Inductive Bible Study – Some Observations Introduction and Methodology
Inductive Study is that study which moves from the specific to the general or universal.
As compared to
Deductive which moves from the general or universal to the specific.
When the interest point is a single word or concept in on author
- “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
In addition to the study steps outlined under Methodology # 1, Document 1, watch for issues that may throw light on the rest of your study, like, what does “it” refer to? i.e.., faith, grace, or saved?
The answers come from grammar and theology. Grammar cannot stand alone; it must have a context. (See i.e. p. 2 of this document)
- Does Ellen White define grace in Steps to Christ p. 68 as it is generally defined today?
Incorporate the following type of concepts into your answer.
By meekness, by love, by a compassionate spirit, confess Christ to others. ARA September, 1898 By the use of parables He brought the eternal future to view. ARA 6-15-1902
It is the living presence that makes the living word. ARA 6-15-1902
Let your testimony bear with it the incense of correct representation. ARA 4-15-1912
Methodology 2 – Illustrated The Psalms
“I am righteous, justify me for my righteousness” means that the Psalm is probably a messianic Psalm.
This conclusion comes from one’s understanding of the Bible story of the need for salvation by all of the Human race.
Inductive Bible study must be accompanied by general Bible knowledge.
Verse 1. Father speaks to general audience
- Son speaks to general audience 3-8. Holy Spirit speaks to Son
9a. Son speaks to Father
9b-13. Holy Spirit speaks to Son 14-16. Father speaks to audience
Re: Son (those making like choices)
Methodology 3 – Illustrated Notes on Daniel
- It is true that they must have been scared half-to-death, but they asked for a test to be applied by their captors, to their convictions-and God answered their prayers. They were seen to have been benefited by the food they had eaten as the rest of the appointees were not. Is the rest of the story resting on this event as a base? Could Daniel and his 3 friends have been the people we are about to meet in these stories if they had not gone into captivity? Is the message of this part of the story one that tells us that some of the things which occur in our lives which we really do not like may turn out to be the base for strengthening our faith and enabling us to be a blessing to someone else
– a blessing that we could not have been without the experience which we really disliked? Is the revelation of such principles one of the reasons for the study of the Bible?
- Why were the companions of Daniel not the interpreters of the dream? Did they not consult God? What do you think? Is there an implied revelation about God in the answer to the four boys prayers? Might the message be that the Lord has plans for every person but those plans are not the same for each person? Does this story reveal that the events of our lives are sometimes determined by the needs God has for Him to be understood? Does this mean that our lives are directed so as we are part of His self-revelation? I love Bible study!
- I sometimes watch the news and rejoice that what we see is temporary. Prophecies like the one in this lesson, to me, can reveal the gentle goodness of God. It also is a reminder that all we see is temporary, just like Babylon; that the future is already seen by Him. The succeeding kingdoms, which were to follow Babylon, and their nature, was not known to the king who was trying to guess the future. But God knew, as He revealed in the dream given to the King. What function do the nations carry as they move one after another through time?
- Does every Christian have a Daniel experience? Do we all meet a king Nebuchadnezzer – someone who we can only help with God’s help? What do you think? Is the faith which believes that God thinks only good things (see Jeremiah 29:11) for you, sometimes bumped in daily life by your own King Nebuchadnezzer? Did Daniel cause himself to be taken captive? Did the nation? God helped them both!
- One of my favorite chapters in Scripture is Isaiah, chapter 35. This story describes a new earth. Some writers suggest it also portrays the Lord’s plan for the soul. What do you think? If you agree with those writers who think salvation’s work in the soul is portrayed, would you also be inclined to see a portrayal of some salvific work as the message of Daniel’s journey to Babylon? Would this story be parallel to Isaiah 35? I am glad that I get to ask the questions!
- When something one really dislikes happens in one’s life (represented by the cutting down of the tree), the banded stump passage tells us that there is a future beyond the present experience of having the tree cut down – do you agree? Is it correct to say that the banded stump not only reveals that there is a future in God’s plan, but that the knowledge of the stump’s being banded has for its central revelation the purpose of assuring the one needing the correction that God already has a plan for the tree being cut down – that there is no cause to think that the correction means that God’s correction is to be followed by rejection and abandonment by God. The message of the banded stump is one of assurance that the Lord in not abandoning you because you have need of the correction that is coming from the Lord. The correction comes with the assurance that the lesson learned there is a future of togetherness to follow. The de-throning is to be followed by a future work assignment as to a trusted
If you agree, is the faith and commitment of the 3 young men in chapter 3 that which was represented by the bands on the stump in the dream of the tree in chapter 4, or would the bands on the tree represent only the character of God – specifically love and righteousness, or justice and mercy? Do God’s acts toward us rest only in His character or do they adjust to meet our life situation but within the character of God and His plan for our life? If you answered that it falls within the character of God and His plan for our life, does it also fall within the need He has for us to help Him with a revelation of what He is like – that we are the visible act of God which is seen? In other words, does His plan for us represent that which is good for us only, or does it represent that which we would like to have it be if we could see from the end to the beginning, AND the place we fill in the outworking of the plan of salvation? I am glad I get to ask the questions! Sometimes part of His self-revelation? I love Bible study!
The answers to these types of questions come from the alignment of the material presented to the reader by the Bible material. Often the stories told must all be known to the one answering the questions before the correct answer can be found to the issues raised by the content of the story in the sequence.
Where was Daniel when the 3 worthies were cast into the fiery furnace in chapter 3? Answer: The people on the plain were there to prove their loyalty to the kingdom. Daniel was not there because his loyalty was not able to be questioned. See Dan 2:46-49
EXAMPLE, con’t Revelation 14;12 reads:
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
If I said, “I am here,” the asker would know where I was! In the verse just cited, where is “here”?
Methodology 4 Notes on Habakkuk
In this methodology the answer to the questions come from the linguistics and the parallel text.
This class of questions and answers also introduces the issue of the “where” the material appears in the book that is the base for the questions.
Habakkuk 2:3c reads, The just shall live by his faith. (This same phrase appears in Romans 1:17) By comparing the 2 occurrences we might think to answer the “where” question, but the proper answer is as to the location of the phrase in the book of Habakkuk, first, and secondly, as to the location of the phrase in the verse in Habakkuk.
- Where does the phrase appear in the Bible? Answer – Habakkuk 2:3 and Romans 1:17.
- Where in the verse in Habakkuk does the phrase appear? Answer – At the end of the verse (2:3).
What is the message which immediately precedes the phrase being studied?
Answer: In Habakkuk 2:1 the material can be properly translated as “I will keep my eyes open and present myself on (something hemming in) my best understanding and peer into the distance (leaning forward) to discern what He will say to bring to me insight and what I shall return (to retreat) on my correction or refutation.”
The Lord’s response was, “the just shall live by faith.”
In the middle voice, the phrase is better translated, “the just shall cause himself to live by faith.”
- The answer just presented to the reader illustrates the need to know where in the book in the conversation between Habakkuk and the Lord the phrase
- The location is identified by making a summary chart of the book. See p. 7 for an illustration of a Summary
OVER-ALL STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK OF MATTHEW
“Who is he?”
Peter’s Confession: “Thou art the Christ”
“What is His authority?”
“All authority in Heaven & earth?
Book of Revelation
1:1 – 5:14 Introduction to Issues of Book 1:1-3 Prologue
1:4 – 3:22 Messages to Seven Churches in Asia.
This section serves to set forth the object of the Revelation, it reveals the church as containing error and encountering difficulty, but being loved and cared for by the Lord.
4:1 John told He Was to be Shown Things “which must be hereafter.”
This verse serves to mark the transition of focus from the churches in Asia to the church in succeeding ages.
4:2-11 A Vision of the Glory of God.
Whereas John is to be shown times of great difficulty, God kindly shows him first a vision of His greatness as an assurance of His ability to see His church through to victory.
5:1-14 The Crux of the Matter.
5:1-4 Vision of the Sealed Book
These verses show John the background issue of what is to follow. An inheritance has been forfeited.
5:5-9 Vision of the Lamb: Once Dead, Now Alive
This vision serves to show the solution to the problem set forth in vv. 1-
- The Lamb has redeemed the forfeited inheritance; God has secured the right to do with it according to His will, which is to rewin the love of its inhabitants.
5:10-14 Song of praise to the Lamb
This song records the response of heavenly beings and creatures on earth to the solution announced in vv. 5-9.
6:1 – 20:15 Reclaiming the Forfeited Inheritance.
6:1-8:1 The Seven Seals
6:1-14 Open the Six Seals
This chapter shows God’s first act in attempting to rewin the alienated, though redeemed, inheritance.
6:15-17 Men’s reaction to the Six Seals.
The reaction of the inhabitants of the earth – woe to us, the Lord is coming and we aren’t ready – reveals the purpose of the judgments.
7:1 Vision of Angels Holding Winds Back.
When men realized their need God compassionately commissions the angels to hold-up the judgment activity to allow men to attain to readiness, if they will.
7:2-8 Vision of Angels with Seal of God.
These angels mark those who are ready to meet the Lord.
7:9-17 Proleptic Vision of Final Victory of Church.
This vision serves to show what will be the final result of God’s condescension in having held back the winds of judgment.
8:1-6 Seventh Seal Opened.
Silence in heaven introduces the seven trumpets.
8:7-14:5 The Seven Trumpets.
God’s second act to get men ready for judgment.
8:2-9:21 Six Trumpets Sound.
The purpose of these judgments is to show the men without the seal of God their need of him.
9:20-21 Response of Men to Warning Judgments of God.
They repented not. 10:1-12:14 End of Time Announced.
This vision shows the result of the response of men in 9:20-21, and introduces the last phase of calling evil men to repentance.
Shows result of work done thus far and reviews the issues necessitating a judgment.
13:1-18 Future Acts of Evil One Revealed
Continued presentation of the issues requiring a judgment, and further revelations of the acts of the evil one as he reacts to the nearness of the judgment.
14:1-5 Vision of the Lamb and the One hundred Forty-Four Thousand
This vision servers to show proleptically the results of the conflict—between Good and evil—and the results of the judgment, to those who are faithful. These verses serve the same purpose as, i.e., 13:10, where the surety of judgment is set forth as a strength of the persecuted ones.
14:6-13 Vision of Three Angels with Messages.
An announcement that the long with-held judgment time has arrived.
14:14-18:24 Vision of the Judgments on Evil.
14:14-20 Vision of the Beginning of Wrath.
15:1 Vison of Angels with Seven Last Plagues.
Vison of the beginning of the judgments on evil.
15:2-4 Proleptic Vision of Faithful in God’s Presence.
This vision serves to give assurance to God’s people that, (1) in the coming time of fearful judgments on evil they will be sustained by God; (2) they will ultimately stand in the physical presence of God forever; recognizing God as the source of their strength and victory and altogether just.
15:5-16:21 Vision of Outpouring of Seven Last Plagues.
Warns men not to be included among the evil things, and assures them God will act on behalf of His faithful followers.
17:1-18 Announcement of Judgment on the Great Whore.
17:2-6, 13-14 Reason for Judgment on Whore Announced. 17:7-12, 15-18 Whore identified.
18:1-24 Vision of Angel with Great Power and a Message
This vision serves to assure all that God in mercy makes every effort to win all people from following the beast and his agents as revealed in 14:8-17:18.
18:2-7 Warning Message Repeated.
God sends another angel to aid the three of 15:6-12 in giving their message.
18:8-24 Repeated Assurance Evil will be Punished.
This angel aids in the warning of coming judgment and in appealing to men to separate themselves from the evil thing.
19:1-20:15 God Institutes Retributive Judgment.
19:1-10 Reaction to God’s Work.
He is praised for His dealing with evil.
19:11-21 Evil temporarily Slain
God stops all evil for an interval that it might be judged.
20:1-15 Evil Judged and Destroyed.
21:1 – 22:5 The Reclaimed Inheritance.
The earth without evil described.
22:6-21 Conclusion to the Book
The Revelation Summary Conclusion
The views regarding the structural arrangement of the Book of Revelation and the relation of such structure to the message are as numerous as the writers. It is sometimes said of an opponent in sports, “he is the kind of player who can make you look bad.” This seems to be very true of the Apocalypse. Before its divinely inspired message the finely developed theories of the best scholars ‘look bad’. I believe the basic reason for this is the failure of would-be expositors to start with John’s clear statements. John states “I saw”, “I heard”, and “He said to me”…, etc. Expositors have failed to start by accepting that aspect of John’s work as being worthy of serious consideration, choosing rather to assign their own evaluations as to the source and ‘inspiration’ under which John wrote. Regarding the results of this type of treatment E. Lohmeyer wrote in 1934, “There are few primitive Christian writings which as a whole and in detail have received so much attention and yet seem to remain untouched in regard to the secret of their meaning and history”. This statement is still true today, even among many Seventh-day Adventists, who in face have a great advantage, when attempting to interpret the Revelation, in the Spirit of Prophecy. When Mrs. White wrote that the Revelation reveals the position, dangers, conflicts, and final deliverance of the church we know what the theme of the Book is; when she adds John wrote that the church might be instructed concerning the perils and conflicts before them, we know the purpose for which John wrote, and when we read that the judgment message of chapter 14 and its connected messages is followed by the coming of the Son of Man, we have a clue to the structure of one of the more nebulous portions of the Book. Finally, when Mrs. White writes that when the Revelation is properly understood there will be a reformation in the church, we know the result the study is intended to produce – a personal relationship with the One who is Lord of all and Who reveals Himself in the final conflict with evil and the “deceptions of the Devil”.