Inductive Bible Study
STUDY THE SCRIPTURES
How To Study A Book Through Inductive Chapter Analysis
The Study the Scriptures study is flexible and designed to meet the
needs of a wide variety of people with varying abilities and opportunities for
study. An entire chapter, a portion of a chapter, or a single verse may be
studied at one time.
Men will group together once a week for one hour of study. I'd suggest you meet
with men, when possible, before they go to work at a central location or at the
church. Women find an hour and a half better for their discussion. Depending on
the length of the passage, it could take from 30 minutes to two hours to
complete the inductive Bible study. For morning study time, the group has a pot
of coffee, and buys donuts or muffins to eat
we share our studies together.
The leader keeps the group on time, where all four sections are covered. Also,
the leader will select those questions that are most important to discuss, and
referee and return any discussion that might be out of focus with the passage.
The leader points all questions back to the Bible for their answer, or assigns
a volunteer to look up the answer for the next week.
Some 50 minutes should be taken up with answers by group members to the four
questions. Then the final 10 minutes is for group prayer. Always stop after the
hour. Allow those who need to go to work or to leave, to do so, and discuss
informally with any who want to stay briefly.
Before leaving, each person writes on a slip of paper their name and phone
number. These are handed to a person on your left or right. They will begin
praying for you the next week, call you on the phone to see how you're
progressing in doing the new lesson. Have prayer together on the phone. We
encourage accountability through the telephone call. Our goal is that everyone
will have done the study during the week. Or, if the person you call is having
problems, offer to meet them to help them complete the Bible study lesson.
If someone comes without doing their written study, they are welcome to attend,
but not to speak about the lesson. Only those who have completed a section of
the study, may discuss the study.
Use the following four easy steps for your study. You may desire blank paper
for taking notes and/or for an outline. You may also desire to print a copy
of our study form, Bible Study for Growing Disciples.
First, What Does It Say?
This is to be a summary of the passage and also, using your own words, a
paraphrase. We ask a number of those present to volunteer to read their
summary-paraphrase to the group and share their word count, written on their
front page. This might take 5-10 minutes of group discussion time.
A summary is, as the word suggests, a brief rèsumè of the chapter.
Care should be taken to include all parts of the chapter in proper balance, not
giving too much space to one part and overlooking another. It should include
all the important points and must be briefly, yet clearly, stated in your own
One way is to summarize each paragraph of the chapter, using synonyms for the
words of the text and making the summary as long as necessary to be complete.
Summarize by thoughts or paragraphs, not by each verse. Then go through the
summary and condense it into fewer words bringing it down to an average of
eight to ten words per verse. Add your total words at the end (for instance, 20
verses x 10 = 200 the maximum number of words in your summary.)
If you do an outline, divide the chapter into natural divisions of paragraphs,
giving a brief title or heading to each one and noting the verses each
includes. List as many subpoints under each of these main headings as are
needed to define its contents. Do not give too much space to one part of the
chapter or portion and overlook another part. All important points should be
Second, What Does It Say I Don't Understand?
List the verse number, then make up a question for each verse in the passage.
You may ask more than one question per verse. When the group meets, some 15-20
minutes of the 50 minutes discussion time could be taken to pick out questions
and discuss. We have
we need answers for that are not immediately available in the passage. Also we
anticipate the questions of others and write out
for problem areas of the text we know others may not understand. The leader of
the group will warn you as a passage is assigned: If you don't list a question
for a verse, then you may be asked to answer any question another person has
about that verse.
Third, What Does It Say To Me?
I'm asking the Lord to show me ONE application from the passage for my life
this week. It must be specific enough to be checked by my spouse, a friend, or
myself. An application is too general that says, I need to witness more,
study the Bible more, pray more, etc. How much more, when, about what?
Then I use these three steps to narrow down what God is saying:
Application should be private, personal, but checkable by yourself or a
friend. No one MUST share what they have written; it should be personal.
However, we can generally share how God spoke to us; sometimes we can read our
application to the group. The leader of the group should be helpful in
encouraging group members to be specific enough to share with a friend their
application. This is the most important part of the study. All the study is
really to do is move from the Book into our life and make the Word our flesh.
This sharing might take 10-15 minutes of group time.
What is God saying to me from this passage this week, that I need in my life?
List where I have not applied a truth from the passage. Where have I stumbled,
came up short, discovered a new truth to learn, or something to stop, change,
or begin (see
2 Timothy 3:16
Specifically state what God is leading me to do to get this truth into my
life this new week. For example, I might say I am weak in my devotions. Last
week I spent less than 10 minutes a day in Bible study and prayer. This week I
will spend 25 minutes a day for all seven days of this week.
Fourth, What Does It Say In Other Places?
The most challenging part of the study for many is getting cross references for
each verse. Some people have few verses memorized, or know little of the Bible.
Cross references help us illuminate any passage of the Bible. The Bible is its
own best commentary. Precept upon precept, line upon line . . . Many
Bibles have center column references to a word or idea from a verse. These may
be used. However, the best cross reference is one that parallels the verse's
heart, giving you the truth of the verse but in
book of the Bible. Our goal is to have a cross reference from
book of the Bible for each verse studied. It will say the same truth or
illuminate the truth of the verse through the life of a person in the Bible.
This could take 10-15 minutes of group discussion time. Record your choices of
cross references for your own study and for discussion with the group. They can
be entered either on a separate piece of paper or on our convenient study form
We have a handy form for your use in this study. You can print a copy of
Bible Study for Growing Disciples by going to it
As you fill in your form, in the Title of the passage, you will, in a sentence,
give color and meaning to the passage you've been studying this week. Write a
brief title after you've done the whole study. I suggest something eye catching and
current that would make a person reading your study want to hear a study or message about it.
The Best Verse is the one you would memorize, a favorite truth from the
The Basic Verse is the verse that summarizes the passage, the doctrinal verse
that has the essence of the truth of the passage.
At the end of the form, in the column marked Reference, put the
book, chapter and verse of the cross reference you found. In the column to the
right put down the key thought or idea of the verse that makes it a good cross
reference. This enables you to refer quickly to all your passages. Use extra
paper if necessary to complete any of the steps.