Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Inductive Bible Study

If you read the post below entitled "Write it Out," then you have gotten the first step down already in doing an inductive Bible study. As I said before, our friend Kevin taught us how to do this a few years back - we've done it in a few Bible classes since...I've done it on my own...and Jeremy and I have done a few studies together, too. It's super great for any situation, I think.

Here's what you do. Wait, first of all, I would recommend purchasing a notebook to keep all of these studies in one place. Dedicated for Bible study. And don't get a tiny one either - you need a lot of room to write...enough to make at least two columns, side by side. I would also recommend a spiral-bound notebook because things are just easier that way. =) Now, if you're sitting there without the luxury of a notebook beside you, don't despair, though. Try it on a plain piece of paper and then staple your study into your notebook later. Don't let perfection stop you from starting.

This is how Kevin first taught us. Everything was on one page. I tend to write kinda big, though, and I don't do terribly well on unlined paper, so the notebook idea was perfect for me.

Alright, now find a section of verses you want to study. It can be five verses or it can be a whole chapter. Let me warn you, though - if you pick a whole chapter and it's pretty long, well, you'll be writing for awhile. Might feel like you're back in school. So I suggest starting out with a smaller bite and going from there.

Open your notebook and begin by drawing a (somewhat) straight line down the center of the page. On the left side you are going to copy, word for word, your actual Bible text. Think about what you're writing. Don't write fast and sloppy, like you can't wait to get it finished. You want to be able to focus on what you're doing. And you want to be able to read it again.

On the right side of the page, you are going to write, in your own words, what the Bible text says. Sometimes it's a little difficult to paraphrase something, but just do your best. It gets easier. Also, if you get stuck on something, (as in, you're not sure if you understand the text - and therefore, have a problem with the paraphrasing part) I find it good to make a little question mark or a star beside your paraphrase. It's something you can go back and look up later.

After you finish the whole section of text-copying and subsequent paraphrasing, go back and make notes on what YOU can take out of this passage. Maybe you realize something that you need to change about yourself. Something that you need to add to your thought processes when making a decision. Maybe you need to rearrange your brain cells, as my Grandaddy would say. Here's also where you can make notes or jot questions about a particular passage/paraphrase. Or just some thoughts in general. It doesn't have to be extremely structured...just focus on the general themes from the verse and go from there.

If you're doing this Bible study in a group setting, it's great to hear others' rewording of the text. Obviously, no one will have the exact same paraphrase; it's entirely possible that someone else's thoughts may clear up a question you had in your mind.

And that's it! It's incredibly simple but super effective. Try it and see.

Every once in awhile, I plan to throw a challenge at you. Maybe at the beginning of a week I may send out a passage for you to complete an inductive Bible study on. And we can convene at the end of the week to look at the results. Interested?


Becky Welch said...

I like it - esp. the challenge!!!! Bring it on! I think it would be great - you could do a hop - where everyone posts their study on their blog (and let's you know if they are participating). On this blog would be a list of all who are participating!!! Just an idea - that may be a lot of work - you could have them link up somehow to yours instead - there is a way to do that, just have not figured that out yet!

April said...

I'm interested!

Kristen said...

Becky - that's a great idea! Love that! Yes, let's do it. I can have a list of those participating in the end-of-the-week post. And they can also link back to the first post. Excellent.

Moments to Memories said...

This is a great idea! I except the challenge! I've enjoyed following you and your some ways it's like reconnecting with my past and good old Henderson. I really miss that place. Can't wait to get started. May God bless you as you are blessing me thru your blogs.

Kevin said...

Love the post! I am so glad that you are teaching others this easy method. I would also love to take part in the weekly study if you get it going. Here is something new you can also do when you are studying.
It is called the S.P.E.C.K. approach. Each letter represents a question you can ask yourself or a group about the verses you are studying.

Sin—Is there a Sin identified in this text that I need to confess or avoid.
Prayer/Praise/Promise—Is there a Prayer I should pray? A Praise I should give? Or a Promise I should claim?
Example—Is there an Example in this passage I should imitate?
Command—Is there a Command I should put into practice?
Knowledge—Is there Knowledge here that I need to learn?

Keep up the great blogging.

Kimberly Washer said...

I'm completely accept this challenge!! I love this idea! Becky, I'll do a special blog just for you to show how to link things together!!

The Hart Family said...

I love this idea too! I am in! I have been wanting a way to look deeper at my Bible Study...and I think this is it. I love the idea of encouraging each other through our Bible Study as well. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I've noticed I have to go back to a more literal translation for this. I love using The Message for my devotional reading, but it's already somewhat paraphrased so that "putting it in my own words" is a little redundant. Maybe this is a good place to use multiple translations and come up with a personal paraphrase combining all of them--or taking the greatest common denominator.

Kristen said...

Anonymous - yes, I agree about some versions already being "paraphrased." And yes, I think it's good to study multiple translations - I like your idea of coming up with a paraphrase that combines several versions. Sometimes, though, even if something is stated very clearly, it still helps to put it in your own words. How would you say such-and-such? Just to help yourself think it through...

Thanks for the comment!