Why should we Study the Bible in an Inductive Way?
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. Acts 17:11-12
Because we can gain so much more from His Word, precepts and call. Inductive Bible study is learning how to exegete the Bible for all its worth with our best efforts. We do this through teaching people the tools and skills to help observe the text, dig out the meaning, and then apply it to their lives.
Here are Some Definitions:
Exegesis simply means “to lead out” or “draw out” extracting objectively what a text is actually saying. In practice with the Bible, it is finding the true meaning of the passages of Scripture from its word meanings and context. It is a tool and a discipline which enables us to get more out of what we read, so we can see a text in its background and then gain the intended meaning, not what we want it to mean. As a tool, it is an examiner and a detective that interviews a passage in a comprehensive, extensive and serious manner. This will enable our better understanding of the Bible that helps us draw out more of the meaning for our personal understanding and spiritual growth. In this way we can better internalize a passage for our convection and explain it better to others too. In other words, I want to know Him and His Word, what He is saying to me.
Inductive simply means to use logic induction and reasoning by examining the particulars, facts and essence of a text first before making any conclusions. Thus, inductive Bible Study enhances the exegesis process by enabling us to read the Bible for all its impact, value and significance. In practice, we first examine the ideas and words of the text, then this leads us to the meanings and interpretations, and then we are led to the conclusions and applications. As we are interviewing a passage, we are also allowing His Word to intervene and interview us. And then we are to do this with reverence, respect and humility without our preconceptions or agendas. Thus, seeking what God is actually saying before we seek what a passage means. Then we can apply it to our life in a more effective and effectual manner. In other words, I want to know Christ and His Word better, to be convicted and impacted so I can line my life up to His.
Eisegesis or Isogesis simply means “to lead in” or “reading into the Scriptures” as in to introduce into the text our own presuppositions, ideas and thoughts while ignoring what is actually there to satisfy our own agendas and opinions. In practice, this is using our personal interpretation or agenda or presupposition, inserting or expressing ones own ideas, bias, seeking what we want it to mean rather than the actual intended meaning of the passage. This ignores the language, context and culture, leading us to incorrect conclusions, inconsistent understandings and also leads to heresies and false teachings. This method enables us to read into a text what is not there and draw out what God is not saying. Isogesis causes us to think this way: In other words, don’t confuse me with the facts; I have already made up my mind, I want to think my way and or lead my life my way not His Way.
We never ever want to do eisegesis to God’s most precious Word, that would be heinous at best, blasphemous at worst! The improper use of exegetical methodologies will skew our understanding of God and His precepts leading us to an improper life and false teachings. One should always seek the meaning from the actual original languages (and/or use multiple Bible translations and compare to other passages, do some research) and context and also what it meant to the intended audience then compare it to other passages to find the authentic meaning. This is proper “exegesis.” Never seek a meaning from modern vernaculars, theological agendas or hearsays¾because you will skew the intent that God has for us¾that is reading into the text what God is not saying to us!
Check out: Acts 17:11; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Timothy 2:15 and see how God wants us to study His Word!
You can do it!
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
Inductive Bible Study is not just for a pastor or Bible Study leader, it is for anyone who wants to know and grow in our Lord.
Some people view the Bible as an un-climbable mountain, a dark cave that is feared to be trespassed upon. Be encouraged, and be comforted, that you can indeed do it. Through the inductive method, you can climb that mountain and venture into the cave with confidence. In fact you will be able to mine the truths as an expert “exegete” does! The Bible is a diamond mine filled with precious nuggets that can be applied to your life, for a life to be transformed and renewed! As with any mine, you do have to start digging and we show you how to do this. The inductive method has been proven as the best way to find those diamonds, and the more you dig the more you will find!
Inductive Bible study has 3 primary areas:
First is Observation:
This is carefully going over the text to see what is going on, the “who, what, where, when, how, and why.” It is like training a missionary about the culture before venturing to their new country of ministry. If they are not trained of the culture and customs, they will miss a lot of opportunities, and their effectiveness will fall way short of what they could have done. This is done by teaching you how to pull out the facts through the nature of Scripture and how to avoid presumptions and fallacies, because God’s Word speaks for itself.
Second is Interpretation:
This is taking what is said and finding out what does the text mean. How to interpret literally in the correct context. That is we never take out of God’s Word what is not there, or read in our will as His.
Third is Application:
This is taking the plain meaning and putting it to practical use. This is the, ‘how shall I respond’ to the Word. What sin to get rid of, what commands to yield too, the pitfalls to avoid, the actions to engage in, and the promises we are to keep.
What are the other ways to study the Bible?
There are many ways to study the Bible and the best way is that you do it!
There are three common ways to study the Bible and all have their advantages and shortfalls.
First is the ‘Deductive Approach’: This is the common way of reading the Bible. The reader acts as a detective; which is good at first, as we all need to deduct what the Bible says. This form usually starts with a premise such as a topic or idea and then pulls out the relative ideas. This method can be done with a good heart seeking to start with a subject and then look for the corresponding Scriptures that are relevant to it. This can be a good tool for topic studies; however it can be dangerous too, leading to false conclusions because the context is usually left out. This deductive method tends to skip the key process that helps you organize what the text says in a logical manner. Thus you skip and miss a lot and do not get out of your Bible reading what you should. The danger is that when ideas are pulled out of their context, they result in theology, interpretation, and application that may not exist.
Second is the ‘Opinion Approach’: This form is the practice of “eisegesis” that uses the personality of the reader as the template to gathering the information from the text. That all that is read and studied is compared to their experience and education. The reader has the tendency to go to the text with firm preconceived ideas. The pitfall is even if you are a seminary grad and experienced pastor; you will miss a lot and get things wrong.
In the above approaches, the reader plows into the Bible without knowing how to do it. Like using a cookbook without understanding how to cook or what the measurements and ingredients mean. So your meal will be less than what may have been intended. Thus, the Bible reader becomes confused, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Of course there is always a benefit to just read the Bible. Our point is we can do it much better and gain more for our lives as His child.
Third is the ‘Inductive Method’: The Inductive approach looks at the whole text in its context and pulls out facts, interprets them, and then applies them. There are no pitfalls with this method as long as the ‘exegete’ is honest to the text.
So what is special and unique about your ministry?
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 2 Corinthians 2:13
We wholeheartedly believe and teach the ‘inductive Bible study method.’ What we do is teach it in such a way that you can draw out even more precious nuggets of life impacting information, by using interpretative tools, inductive questions and be aware of proven ways on how we learn and assimilate information. How God created us to absorb and learn, and applying that to better understand His Word. We combined this with the exegetical methods pastors learn in Seminary, thus gaining more comprehensive impacting meaningful edification in His Word. Our call is to produce the best way possible to teach others how to study the Bible and still keep it simple.
The inductive method of Observation, then Interpretation and then Application is a great way to study God’s Word. We teach, inspire, and encourage you further, the way the great exegetes and preachers do. Why are some people great at teaching and others not? Because the ones who are good at it, are good at digging out the Bible’s insights without compromising the integrity of the text. We teach you how to do this. This is all from a twenty year, on going, research project and study and from the interviewing of hundreds of excellent exegetes (people who study and teach the Bible with profound insights while staying true to the text such as R.C. Sproul, Francis Schaeffer and many, many more).
With ‘Into Thy Word,’ we have an 8-step process. At the heart, are the 3 steps of Observation, Interpretation, and Application. Our extra steps are not to be convoluted, but allow you to draw out even more. Because we capitalize on how our minds work, so you get more out of your experience in His Word. Because of the way our minds naturally work, we expanded the 3 step ‘Inductive’ process into 8 steps. This is done in a logical and systematic way. This is not adding irrelevant information, causing distraction, or making it convoluted, but rather making the process easier and more insightful.
Our unique process of ‘Into Thy Word’ allows each step to build upon the previous step in a logical and systematic way, which paves the way for the next step. So you learn more and are able to progress at your own level.
The first two steps are designed to prepare you to enter the relationship of Bible reading. Because you are going before a holy God, and you need to do it in a reverent way.
· STEP I: “KNOWING THE KNOWABLE:” BRINGING OUR MIND TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD!
This is about Prayer and Attitude, two essential factors that will enable you to excel if you do, or fail if you do not.
· STEP II: “HOW”: THE METHOD OF GETTING INTO GOD’S WORD
This step is showing you how to start, choosing your text, and how to go about it.
The next 5 steps are the inductive process of observing then learning, then applying it into your life.
· STEP III: “OBSERVE IT” ASK WHAT DOES IT SAY?!
This has to transpire so we can dig out what is there.
· STEP III (B): “OBSERVE IT” ASK WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Since we naturally interpret and jump to conclusions in our fallen human thinking, we just start the interpretation process, because you are going to do it anyway. We then place a ‘governor’ to slow you down, without sacrificing your enthusiasm and creativity, so we can do it right.
· STEP IV: “QUESTIONS”: ASK AND LEARN!
We then ask key essential questions to dig out more that we may have missed.
· STEP V: “KNOW IT”!
Then we can really start to make sense and internalize the implications and truth, so it effects who we are at the very ‘existential’ core of our being. This needs to take place before we can apply it. Because we need to be the people of God in order to do the work of God.
· STEP VI: “APPLICATION”!
Then we can apply it. We take a careful look on how we can do this with honesty and forethought. And then take on the responsibility to reciprocate, that is telling others!
The last step is taking the previous steps and writing it down for lasting remembrance and commitment.
· STEP VII: “CHARTING YOUR PATH”
This is so we can keep track what we learn as you progress. You can use this step throughout the inductive process.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10
© 1979, 1989 Dr. Richard Krejcir, Into Thy Word www.intothyword.org