How to Engage in Inductive Bible Study
I. Examine the Data (see the whole unit).
A. Unit—read the entire book. (Read at one sitting or as quickly and uninterruptedly as possible.)
B. Epitomize the book. (State the theme in one sentence.)
C. Compartmentalize the book. (Break down into study-sized segments—See how they relate to the theme.)
D. Determine the style of the book. (Is it an exhortation, narrative, poetry, prophecy, or history—a record of events?)
E. Determine the emotional tone of the book.
F. Ascertain the following:
1. The author
2. To whom the book is addressed
3. Date of authorship
4. Purpose of the book (What were the original readers to know or do?)
II. Examine the Data (see the parts).
A. Note significant words and phrases.
B. Note grammatical structure.
C. Note literary structure.
D. Note figures of speech.
E. Note paragraph themes.
III. Question each element of the Data.
A. Where—note the place.
B. When—note the time.
C. Who—note the key figures.
D. What—note what happened.
E. How—note the mode or operating principles. Did the act or circumstance require God’s intervention or supervision? Was there a miracle? Was it providence? Was it for a sign? For deliverance?
F. Why—note why the incident is important. (This is the so what?” question.)
IV. Interpret the Data by:
A. Answering the six questions.
B. Summarizing the information.
1. Provide paragraph titles.
2. Outline the passages now that you have more information.
V. Test the Data.
A. The internal test: is the data consistent with itself?
B. The external test: compare the data with other scripture.
VI. Apply the Data.
A. Determine whether the principles are local to the situation or universal to all believers.
B. Determine whether contemporary to the period or timeless.
C. Realm of experience (Utilize by applying to your individual situation.)
Adapted from a course taught by the Rev.William Lincoln)