Have you ever found anything? If so, how did that make you feel?!
We use to live in Venice, Florida ~ the shark tooth capitol of the world! Every time we walked the beach we would search and find shark teeth! And you know, it never got old! One time I took my son to a playground right beside the intercostal waterway and I’ll never forget looking down and discovering a two inch shark tooth! I was so excited!!!
Now since Venice is a tourist town, you could go into any number of stores downtown and purchase shark teeth in bulk – but that was never the same as finding your own!
It’s the same with Bible study. There is something special about discovering things first hand, rather than just being told outright.
Most Bible studies are like having someone walk along the beach with you and say, “Right there! Look! See the shark’s tooth?” And that is of some value, especially when you are starting out. But there is such a deeper joy when you are completely discovering those shark teeth on your own!
And remember, when discipling women we are seeking to liberate them so they aren’t dependent upon us but equipped to be lifetime learners.
Inductive Bible study is key for people learning how to discover treasure in God’s Word on their own. Basically there are three parts to this: Observe, Interpret and Apply. And there are specific tools that can help you grow in doing each. These are simple tools. You don’t have to go to seminary to learn how to do this.
For example, it is amazing how much more you observe just by slowing down and asking questions of the text. But most people don’t do this, or realize what an incredible tool this is, unless specifically taught.
Howard Hendricks, who use to teach at Dallas Theological Seminary would start the semester giving his students one verse and challenging them to write as many questions regarding that verse as they could. This is a simple exercise you can do with those you meet and if you do, be prepared to be amazed at all they discover!
In Gladys Hunt’s book Honey for a Child’s Heart she shares how she taught her children to do this. Together they would read a short passage from the Bible and then one at a time each person in her family came up with a question about the text. They would discuss each question before moving onto the next person and the next question.
Last year at Christmas we did this with my sister’s family. My husband read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke and then we went around and everyone took turns asking a question. It made for the neatest discussion!
If you’ve never done inductive Bible study before, here are three great resources that can really help you learn:
1. First Hand Joy by Rick Yohn
Shortly after Barb started discipling me, she gave me a small book entitled First Hand Joy by Rick Yohn. Each chapter features a short exercise that helps you start learning how to study the Bible for yourself. I tell you working through that little book not only enhanced my Bible study but every single time I read my Bible! Through doing this I learned new tools for digging even deeper. And did this ever yield even more treasure! And Joy!
Sadly this book is out of print – though I just checked and there are still five copies at http://www.amazon.com/First-Hand-Joy-Rick-Yohn/dp/B001YJ8U7Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378289249&sr=8-1&keywords=First+hand+joy+rick+yohn
2. Another favorite – much more extensive is Howard Hendricks’ Living By The Book. http://www.christianbook.com/living-science-reading-bible-revised-updated/howard-hendricks/9780802408235/pd/408230 This is hands down my favorite resource for learning inductive Bible study.
3. Another good book is Hans Finzel’s Unlocking the Scriptures. http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Scriptures-Hans-Finzel/dp/0781438160/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378348469&sr=1-1&keywords=hans+finzel+unlocking+the+scriptures
I cannot recommend these books highly enough! You can work through any of them with someone you are meeting with – but I’ve also found just working through them myself, enabled me to incorporate teaching these tools informally as I’m meeting one on one with someone.
Not only will these tools help those you meet with learn how to discover even more treasure in God’s Word for themselves, but when you are discipling for generations you want to equip them to know how to mine God’s Word for the answers to questions they’ll encounter. These tools free them so they don’t have to run to a Christian bookstore and find a Bible study on x, y or z but when questions come up they know how to go directly to God’s Word for the answers. And help others learn to do so too!
But it’s not just about getting answers – it’s also about joy! For me, that’s the best motivation of all!
NOTE: If you would like to learn how to do inductive Bible study while studying a book of the Bible, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be glad to email you a copy of a study on Genesis that week by week helps you learn how to use numerous Bible study tools. Just be forewarned, it was written to be used at a summer training program so each chapter provides enough material for anywhere from five to twelve hours of Bible study!