Saturday, December 6, 2008

Inductive Method of Bible Study - Part 1

There are many ways of Bible study. One of them is the inductive method of Bible study. There are other names and several versions of this method.

The following material is based on the books:
1. Walter Henrichsen, Gayle Jackson Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible
2. Howard G. Hendricks, William D. Hendricks Living by the Book
3. How To Study the Bible (published by BEE International)
4. Discovery Bible Study (published by BEE International)
5. Understanding the Bible (published by ICI)

This method can be used in several ways:
1. The study of one verse
2. Analytical study (the study of a paragraph or a chapter)
3. Synthetic study (the study of a book of the Bible)
4. Thematic study (the study of a theme of the Bible)
5. Biographical study (the study of a character of the Bible)

This method has three main steps:
1. Observation (What can I see here?)
2. Interpretation (What does it mean?)
3. Application (How can I apply it?)

Observation lays a foundation for interpretation, and interpretation lays a foundation for application.

The purpose of observation is to find facts. In observation, you search for the information in the text of the Bible. There are, actually, many things that can be found there. Before you search for the information in the text, it is good to find some information about the background of the book:
1. Author (who, when, and where wrote that book?)
2. Readers
3. Historic situation
You can find this information from the book itself, other books written at about the same time, and from Bible commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and study Bibles.

In the text that you study, you can find:
A. The context:
1. Who? (Who are the people mentioned or implied here?)
2. Where? (Where do the actions take place?)
3. When? (When do the actions take place?)
4. What? (What is going on here?)
5. Why? (Why did that happen?)
6. How? (How did the actions take place?)

B. The crucial words and expressions:
1. Words used several times
2. Other important words

C. The grammar structure:
1. Verbs - their tense and voice
2. Subject and object
3. Descriptive words - adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns
4. Conjunctions and prepositions

D. The literature structure:
1. Association ("and")
2. Comparison ("as")
3. Contrast ("but")
4. Repetition (the same words or phrases are used repetitively)
5. Alternation (two ideas alternate - for example, Luke, chapters 1,2)
6. Details (deduction; from the general idea to the details)
7. Summary (induction; from the details to the general idea)
8. Causation (from the cause to the consequence)
9. Substantiation (from the consequence to the cause)
10. Explanation
11. Illustration
12. Climax
13. Turning point
14. Introduction
15. Conclusion
16. Questions
17. Answers
18. Advice, warning, admonishment, promise

E. The literature form:
1. Discourse (Epistles)
2. Narration (Genesis through Ester, Gospels, Acts)
3. Parable (in Gospels and some Old Testament books)
4. Poetry (Psalms, Song of Songs)
5. Wisdom (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes)
6. Prophesy (the books of prophets in the Old Testament)
7. Apocalyptic (Revelation)

F. The literature atmosphere
1. Environment and emotions of the characters
2. Tone, mood, and emotions of the author

In conclusion, you can give a summary of observations. You can also try to define the main idea of the text (what was written?) and the author's purpose in writing it (why it was written?)

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