What's The Big Deal About Inductive Bible Study?
I want to answer that question in two parts. First, why should we study the Bible? If you grew up in the church, it’s likely you’ve heard people tell you to “read the bible and pray everyday.”
Okay, but why?
Jesus summarized the entire Bible for us in John 5:39-40 in a heated discussion with the Pharisees:
“You [Pharisees] search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40 ESV)
These religious leaders were radically diligent to study and examine and memorize the Bible. But Jesus pointed out that they were missing the whole point: the entire Bible is about Jesus. Every law, every prophet, every miracle, every priest, every rescue from the enemy, every song of praise, every moment of judgement, every whisper of mercy was all pointing to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So with that information, I gain a little more insight into why I should study the Bible daily, right?
I should study the Bible to see Jesus. I read verse after verse to encounter Him, to watch His movements, to hear Him pray, to watch how He loves the outcast, to see how He deals with the proud, to observe His relationship with the Father, to become fully convinced of my desperate need for Him.
And this ripples into more areas than you would expect. If I am faithfully and accurately seeing Jesus, I will therefore see myself in light of the truth, I will see my world in light of the truth, I will see my future, my failures, my fears, and my hopes in light of the truth. Scripture gives clarity to life because it shows me where true life is found: in Jesus.
Many people, including myself, approach Scripture with an armload of questions in need of answers. I have come to Scripture with questions about difficult relationships, body image, my role in my marriage, overcoming fear, and countless other issues. And the answer to each one of those concerns is found in Jesus. Not in a “slap a Jesus sticker on it” kinda answer, but in my pausing to gaze into His character, His suffering, His triumph, His submission -- I find my answers. Reading the Bible to see Jesus isn’t a lazy goal. It’s the ultimate, more rewarding, journey one can take through these living pages.
Now … what about “inductive” Bible study? What does that word even mean?
Think about a situation in which someone is searching for the truth, like a crime scene. There is information flying at you from all directions, but you are careful to make sure of one thing: the sources. Rumors, assumptions, even gut-feelings aren’t enough. You’ve got to have information from the right sources, preferably eyewitnesses.
Inductive Bible study is a method of study that uses one main source: the Bible. It’s like using the first and only eyewitness to build your case.
Inductive Bible study doesn’t depend on commentaries or devotionals or a preacher or a teacher (not that it is wrong to use those resources occasionally). It is simply you and the Scriptures, allowing God Himself to teach you.
The result is getting the most accurate information about God because you went straight to the source: God Himself.
Reaching Her has wrapped its mission around the method of inductive Bible study because we’ve seen firsthand how God meets women right where they are and teaches them to read His Word on their own without relying on someone else to be the middleman. It’s powerful!
I’ve personally sat across the table from women of all ages as we walked through a passage of Scripture together using the inductive study method. Their reactions are almost always the same. About halfway through the passage, their eyes widen with joy. “This is incredible! I’ve never understood this much Scripture by myself! I thought this kind of study would be way too hard for me, but it’s simple and definitely worth it!”
These women are usually unleashed from intimidation and stirred to study even more Scripture on their own using these tools, because their knowledge of Jesus is now first-hand knowledge. They’ve become an eyewitness. I leave those experiences with a wide smile because it kindles both my love for Scripture and my commitment to this mission “to break down walls of intimidation between women and their Bibles…”
Our team here at Reaching Her is dedicated to helping you through each step of inductive Bible study by providing resources, encouragement, and simple study guides as we walk through the most important Book ever written.
Kaysie Strickland is definitely nothing fancy. Jesus found her in a mess and won her with His Words. She feels called to be a servant of the Word and His people through spending her life and words proclaiming the reckless restoration available in the gospel. She is married to her best friend on earth, drinks lots of coffee + tea, constantly rearranges the furniture in her house (God bless her husband), loves gardening and DIY projects, enjoys long conversations over coffee, and loves all the words. She and her husband are expecting their first little one in February 2016. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Blog