Have you ever read a passage from Scripture, gone away and 10 minutes later completely forgotten what you read? I think we have all been there at some point, haven’t we?
This often happens because of the approach in which we read the Bible. We cannot expect to quickly read or skim through a passage of Scripture, walk away and be filled with all this new wisdom and understanding of the Bible. The Word of God is living and very powerful, but that does not mean that God sprinkles magic down on our brains to understand a portion of Scripture we barely took the time to read. No, when we read His Word, God desires for us to engage our minds as eager learners. And that is why our approach in studying and reading the Scriptures is so vital.
One of the most helpful ways to keep my mind focused and active when I read the Bible is through inductive study.
What is inductive study?
Inductive study is a helpful tool in apprehending and applying the Word of God in our lives. Inductive study is composed of three essential components: observation, interpretation, and application.
Let us take a look at what each part consists of.
Observation: Observation involves reading a passage of scripture and then observing what is happening in. To help with this step, ask and write down questions like; what is happening in this passage, who is speaking, are there commands, what are the attributes of God, context, historical background etc.
Interpretation: Interpretation then takes observation to the next step and explains the meaning behind the passage. In this part of inductive study, ask questions like; what does this mean or what is God teaching in this passage?
Application: Application is the last part of inductive study and arguably the most important one. This part helps us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. To find the application of a passage, ask questions such as; how does this apply to my life, how can I live this out today, what action steps can I take to live this out in my daily life this week, etc.?
Here are some other tips that I found helpful while doing inductive study:
- Eliminate distractions. Find a quiet place to do your study, turn off your phone and put your full focus on the Word.
- Pray before you begin. Pray that God would teach you from His Word and that your mind and heart would be open to His wisdom.
- Have a journal to write down observations, applications and verses,
- Always have highlighters! Highlight key words, attributes of God, encouraging phrases etc.
- Read and reread. Make sure you are truly soaking up the passage that you are reading.
Sometimes life does present limited time to read God’s Word. But if our priority is to be students of the Scriptures, we should make time to do more than just read the Bible in a quick 10 minute session. Rather we should engage our minds through making observations, finding the interpretation and knowing what the application is. God promises that His Word will not return void, and He will bless our efforts as we strive to better understand and know His Word in a deeper way.
Written by National Bible Bee Alumna: Bekah Leary