Inductive Study: Observe.   Interpret.   Apply

Observe details to find the meaning the author intended for the original readers.  Other metaphors for observing are going on a Treasure Hunt, be like Sherlock Holmes, Fishing, Using a Net, Diving into the Pool, Newspaper Reporting, Digging.

Interpretation and application come after harder work has been done. You cannot not jump to conclusions.  PRAY for the Holy Spirit to lead you.  Ask Him to show you what you need to notice.  You are building Skills that take practice.

I. Observe:


Who is the author of the book?

Why did he write it?

Who was his audience?

What was happening in his world when he wrote it?

How does it fit into the larger contest of the Bible?

Read the passage; read it in a different version, read it aloud and highlight. Listen to it in a Bible app

 Ask questions: Who, what, when, how (why is part of interpretation)

Ask specific questions: Who was this person? Who were these people? When did this happen? What does it mean to____? Why would God include this in His Word? Note answers as you go along. Some answer will become clearer as you progress.

What took place before and after the passage.

Notice repeated and unfamiliar words
Watch places and mark on a map

Doodle a favorite verse…

Word Study

Different parts of the Bible can aid understanding.  Look up cross references and definitions.

A. How to do Greek (Richer than English)Word Study: (can on phone or computer)

                        1. Identify two-four key words
                        2. Type in John 1:1 interlinear
                        3. Click on the number above the word you want to study.

                        The response will give you the Greek definition and a lot of information. See                                 where it is used elsewhere in the Bible, synonyms, antonyms.

B. Cross References: pick one or two verses to explore. Biblehub- and other helps under Scripture Study Online Resources.  

                        Look at the margin of the Bible next to your verses and look up one or two. Read                          and put in the blank. Reading the surrounding verses of the cross reference for                                     context.

C. Use other commentaries after you have done your own digging

            Above are building blocks for Interpretation and Application.

II. Main point/ Interpretation

1. Main point: What is the Overall message in 1-2 sentences
2. Interpretation: What does it mean? What did the Lord want to communicate to through the author to the original hearers?

III. Application

What does this mean for me? (Keep asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom- and don’t jump from one’s own understanding to application). We need to understand how it goes with the message of the whole Bible. The crimson thread  of salvation runs throughout the entire Bible.  

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Amanda Chambers

Owner, Alabaster's Ink Well


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