Inductive Bible Study: Putting It All Together!
As we have been studying the IBS method we have come to realize that we are basically doing three things: Observation, Interpretation, and Application of the Scripture. We had talked about having many steps in the process, but the key thing to remember when you are reviewing your passage is to find out the answers to the questions:
What does the passage say? (Read)
What does the passage mean? (Think)
What am I to do? (Live).
If you find the answer to these three questions you have got the method down!
Always begin your study with prayer; if the Holy Spirit is not a vital part of your study, you are not going to get it!
Observation has many smaller pieces to the process. When I mentioned to you as you study to highlight the passage’s with key words, and then creation of lists, (step 3 and 4) what you are basically doing is looking at Context (that which goes with the text.) The context is the surrounding verses, chapters, and books. Remember when I said earlier; get into the habit of reading the passages in groups of paragraphs, preferably chapters, and not just going right to the passage, and only reading that, this is why! It is critical for your understanding to lay down the foundation for accurate interpretation and correct application.
Look for obvious things, facts, details, ideas, especially repeated words. If you see a word repeated, God is placing a major emphasis to that thought, or idea. Pay attention! It is like putting a puzzle together, when you collect all the outside pieces first, you’re laying your foundation for the puzzle, same concept here; you would never start a puzzle from the inside out!
We talked about the 5 W and 1 H questions, to take it a step further, ask yourself the following questions.
Who is the audience, author or main characters>
What are the main events? What is the topic or instruction?
When was it written? When did this take place or when will it occur? The Biblical Audience of the setting in the book is crucial; go steps further do your own research about the times back then: the setting, the social-economic, geographical location, climate, culture etc. Find out all about the setting where they lived. Remember “they” may have been your ancestors, and we always want to know our family history!
Where did this event take place?
Why was this written? Why did he say that, go there, or respond that way?
How is this to be done or how did that happen?
Interpretation- WHAT does the passage mean?
Rule 1- Begin with Prayer
Rule 2- Remember your context rules (see prior paragraph for review)
Rule 3- Identify Key Words (this is your color/symbol exercise) Words repeated, topic or theme.
Rule 4- Seek the full teaching of God’s Word for every topic. A good example from a previous sheet I gave you is this, John 15:7 says, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”. Does that mean you can ask anything from God and He will deliver? NO! The Bible has much more to teach about prayer than just one verse, YOU have to find out what it is!
Rule 5: Interpret Scripture with other Scripture. The clear interprets the unclear, that what is said multiple times interprets that what is said once, and finally the NEW always interprets the Old!
Rule 6- Follow the literal sense, or as I say, “Go with the common sense”. The passage usually means what is obvious, not so much a “hidden” message. God is clear with His Words, and meaning, He says what He says, and means what He means!
Rule 7- Look for the authors intended meaning. This goes back to what I said earlier, “Remember the Biblical audience back then, why did he feel the need to write this? “ This falls in line with what I suggested earlier, get to know the history, culture etc… back then!
Rule 8- CHECK your work!!! Get in the habit of stopping to look up things, do not skip over!!! Use your concordance, Bible dictionary, commentaries, Bible foot notes that often refer to other Scripture. Write them down and look them up. I personally use E-sword on my computer; it has a lot of the resources that are listed here in one place!
Again ask the same 5 W and 1 H questions:
What is the full context? (Paragraph, chapter, book)
What are the key words, phrases, or themes?
What was the author’s purpose and intent?
What do other verses say on this topic? (Cross (references/parallel passages?)
What is the timeless truth? What can we still apply the same today as we could back then? What is your theological principle? Remember I said this means what is in the text that is applicable to all of God’s people at all Times? This principle because it has meaning and application to both biblical audiences of the past and present, it functions as a bridge “spanning the river.” (Grasping God’s Word by J. Scott Duvall, and J. Daniel Hays, 2nd edition).
Application: What am I to do?
- Discover what God’s Word says.
- Accept God’s Truth! The Bible is full of God’s teaching (doctrines.). Once we understand God’s Word, it is our responsibility to accept the truth and work it into our daily living! This is the whole process in a nutshell; apply it to your life!
- Be Specific! Application must be personal and measurable to each of our lives~!
- Practice what you know! Spiritual maturity is not measured by how much of God’s truth we know, but by how of God’s truth we live!!!
How does the meaning of the passage apply to me?
What truth(s) am I to embrace, believe, or order my life by?
What changes should I make in my belief, in my life?
How can I practice what I’ve learned in my daily life?
Pray for help with ….. Insert specific problem …. From God
Repent from…. Insert specific sin issue… and follow God’s Plan.
Closing, I have given you different study sheets, graphs, color codes, lists of connecting words, figures of speech charts, guides, books, sheets…etc…you get the point. These are all study helps for you to pull out the information to answer the following questions listed above.
The breakdown of the study is listed here, don’t get so consumed with the method of studying, (making the right lists, color coding the right word, key points in graphs, that you get bogged down with missing the study. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed with this, put all of that down, and re-read what I wrote above. If after you read the above and still don’t understand, contact me, and we will go over the method together.