Anyone can read the Bible, but it’s another thing altogether to read it for all it’s worth. To get the most out of the study of God’s Word, one must utilize a method that ensures integrity in the interpretative process. Such a method would allow the reader to come away from the text with an objective appraisal of the Scripture, and be able to apply the truth gleaned to one’s life. To that end, many Bible scholars and teachers prefer the Inductive Bible Study method. Inductive Study follows a three step process of 1) Observation, 2) Interpretation, and 3) Application. One writer has noted that the Inductive Bible Study method “involves a careful scrutiny of every word of a particular text—combing through, making observations via repeated readings, and ultimately discovering how to apply what the text says in a practical way that changes one's thinking so that it lines up with God's Word” (Tennant, 2010). In the end, the Inductive Study method aids the reader to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, King James Version), to avoid the pitfalls of improper interpretation, and to apply what is learned to everyday life.
Following the Inductive Study method will help the reader to draw from the text the meaning contained within the text, a process known as exegesis. A breakdown in the process inevitably leads to reading into the text a meaning not contained by the text, which is known as eisegesis. Proper exegesis allows the Word of God to speak for itself, and to produce for the diligent student of the Bible the meaning intended by the writer (and Author) in its proper context. The process begins with observation. OBSERVATION
The first step in the Inductive Bible Study approach is Observation; that is, looking at the text and asking, “What does it say?” Learning how to read is essential to answering that question. In their book, “Living By the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible,” authors Howard and William Hendricks propose...
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