Inductive Bible Study Tips for Spiritual Growth
Do you ever find it difficult to set aside time to spend in God’s Word? Have you ever struggled in understanding the Bible and growing out of that knowledge?
It can be all too easy for us to talk about the importance of Bible study and applying the Word to our lives, but when it comes down to actually practicing those things, it can be daunting.
The Bible is not a small book. It is made of sixty-six books and letters, each with its own perspective, theme, and lessons. We simply cannot pick up a Bible and read it in one weekend, let alone understand all of the nuances of each passage without taking the time to do so thoughtfully and thoroughly.
Today, I’m going to share with you a method of Bible study that can aid you in understanding God’s Word better, as well as the significance of preparing holy ground before partaking in Bible reading or studying.
Preparing Holy Ground
What does it mean to prepare holy ground?
The word “holy” literally means “set apart.” For something to be holy, it must be set apart for the purpose of being used for God. In Exodus 3, two things occurred in preparation for Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush. First, God had set apart the particular place and time where He would reveal Himself to Moses. Second, Moses removed his sandals before stepping onto the ground which God had set apart.
Culturally, it was essential to remove sandals and even wash one’s feet when entering a home or place of worship. Walking was the primary mode of transportation, and the roads were quite dusty, causing a person’s feet to become quite dirty. People needed to remove their footwear to ensure the cleanliness of the place of worship or one’s home.
When we approach God and His Word, we should be doing so in a place and time set apart for the particular purpose of encountering Him. We also must prepare ourselves. Just as Moses removed his sandals before walking on to holy ground, we need to rid ourselves of anything in our minds and hearts that may distract us from truly being present with the Lord.
For meaningful Bible study, we must prepare ourselves by going to God in prayer and asking Him to cleanse our hearts and minds so we can invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us as we seek nourishment from God’s Word.
I encourage you to intentionally prepare by creating a safe space that is relaxing and pleasing. A space that allows you to be at your best. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and lead you as you read through God’s Word.
What is the Inductive Bible Study Method?
The Inductive Bible Study method involves three stages: observation, interpretation, and application.
Observation of the passage we are studying is where we begin. It is all about the details. Here is where we ask questions about the writing. We want to know who wrote the passage, who it was written to, and who it is about. What is the context of the passage? What was written before, and what came after it?
In this step, we will also look for themes or keywords in the scripture. Are there any comparisons being made or lists? How does it all connect? This is also where we look at how the text fits into the larger picture of the whole Bible. What does the rest of Scripture say about the topic? How does it fit into the Gospel and the story of the Bible? It is important to ask these questions to avoid taking God’s Word out of context.
Remember, the first step is observation. The objective is to answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how as you read through the scripture.
Interpretation is the next step in the process. In this step, as we spend time in observation, we begin to interpret God’s Word. We start to reflect on the meaning of the passage. A few questions to consider – What did the passage mean for the original audience? Is there significance to what was said in the context of the audience’s cultural background? What does it mean for us today?
I find the most growth in the interpretation step as I spend time in reflection, taking in the scripture, and listening for God to speak. Preparing holy ground is significant to our understanding of the scriptures since our interpretation flows from our observation and reflection of God’s Word.
Most important is that your understanding aligns with God’s Word, His Truth.
Application is the last step in the Inductive Bible Study Method. This is where we apply what the Bible says and what it means into action in our own lives. We live out the biblical truths we have learned.
As we observe and interpret, we will spend time seeking God and what we believe God is calling us to do. The application of the scripture may be the formation of an action step. You can use various resources for further clarification as to what you believe the Holy Spirit is saying to you. A helpful resource I use with my clients is the Listening Prayer by Beth Graf.
The Listening Prayer is a powerful coaching tool to help us discern if what we are hearing is from God. As we deepen our spiritual growth, it is essential to know that we hear God’s voice and not our own thoughts or someone else’s voice.
Receiving confirmation through the observation, interpretation, and application of God’s Word is life-changing. God may be calling us to step out in faith and serve in an unfamiliar area, or He may speak to us about a matter that is hindering our growth. The ultimate goal for inductive Bible study is to be transformed by God’s Word – the way, the truth, and the life.
Inductive Bible Study Method Recap
Create holy ground. Set aside a place and time to study and keep it sacred. Prepare your heart and mind, eliminating any thoughts or distractions that distract you from focusing your undivided attention on God.
Pray. Invite the holy spirit to fill you as you seek God’s Word and His Truth. Meditate on His Word.
Observe. Read the scripture and observe the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
Interpretation. Reflect on the meaning of the passage. Seek to understand what the scripture meant for the original audience and what it means for us today.
Application. Apply what the Bible says and take action steps to live out the biblical truths we have learned.
Inductive Christian Coaching
It is my prayer you find these tips useful for your Bible study and spiritual growth. If you seek deeper study, I offer an Inductive Christian Coaching program that applies the approach of Inductive Bible Study methodology to Christian Coaching.
As a Christian Life Coach, I combine life coaching with the power and transformation of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christian Coaching is moving people from where they are to where God wants them to be. Using the Inductive Coaching technique, we take a deeper dive into God’s Word to help you discover how God is calling you to apply His Word to your life.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV