There are three basic steps in studying the Bible inductively. Your ultimate goal should be to attempt to understand the verses and passages in their context so that you will be able to apply what you learn to everyday life. In other words, knowledge should not be an end in itself. The purpose of Bible study should be a changed life that results from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
A. OBSERVATION – What does it say?
1. Make a list of comments on facts that you observe (author, readers, purpose, literary style).
2. Write down questions about each verse.
3. Identify the context. What is the subject of the book and surrounding verses? What is the background for the passage?
4. List important words, people or places mentioned in the passage. Note especially words that are repeated. What topics are revealed in the passage by significant words?
5. Discover the main theme of the passage as it is revealed by the context and subjects of the passage. Select one word that describes the theme.
6. Write the theme of the passage in a complete sentence.
7. What is the key verse in the passage?
B. INTERPRETATION – What does it mean?
1. Write down as many answers as you can discover using only the Bible (cross reference)
2. Consult other sources for your answers (commentaries, Bible dictionary, concordance).
3. Divide the text into sections. Write a one-word subject for each section.
4. Write a brief summary of the passage.
B. APPLICATION – How can I use it?
1. Write applications for the passage, stating how you will implement them in your life.
2. Write an evangelistic application for the passage, using a transition from a concept taught in the passage.