I had read and studied my bible for years and knew “the church answers”, yet I lacked a desire to share my faith and the confidence to defend it, if questioned. Then several years ago I started studying the bible inductively. This simple three step approach (see other resources for inductive study steps explained) allows me to study through a book at my own pace, following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Now when I finish studying a book or sometimes even a chapter, I can’t wait to tell someone about what I have learned. Often my husband and I will spend Saturday mornings sitting at the kitchen table with blibles open as we study the word of God together. Yes, studying the bible inductively has been life changing!
Below are a few tips I have learned to help you stay in the word and enjoy the life changing benefits of it.
1. pray through
We need to continually pray through our study time. Asking for God’s help and the Spirt’s leading to teach us. Our goal is not to gain knowledge of the bible but to deepen our relationship with the author!
2. schedule in
As with any relationship, we need to schedule time to talk with and listen to God. It works best for me to have my quiet time in the mornings. If I get busy with the day before sitting down with the bible I seldom do.
Writing lists, summaries or questions I have help me to better understand and remember what the text is saying. I use a simple compostion notebook as my study journal.
Marking repeated words in a paragraph, helps me to recognize the theme of the passage. The marking slows me down, keeps my mind engaged and I am better able to understand what I have read.
5. look around
When come to a verse or even a word I don’t understand, I look up cross-references. It is not unusual for me to spend several minutes flipping back and forth in the bible, reading cross-references and jotting down notes. If I still have questions, then I will turn to a bible dictionary or commentary.
6. think about
Meditating is the best way I have found to remember and live out the truths of the bible. Throughout the day, I will prayerfully think about a particular verse, biblical principle or instruction I have learned, asking God to show me what I need to do in light of this truth.