As many of you know, Caleb and I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend our first year of marriage at a place called the Kanakuk Institute where we will dig into the Word and learn more about our Heavenly Father and what it looks like to truly love and pursue Him.
Although I was raised in a Christian home and have ‘known’ Jesus for as long as I can remember, I never understood what it looked like to read the Bible. If I am being honest with myself (and all of you), I actually dreaded it. The thought of picking up this book, which I thought was full of rules to live by and history, intimidated me. Where do you even start?
Well about 2 years ago the Lord captivated my heart and made me realize that this book is not at all a book of rules and history. This book is actually a love letter, written specifically to you and me. (While this in itself was such a blessing, it was not enough to give me a passion for the Word). But during this time I learned about Precepts.
For those of you who are like me and sometimes get overwhelmed with the idea of ‘studying’ your Bible you will love Precepts. I know I certainly need to be directed through the Word! This past week David Lawson, who works for Precept Ministries, came to our class to teach us how to study our Bible inductively. He began by describing 3 key components to Inductive Bible study.
During this first process you are to read over your selected text. (Our study begins in Genesis 12- don’t try to read too much at one time since during this type of study you will read the same text multiple times in one sitting). During this initial read write down any initial thoughts or observations. Take the time to ask the elementary questions of “who, what, when, where, why and how.” Also notice keywords/repeated words, time, location, etc. You may need to read the text a couple of times before you begin notice keywords. Yes, I am aware this takes a decent amount of time. But trust me- it is worth it!
Next you will read the same text again. This time break it down. What is God saying through this specific scripture? Again, you will probably have to read the text multiple times before moving on from this step. It is also important to cross-reference your current text with other text. Search common words to see where else they are found in the Bible and what is said of them. (I really like Bible Gateway and Biblos– notice the ‘cross reference’ column on the right side of this page).
David Lawson continuously emphasizes that inductive studies are meant to be done slowly. As I stated before, while you are reading you should begin to notice key words or words that tend to be repeated. Through Precepts we have been instructed to highlight repetitive words in unique ways. Below is a picture of some example words that they have given to us. Over time you begin to notice trends. When you find a trend, ask yourself what is being said about these keywords in each reference. Personally, I love this! No more reading the Bible, walking away and forgetting what you read. You now have a visual of what the keywords are and have spent the time to learn what the Lord is teaching you through it!
Not only will this help you learn what God is teaching you, but it will also help you to not misquote scripture. Because we live in a “Christian” society, we hear Bible verses being thrown around causally. Typically these verses say something along the lines of the Lord’s plans to bless us and keep you safe. But if you were to read the whole chapter you may come to the realization that not all of these promises are made to us. Many of these promises are made to specific individuals or specific groups of people. Many of us have heard Jeremiah 29:11 and have been comforted by its promises of prosperous plans and safety, but few realize that God is not speaking to us, but rather is speaking to the Israelites. It is imperative that we do not misquote the Bible.
So why is inductive Bible study important? Well according to John 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,”
so basically you are getting to learn about your Heavenly Father directly from the source. What better teacher can you get than that? While I love my pastor and listening to podcasts, what I really love is that I get to be taught from God himself!
I don’t know about you- but I’m stoked to dig into the Word and learn more!
(For more information or any questions comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)