It may sound like a complicated thing, something that pastors and stuffy professors do to study their Bibles. But Inductive Bible study is actually very simple and easy to learn.
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It was an accident when I stumbled on Inductive Bible Study a little over a year ago. I was trying to decide what kind of Bible to replace my old one with, and happened to see this one on Amazon.
I wish I could say that the second I saw it and researched it I knew it would take me to deeper study of God’s truth. Instead it had a cute cover, was the right version (I wanted ESV), and was on sale.
I love me a good sale.
Fast forward to when I got my hands on my new Bible in the mail. I have never been so excited to get into Bible study.
I loved the format, as well as the easy to use method of looking into scripture. I feel like it helps me to focus on each passage, even ones that are super familiar or obscure and easy to overlook.
What is Inductive Bible Study?
Basically Inductive Bible Study is taking extra care in examining the scripture, finding its meaning, and applying it to your life.
One thing I love is that you absolutely do not need to run out and buy a new Bible to be able to do this.
Don’t get me wrong I love my Inductive Bible Study Bible. But this is definitely the way I will always study the Bible, whether I have this exact version after this one wears out or not.
My favorite thing about this Bible (which is also a bit of a drawback) is that all the chapter headings are blank.
You should fill out what you think would be a good chapter heading for each chapter as you read through.
The reason this is a drawback is that each chapter is a full chunk of text. So for example, Luke has some 70 plus verse chapters. You have to fill in your heading for the whole chapter that tells several different events.
I add extra mini headings in the margins of my chapters. This helps, when I want to divide the chapter because there is more than one story.
This forces me to think about the story line of the book and title each chapter with the most important part of the chapter.
Time to mark it up!
If you have seen the marking system that goes along with the Inductive Study Bible, it is overwhelming. You might feel ready to throw up your hands and go back to your three-pack of highlighters right then and there.
Holy million marking symbols Batman!
But wait! It’s not as complicated as it looks, I promise. Think about the different books of the Bible, there are so many different styles.
Psalm reads completely different from Genesis and from Matthew.
Read the introduction to the book and think about what the themes and key words of that book might be.
In Psalm I mark words like prayer, and cry. Many chapters have a theme of water or thirst. In Mark, I am going to note times when Jesus demonstrates his authority. I look out for mentions of the kingdom of God, or fulfilling a part of the covenant.
You can keep a running list in a notebook of what markings you use. That way you are consistent throughout the Bible. Keep your note cards as a bookmark, and then pull it out each time you read through a book. Write out the key words for the specific book you are studying on your note card and use it as a bookmark
You can add insights and main themes on the back of the card. Mark new words that you might have missed the first time you read through it.
Now that you know the mechanics of the study, let’s dig in. I like to start by praying that God would give me wisdom to understand his word.
Each passage that I read I want to ask myself the 5 W’s and H. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I read through the chapter and mark the key words, note events in the margins.
Sometimes I number points in the margins. Then I take a moment and think about it. I almost always end up reading the chapter a second time through. This time thinking only about what the theme of the chapter is to fill in the section heading.
If you have a Bible with the headings already filled in, don’t worry. Use a notebook so you can write what you think would be a good heading for the whole chapter.
This is also a prayerful thing, really pray over what the chapter is saying and how it applies to your life. See more about how I use this in my quiet time here.
As with any Bible study, the whole point is to know God better and to let him change you!