In Part 1 of this series, I introduced the topic of inductive Bible study and some helpful resources, including a Chart and a Cheat Sheet. In Part 2, I want to delve farther into the subject by sharing seven steps offered by Richard Krejcir in an article entitled Why Inductive Bible Study?
Krejcir calls his inductive Bible study process, “Into Thy Word.” He says, “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.” The last five steps are the basics of the inductive process of observing, learning, and applying. Here are the seven steps of his process (in all capitals) followed by my commentary:
- KNOWING THE KNOWABLE: BRINGING OUR MIND TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD. All Bible study, personal and corporate, should begin with prayer. We should desire to get ourselves right with God. We should ask for forgiveness of sin in our lives. We should seek His help to remove all barriers to being able to listen to Him fully and clearly. We should enter into His presence with the right attitude, one of reverence and anticipation. We should listen and be open.
- HOW: THE METHOD OF GETTING INTO GOD’S WORD. As Krejcir put it, “This step is showing you how to start, choosing your text, and how to go about it.” It is important for a balanced approach to Bible study to have a reading/study plan. Balance between Old and New Testaments. In advance, choose where you will start and how you will continue to move through God’s Word.
- OBSERVE AND INTERPRET IT: ASK “WHAT DOES IT SAY?” AND “WHAT DOES IT MEAN?“ What does it say comes first. Read. Listen. Seek to understand the context. What was going on? I like Krejcir’s suggestion: Read a whole book at least three times in an easy-to-read translation. Then, read each chapter you are studying in a good translation at least three times. Then, read the verses, verse-by-verse in order.” Read carefully. Seek to understand what it means. What truth was being communicated to the original hearers? What does it mean for you? Don’t jump to conclusions. Krejcir said, “We must be willing to be taught and be teachable even change our presupposing ideas to face and apply God’s clear revelation.”
- QUESTIONS: ASK AND LEARN. Ask newspaper article questions: who, what, when, where, how, and why. Investigate the context. What is going on with the people? What impact does the setting have? What is important about the customs? What is the meaning of the words. Key questions are included in the materials by Krejcir.
- KNOW IT. In the words of Krejcir, “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.” Spend time in the text. Get to know it. More important, get to know Him! What is He saying? What does He mean?
- APPLICATION. This ranges from understanding what God wants us to do as a result of the encounter with Him in His Word all the way to committing ourselves to respond obediently. I like Krejcir’s suggestion: “The last step is taking the previous steps and writing it down for lasting remembrance and commitment.” Writing it down formalizes it. When we hesitate to do so, it is as if we are telling God that we are not sure we want to obey. Make a commitment you are serious about. Then use your written document to hold yourself accountable to keep your commitment.
- CHARTING YOUR PATH. This step continues application by moving you to set goals and action plans for carrying out the written commitment you have made. Krejcir encourages the use of the Chart that I shared last time (look it over). Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound) goals, and then plan action steps for carrying out the goals. Regularly check on your progress. Share it with a friend who will hold you accountable. Be serious about applying God’s Word in your life!
Wow! At first, these steps will take a lot of time, but it will become easier and faster after you have become more familiar with the process. Which of the seven steps is most lacking in your Bible study process? What could you do to strengthen that step? In Part 3, we will take a final, fresh look at the inductive Bible study process. Take steps toward incorporating the inductive process into your regular practice. Meet God. Spend time in His Word. Ask questions. Apply His truth. Live for Him. Be revolutionary!