This article was originally published in August 2012 as I was preparing to teach another Precept Upon Precept Class. I have reformatted it a bit, but the points I made are the same. I hope it encourages you!
Each year, I see women (and some men) join our Inductive Bible study classes and exhibit excitement about the study, only to have them fall out somewhere about week 3. This puzzles me. As I have started to lead studies, it has become quite a burden on my heart. I desire that all believers would be lovers and doers of the Word, but I see lots of them fall by the wayside in their pursuit of God’s wisdom.
So, what’s the deal?
Time! Commitment! Mental Focus! Endless Busy Work!
These very things keep me interested and drive others away. So, I thought I would put some thoughts down about why I am drawn to the inductive Bible study method above all others.
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1. The focus of inductive study is the Word of God.
There is very little room in inductive study for opinion or speculation. God either said it explicitly in His Word or He didn’t. When you focus only on what sayeth the Lord, the wisdom of the world and other Christian leaders becomes less important. When you study inductively, you learn exactly what God said, where He said it, when He said it, and (in many cases) why He said it.
This helps the Bible student learn God’s wisdom and sort out and rid oneself of the popular (and sometimes false or misleading) ideas of the day, which may or may not be Biblical. I have learned from God’s Word some of what I have heard in pulpits in churches I thought were Bible-teaching, Bible-believing churches was actually the opinion of the man standing in the pulpit, not the accurate truth of the Word of God.
I study the Bible inductively to know for sure that what I know about God is from His mouth.
2. In inductive study, the teacher is the Holy Spirit.
I recently heard a sermon about the disciples on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection of our Lord (Luke 24:13-35). You know the scene:
Jesus starts walking with them and shows them, from the Scriptures, how this was all predicted, all part of the plan. The pastor said this was the best Bible study EVER! I don’t disagree with that point. He went on to encourage his flock that they too can have that kind of intimate fellowship and amazing Bible study each and every time they open their Bibles. I wholeheartedly agree!
Because Christ gave us the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit to (among other things) teach us as if Jesus Himself were in the room, we can have the most AMAZING Bible study EVER every day of our lives!! What an awesome privilege.
Sadly, when Christians do not study the Bible inductively, they fall prey to placing another man’s (or woman’s) opinions in the middle of the relationship. They go to and do Bible studies where someone else has had that amazing time with the Lord and then translates it to them.
I study the Bible inductively because it removes any of the props in my way and places me directly at the feet of my Lord; so I can learn directly from Him.
3. Inductive study requires my time and commitment.
Jesus said if I wish to be one of His worthy followers, I need to “take up my cross and follow [Him]” (Matthew 10:38). Later, He explained this is a daily commitment preceded by denial of self (Luke 9:23). So, why on earth would I complain about the hours I spend at His feet? Wasn’t that in the introductory pamphlet?
Each time He teaches me something new from His word, I thank Him for the time it took to discover it – for the work that went into learning it, knowing it is pure truth. Sure, I could get some of it from listening to sermons on Sunday, some from reading other Bible studies, but the exertion of my own mental faculties is in some small way a picture of my devotion to Him. It is the denial of other things (some good, some not so good) in view of the surpassing riches of knowing Jesus Christ.
I study the Bible inductively because it encourages me to spend quality time with my Lord, struggling through the (sometimes) hard truths of His Word.
4. Inductive study keeps me from sin.
The fact is: I sin less than I used to.
There, I said it for all the world to see!
This is true not because I have worked so hard to make sure I avoid temptation and sin. It is because God’s Word abides in me. Where the Word of God abides, there is a knock down, drag out struggle against sin. The Psalmist tells us over and over that the Word of God keeps us pure, blameless, righteous, and sinless. He prays that he would focus more on the ordinances, statutes, and commandments of God because they are what sustain him and keep him holy.
It is simple: if my focus is on what God would have me do, if He is my Counselor and His Word is my guide, I can’t go the wrong way.
I study the Bible inductively so I know the commands of God and I can attempt to please Him in all respects.
5. Inductive study is relationship-building.
It seems that the real reason I like inductive Bible study is because I like knowledge. I must be a nerd! Well, I am, in fact, a nerd. But I would like to think that if I were not already a nerd, I would have the same desire for knowledge of the truth of God. God wrote down His Word so that we could get a glimpse of His wisdom, of His knowledge; so we could KNOW Him.
I don’t know about you, but when I have a relationship with someone; I get to know him by spending time with him. Insight into who he is not gained by asking others about him. I get to know someone by asking him questions, watching his reactions to life, and having long discussions with him.
I study inductively because it imitates so closely the way I get to know others. It asks questions of God, sits down and discusses with Him the issues of the day, and seeks His answers to the problems of life. It removes all the barriers so I can focus on Him.
How do you study the Bible?
I am so thankful to the Lord for His Word. I am passionate about learning from Him about Him. And that is why I study the Bible inductively.
If you are interested in learning more about inductive Bible study, I would love to answer any questions you have. I also encourage you to jump right in and try it! Check out precept.org and get into a study near you.
Or if you would like to see what a class discussion looks like, you can check out or subscribe to my videos on YouTube. They are designed for my Bible study friends who are snow-birds who would like to keep up with class when they are away. You won’t find fancy videos here. They are simply class discussions. But I pray they would bless others!
Want to know more about Bible study?
Check out these articles:
- What is the Difference between Inductive and Deductive Study?Comparing Inductive and Deductive Bible Studies
- You DO Have Time for Bible Study!
- Your Guide to Getting Started with Inductive Bible Study for Kids
- Begin with Bible Study – Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Started
Oh, and I wrote a book about one of my very favorite Inductive Bible study practices – Biblical Word Study!
Interested in finding out more about my book and getting a FREE preview chapter? Fill out this form: