The most effective form of studying God’’s Word that I have found is the Inductive Study Method. This process calls the reader to observe the text, interpret the text and then apply the text. As someone learning this process, I recommend working through any Bible Study written by Kay Arthur, Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer. Here is an overview of the Inductive Study Method taken from the Inductive Study Bible.
1. Begin with Prayer. Let the Holy Spirit be your teacher.
2. Interrogate the text. Act like a reporter and record The Who, what, why, when, where, and how of the passage. Re-read the passage each time to answer these questions.
3. Mark key words and phrases that are repeated often and bring meaning to the text.
4. Look for lists.
5. Watch for contrasts and comparisons marked by but, not, as, or like.
6. Note expressions of time like then, immediately, 40 days.
7. Identify terms of conclusion such as therefore, wherefore, finally.
8. Develop your own chapter themes.
9. Discover lessons for life taught in the text.
10. Create your own outline of the book utilizing the chapter themes you created.
1. Remember that context rules. Look at surrounding version, chapters and the entire Word of God for context.
2. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. When looking for clarification, look first to other places in the Bible where the same topic is addressed.
3. Remember that Scripture never contradict Scripture.
4. Don’t base a conviction on an obscure passage.
5. Interpret Scripture according to its literary style. The Bible contains history books, poetry, prophecy, proverbs and didactic teaching. Each passage needs to be read as the author intended when writing the passage.
6. Look for the single meaning of the passage.
7. Use Bible aids for further understanding like Bible dictionaries, word study tools and commentaries..
Ask these four questions:
1. What does this passage teach?
2. Does this section of Scripture expose any error in my beliefs or behaviors?
3. What is God’s instruction to me as His child?
4. When applying Scripture be aware of the following:
a. Cultural standards vs. Biblical standards
b. Strengthening a legitimate truth with Scripture incorrectly.
c. Applying Scripture from prior misconceptions.
The majority of your time will be spent observing the text. Too often we jump to application when we don’t truly see what the Word is saying or understand its meaning. Following the steps above will help you to spend the time chewing on God’s Word and being fed spiritually.