In this episode of the YWAM Teaching Podcast Pete Sutherland and Todd McCormick introduce us to the inductive bible study method used by the Youth With a Mission School of Biblical Studies.
The goal of inductive Bible study is to be taught by the Word, letting it guide us into truth. In the inductive method, we want to allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher as we let our conclusions evolve from what we observe. We do not want to approach the Scriptures with a thesis in hand that we attempt to support by searching its pages (which is a deductive approach). Therefore, preconceived ideas (beliefs that we have come to accept from sources outside of the Word) must be laid aside as they may blur our vision from seeing what the Bible may really be saying. In this way, we become listeners of the Scriptures rather than dictators to them.
This teaching originally appeared on the YWAM Turner Valley web-site.
The inductive method of Bible study (in contrast to the deductive approach of approaching the text with pre-drawn conclusions) is outlined as follows:
- Pray, the Holy Spirit is your teacher
- Independent – no helps (commentaries are great…but they may keep us from letting the Bible speak to us)
- Let the text speak for itself
- Let your conclusions evolve out of what you have observed:
- Lay aside your preconceived ideas and let the Bible speak for itself
- Try to be impartial
- Become a listener and hearer of the Scriptures. A thorough examination of the content becomes the basis for one’s conclusions
The 3 basic steps of inductive Bible study are:
- Observation: What does the text say?
- Interpretation (exegesis): What did it mean to the original hearers and original readers?
- Application (hermeneutics): How does the truth of this book apply to my life in the 21st century?
These three steps should be done in consecutive order. Observation should be done first, followed by interpretation and ending with application. Thorough observation leads to good interpretation and good interpretation leads into life-changing application.