Inductive reasoning is drawing conclusions from previously observed or experienced events. It is often compared to deductive reasoning, which bases its conclusions on laws or rules that are generally accepted. Inductive Bible study a popular method of Bible study. The basic idea of an inductive Bible study is to observe what the words say objectively in their context, getting as close as possible to the intent of the author. From there you determine the meaning of the text, and finally determine how this applies to your life.
Charting Bible Study
Create a chart on a sheet of paper with three sections, making the first section largest of the three. On the page, label the first section "Observation." Label the second section "Meaning" and the final section "Application." The first section should take about half of your sheet with the second two sections taking the rest of the page, divided equally.
Write down all the observations you can make from the passage you are studying In the first section labeled "Observation." Ask as many questions as possible and write them down. Do not answer those questions in this section. Write down the context of the passage, noting what is written before and after the part you are studying. Consult a Bible dictionary to get more background information on the passage. Note any other similar passages you can think of and write them down as well.
Answer the questions you raised in the first section. Use your Bible dictionary to look up information on factual or historical data that might be meaningful. Look to similar passages to inform the passages you are studying at the moment. Taking all the the information you have gained from the first section, and additional information gained in this section, you may put together the meaning. This is where you determine what the author was trying to communicate.
Write down how this passage you are studying applies to you, or to a situation you may have faced, based on what you have written in the first section. This is where induction happens. Based on your observations, and the meaning you have determined, analyze and write down what effect it has on you.
Use a variety of translations in your language to get a broader view of meaning. Use an exhaustive concordance, where you can look at Biblical words in their original language (Hebrew or Greek).
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.