INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
When studying Scripture the inductive method is significantly better than the deductive method for three significant reasons:
A) First, you are not trying to fit Scripture into what you want it to say. You are not coming to Scripture to prove a point, but for God to lead you to what He has for you.
B) Second, it helps apply the truths learned to our heart. When you think about something and all the implications, you internalize it and take ownership. It is like having your own personal copyright to the truth learned since it is in your heart, your words, your understanding.
C) Third, IBS helps people discover and understand Scripture. Unless you learn inductively, you become subject to cults who dice up Scripture for their particular devices. This is pure deception that imprisons and kills.
When you learn to read and study "inductively," your understanding is based upon the explicit teaching of the Scripture as the Holy Spirit guides. Not some sermon, commentary or denomination's interpretation of that Scripture.
Although the IBS approach is quite powerful, it is relatively weak when you want to quickly impart basic information to people. This is why the deductive approach is used when giving a sermon or lecture. A "deductive" lecture (or expository teaching) can quickly provide universal principles that can be effectively used as a foundation for learning.
Another potential downside to the IBS method is that it takes time, practice and patience. We have become a generation of lazy, simple thinkers who do not want to explore or ascertain our own answers. Just ask yourself how many times have you shared what someone else has said? Now ask yourself how many times have you shared a verse God Himself revealed to you without the benefit of anyone but God Himself? God gave us His Word so that we truly can know how to become closer to Him, how to 'know' Him. He did not provide His Word to teach us how to order pizza correctly. Our reactions inside our circumstances are direct byproducts of knowing Him. Let me give you an example. I know a lot about Paul McCartney (The Beatles). I can quote many exciting things about Paul McCartney through what I have read, experienced and seen. But do I know him personally? No, if I knew him I would not have to read and watch what others say so often. I certainly would be spending majority of my time talking directly with him, right? So how can we expect to become closer to our Savior by just hearing what others say about Him? We absolutely need to read Scripture with a purpose?
OUR PRIMARY RESOURCE IS SCRIPTURE
Inductive Bible Study helps focus us directly on Scripture. We discover, for ourselves, what God is saying to us specifically in His Word. God desires a personal relationship with us. It does NOT depend on our human insights.
Let me stop here for one moment. Inductive Bible Study is only one part of our walk. We need fellowship as well as Godly counsel. IBS should never be a substitute for fellowship. Look at it this way:
Inductive Bible Study Method:
(Bible + You)
Intimate Relationship With God
Deductive Bible Study Method:
(Bible + Man + You)
Distant Relationship With God
Complete Bible Study Method:
(Bible + You) + (Bible + Man + You)
Sanctified Relationship With God
IBS is a technique that can transform our lives from glory to glory, not just fill our mind with Biblical facts to make us "smarter" Christians. The primary goal of all IBS is for our benefit in getting to know our God intimately, by becoming more like our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING
At this point you should be asking yourself some very fundamental questions.
. . .from the desert so alone?
Are you longing for a deeper, more intimate connection with God, but feel lost when you open your Bible, not even knowing where to begin? Then IBS is a perfect place to begin.
Or perhaps. . .from the wilderness so dry?
Have you have given up in frustration, wandering about "numbers" mentioned in the book of Numbers? Then IBS can help you identify where to look and be encouraged instead of frustrated.
Or perhaps. . .the oceans so vast?
Have you read passages of Scripture and find that only moments later you cannot actually remember what you just read? Then IBS will show you how to make Scripture yours that will not be forgotten.
Or perhaps. . .from the valleys so low?
Are you confused with so many contrasting opinions about what the Bible says and you wonder which viewpoint is true. Then IBS is definitely for you.
Or perhaps. . .from the mountains so majestic?
Do you doubt whether it is even remotely possible to understand God's Word, since you are obviously not a pastor, an elder or a theologian? Then IBS will show you that God Himself desires for you to understand His Word.
We each begin from a different place in our heart. So whether it is from desert, wilderness, ocean, valley or mountain, take heart, for you are about to undertake on a fantastic journey called "Inductive Bible Study." One that has the capacity to radically transform your entire life. Inductive Bible Study will expose you to an analytical approach that can be effectively applied to any Scripture, at any time, in any place, by anyone. The only requirements are God's Word, the Holy Spirit and a teachable heart.