Once upon a time, this is what it meant for me to study the bible; A note pad and highlighter; casually doing a little cross referencing, while I sipped a cup of coffee. Not bad for a little devotional. Here in the School of Biblical Studies, we go way beyond that.
In S.B.S. We use the Inductive Study Method. “What is that?” you ask. The Inductive Study Method is simple; OBSERVATION(what the text actually says), INTERPRETATION(what it meant to the original audience, hearer and reader) and APPLICATION(Discovering the timeless truths of the text and applying them today).
Still sounds fairly simple? Let me explain how we come up with it all.
Step one, Out Loud Read: To get the big picture we read the book out loud. This step we can do in groups up to 4 people. We read the entire book, out loud, in one setting. Small books might take 20 minutes, large book…four hours.
Step two, Paragraph Titles: This is the second read. In each paragraph, find 3-4 words that give the main point of the paragraph.
Step Three, Structure: Understanding how the author ordered the book, major breaks in thought or topic. The structure breaks down Divisions, sections and finally segments (which makes up our charts)
Step Four, Color Coding: The third reading we analyze the sentence structure. There are 37 things we look for in the text; repeated word or ideas, who, what, where, when, pronouns, verb tenses, connectives, contrast…You get the idea.
Step Five, Basic Required Information(BRI): For this we use the text itself and bible dictionaries as the primary source. Things we look at; author(some are obvious other are disputed), who was the book written to? Original hearer/original reader? When was the book written, why was it written, what was going on when it was written, what was the culture like when and where it was written(relative historical context).
Step Six, Inside Observations: This is our fourth reading of the book. Using vertical charts made from steps 2 and 3, we do further observations into each paragraph and idea. Small books have 4-5 charts, large book up to 35 (each chart takes 45min-1hr to complete(see example of a completed chart below))
In the fifth reading we do four more steps:
Step Seven, Outside Observation: Pulling a main observation to the outside, identify and elaborate on the observations.
Step Eight, Interpretation: Understanding what the text meant when it was written by asking questions; Why did the author say this? Why was it important to the original reader? What was the author trying to communicate? …
Step Nine, Timeless Truths and Application: What was true then that is still true today? How should it affect the contemporary reader? How does it impact the church? How does it impact me?
And finally, Step Ten, Final Application: What is God saying to me and how do I apply it to my life?
Why do I, and all of the S.B.S. students around the world, go through this? To better understand the God that we serve; to be better equipped to teach others about his wondrous mercy and grace. To go into all the world and preach the gospel, making disciples of all nations.
Again, I need your help! If you’ve been keeping up with me, you know that following the School of Biblical Studies, I have answered God’s call to be a fulltime missionary at the Guadalajara, Mexico YWAM. In order to do that I need to raise about $3,000 to get there and get set up, which includes having transportaion while I’m there. Please keep me in your prayers and consider supporting me financially. You can send check or money order to me by mailing it to: Dennis Mixer 501 Blacktail Road, Lakeside, MT.59922 or through paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org