Inductive Bible Study & The WORDview Quiet Time

Inductive Bible Study & The WORDview Quiet Time

Author: Dr. Guy Jackson
June 21, 2020

One of the unique characteristics of the WORDview Quiet Time is that it is based upon the historic, proven method of Inductive Bible Study. Successful Bible students, communicators and ministries have used this method for centuries to correctly study, understand and apply God’s Word. It is proven to be effective and is modeled for our use in the Bible itself (Neh. 8:8; Rev. 1:3; Acts 17:11; Luke 24:27).

What is Inductive Bible Study? It is an objective, impartial method of studying a Bible passage with the goal of determining the original writer’s or speaker’s intended meaning for the original audience. This requires that we come to the passage with an honest, objective, impartial approach to first examine the specifics and then reach a conclusion. One guideline is, “A passage cannot mean today what it did not first mean originally.” Our goal is to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), meaning to “accurately interpret and apply” the intended meaning to the original audience and, thus for us today also.

This is sometimes called “exegesis” which means, “to draw out” the intended, natural, original meaning instead of superimposing an artificial meaning upon it.

Inductive Bible Study is comprised of three steps:

The first step of Inductive Bible Study is Observation-“What does the passage say (and not say)?”

Here we take on the role of Investigator. We must investigate the passage thoughtfully and carefully to make sure we know what the text actually says, before we can determine what it means. As we do this we are looking for “what is this about, and what is it saying about that?”

An example of this would be the oft-misquoted statement, “Well, the Bible says money is the root of all evil!” This is a misquote of 1 Tim. 6:10. The passage does not say that. It actually says, “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil” (NASB). There is a huge difference between those two statements and thus could lead to a misinterpretation and misapplication of its intended purpose! And in this case we can see that the passage is about greed and how it can lead to all kinds of sinful acts. We must be very exact in knowing what the passage actually says.

In the WORDview Quiet Time this is the “READ Step.” Read the passage carefully, thoughtfully in several different translations, comparing how the different versions render the same verses. Make note of differences and similarities. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the passage and its content.

As you are reading look for “what does the passage actually say? What is it talking about and what is it saying about that?” And just as a good investigator makes notes of their observations, you should also, underlining, highlighting, and jotting down insights and discoveries in your Bible or journal as you read.

The second step of Inductive Bible Study is: Interpretation-“What does the passage mean?”

The second step of Inductive Bible Study is to determine what it means by what it says. Here we take on the role of Interpreter. Our goal is to understand and interpret; to explain in our own words the intended meaning of the passage, first to the original audience and then to one’s self.

This is the “REFLECT Step”of the WORDview Quiet Time where we write down in our own words a shortened summary of what the passage says and means in the form of “What God said to me through this passage.” As we read the passage, three or four times, in three or four different translations, moving from a literal word-for-word, to a thought-for-thought, and then to a paraphrased version, the meaning begins to unfold. We are reflecting and meditating upon the text. But the meaning becomes clearest when we summarize the whole passage in our own words. This is a form of interpreting. A good rule here is, “Until you can summarize it in your own words, you don’t really understand the meaning of the passage.” This is why journaling your understanding is so important.

The third step of Inductive Bible Study is: Application- “What does it require of me?”

Here we take on the role of Implementer. Now that I know what it says and what it means, I must determine what must I do about it? James 1:22 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” As we come to the step of application we are looking for a principle (rule, standard, guideline) of truth we can live by. This is the very reason God gave us His written word (See 1 Cor. 10:6-12; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 9:10; Rom. 4:18-25; 2 Pet. 2:6; Gal. 4:22-31).

This is the “RESPOND Step” of the WORDview Quiet Time. Ask and answer the question of, “How does this apply to me, personally… specifically?” Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you something you need to change or apply in your life. Be sure to make it: 1) Personal- something I can do…; 2) Possible- something I can do…; 3) Practical- something I can do…; 4) Provable- something that is measurable, observable.

One helpful tool at this point is the “The S.P.A.C.E. Questions: Give God SPACE to Work in Your Life.” At this step, ask the following questions: In this passage, do I see a…

S- Sin to forsake?
P- Promise to claim?
A- Attitude to change?
C- Command to obey?
E- Example to follow?

Write your Response Application in a sentence or two and be ready to pray it back to the Lord in the final “REQUEST Step” of your quiet time.

The WORDview Quiet Time, built upon the proven, biblical Inductive Bible Study method, is a powerful tool for spending time daily with the Lord. It will build your biblical knowledge and nourish your spiritual growth as you feed upon His Word. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” 1 Pet. 2:2

Comments or questions regarding this article? Join the conversation here!