

How to Study Your Bible: Discover the Life-Changing Approach to God’s Word

The Navigator Bible Studies Handbook

Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God’s Word

Living by the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible, Revised and Updated

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