I had heard plenty of sermons telling me the importance of studying my Bible. I understood that. In my head, I knew that there was much to be gained by developing habits of study. I said, “yes and amen” at the end of those sermons, and made resolve to go home and study. It was then that the problems set in. The Bible was so boring – the senteces too long – the places obscure – the names unpronouncable! Even though I agreed with the sermon, the reality was that I didn’t know how to study.
Because I couln’t do it on my own, the alternative was to go to a Bible study. I wanted to be obedient, so I went to a lot of Bible studies! In each, the teacher would select a topic pertinent to her attendees then pull scriptures from various parts of the Bible to prove her point. She’d hand out homework, which consisted of lists of other Bible verses that also strengthened her point. Our assignment was to look up each of those scriptures, write them down, and hopefully understand the way in which they supported the teaching.
I spent years following that formula, advancing from position of attendee to teacher of my own Bible studies, all the while feeling that this wasn’t it – that there had to be more to Bible study than filling in blanks. What I wanted, what I felt God wanted for me, was a method or a plan of studying the whole Bible, not just random scattered verses. But, although years had passed, every time I tried to study on my own, the same old frustrations would be there – the Bible was still so boring – the sentences are still too long – the names still unpronouncable.
I continued to look for an answer, so attended a seminar at my church called, “How to Study Your Bible.” I paid the $25.00 (a huge sum at that time of my life) and sat through the seminar which described topical study, character study, book study, and themed study. I took copious notes. Nearing the end of the evening, the teacher said, “But the very best way to study your Bible is inductively.” I wanted to tear up my notes and begin again – if this is the very best way, why mention all the other ways? But instead of elaborating, he next said, “Well, thanks for coming! Drive safely!”
I was so frustrated! If that’s the best way, then it’s the way I want to study! He didn’t even explain what that word meant – I’m not even sure that I spelled it correctly in my notes! How could he leave me hanging like that?
So the same frustration and lack of direction continued for more years. One glimmer of hope came in a homeschool curriculum catalog. I was reading their description of effective Bible study tools. They mentioned commentaries, Bible dictionaries, archived sermons, and other helps. At the end of their article they wrote, “But of course, the best method of Bible study is to study inductively.” There was that word again! I eagerly turned the page to learn where to buy the inductive materials, only to learn that they’d moved on to math curricula! There were no more clues toward what that word meant! At least now I was sure how to spell it.
More years followed and nothing changed. I was still feeling that something was missing, attending or leading Bible studies, filling in blanks, pulling supporting scriptures from all over the Bible, and looking around for another mention of the word “inductively.”
I finally found it in a book called, “How to Study Your Bible Inductively” by Kay Arthur. What I learned in that book, in subsequent training seminars, in my own presentation of the method, and in my own studies, is what this blog is about. My goal is to help you learn to study. We’ll start right away and we’ll have fun doing it because studying inductively is a blast! I can’t wait for you to start!