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?