Monday, 5 December 2011

Color Coding

Lesson Three

Forgive my absence that hasn´t been for any good or particular reason.  Life is busy and weeks just keep buzzing by.    Malachi, 2 Peter are the books that have been chosen for study.  I have personally studied 2 Peter but not Malachi.   I am excited to walk alongside of you in these books.  Don´t be shy to ask questions or express doubts!  Use the comment space on the blog for interaction on the particular lesson.   If you are new to this blog, it´s not too late to join and go back and do Lesson One and Two!

So with today´s lesson we get to begin the joy of color-coding!

Color-coding is a tool used to observe the text word by word.  It allows thorough observation of principle ideas, people, places, events, reasons, arguments, etc. 

The two primary purposes for color-coding are:
1) This is a way in which we are forced to read the text word for word and see exactly WHAT is said.
2) It will later prove useful for referencing through the remainder of your study.  For example you will be able to easily and quickly determine where and how many times a particular was mentioned.

Choose a color to correspond with each of the following:

Who (people)        Who (deity)                        What            Where                      When
Why/How                Repeated words or ideas         Connectors                   

Now, before, immediately, when, then, after, since
Since, because, for, therefore
That, so that, in order that
Though, even though, but, however, in spite of, or
And, as, also, too

You may also find other things you may deem significant to color or mark in some manner.  For example, bolding or underlining all comparisons stated.

If you are color-coding the text in print, colored pencils are recommended.   You may want to consider color-coding the text in a word document if you prefer.

Helpful hints for color-coding:

·    Find your own style for color-coding. 
·    Experiment and then determine what works best for you.
·    Remember that the point is to observe what is being said.
·    Take short breaks when working over a large period of time.

This is a process that will take sometime and can be quite enjoyable for some and laborous for others.   Personally I enjoy color-coding the "whos" all the way through and then going back to do the next couple and so on.  

I know we are in the middle of the busiest season of the year, so plan on getting your next step mid January!   

Monday, 31 October 2011

Lesson Two

Welcome back, friends!   I am so excited to go through this process with you.   It's been a couple of years since I last taught Inductive Bible Study in English.   About six months ago I started an inductive study in Spanish with a newer believer.   We are studying the book of Romans.   I may have bitten off too much for my first inductive study in Spanish.  If you feel led to, please pray for Paty and to be graced with more discipline and endurance.  Enough said for my preamble. 


Deductive- The student reads and uses information in light of a predetermined point or idea.

Inductive- The student starts with the text and discovers the point or the idea of the text.  Some people call the inductive approach the “discovery method.”

There should be a balance in ones study of deduction and induction.  If one studies inductively, he is better able to discern truth when taught deductively by a scholar.  There are teachers and scholars, according to the gift of the Holy Spirit, who show us things we may not see for ourselves, and thus we are enriched.  However, if we do not know what the Bible says firsthand, we can be led astray.  Probably there are many divisions among Christians because they follow different teacher deductions and do not have first hand acquaintance with the Scripture.

Some distinct characteristics of the inductive approach are:

Firsthand contact              - read the text rather than a book about it

Independent thinking     -not someone elses conclusions

No preconceived ideas - read the text as if for the first time

Discovery                             -not being told what to FIND


1.  OBSERVATION:   What does the text say?
·    Observation is the beginning point and foundation in all Biblical Study.
·    Unless we observe the text thoroughly, there is no way we can properly interpret.
·    The motto for observation is LOOK, LOOK and LOOK some more.

2.  INTERPRETATION:   What did the text mean to the original hearers/readers? 
·    Interpretation is a continuation of observation but steps beyond by exercising exegetical and hermeneutical research.
·    When interpreting, always keep in mind that a text can never mean what it never meant.

3.  APPLICATION:   How do I apply the biblical principles in my life today?
·    Application is a continuation of interpretation by taking the original meaning into todays life.
·    If we try to apply scripture to our lives without thorough observation and interpretation, we may apply something God never intended for us.

4.  PROCLAMATION:   How is this passage to be shared with others?
·    Proclamation is a continuation of application because as we apply scripture to our lives we become a living proclamation of Gods Word.
·    If we proclaim Gods Word without first observing, interpreting and applying it to our lives, we may be in danger of proclaiming a distorted gospel.

The following steps will be explained in further detail in coming lessons.
1.   Initial Read through- reading through the text in one sitting enables the reader to see the text as one unit
2.   Color Coding- is a tool used to observe the text word by word and is used to reference details throughout the study.   
3.   Titling- is a way of handling subject matter.  Titles will convey the main idea of the text, and follow the story or logic of the text.               
4.   Literary Observations- enables the student to observe WHAT and HOW in the text.  Literary Observations have three components:
Structure- communicates WHAT through places, time, people, ideas, or events.
Genre- shows HOW the author has presented his subject matter.      
Composition- illustrates “HOW” both the structure and the genre have been communicated.                                                                         
5.   General Observations- are applicable observation tools to utilize on the text that deepen and enhance the process of observation.
6. Observation Chart- one final representation of the text based on all observations.
1.   Exegesis is contextual and content research
a.  Contextual Research Paper (context)
b.  Word studies (content)
c.  Vertical charting (content)
2.   Hermeneutics is the beginning of blending interpretation into application by looking at the here and now in light of all our exegetical research.  Remember that scripture can never mean what it never meant!     
1.   Process- There is no one correct procedure of application but there are four important aspects within the application process.
2.   Questions- Begin asking yourself questions based on the hermeneutics applied.
1.   Types of Proclamation
2.   Goals and Objectives for teaching
3.   Foundations for teaching
4.   Preparation for teaching
5.   Creating a teaching outline
      6.   Evaluation


These Inductive Bible Study tools can be applied to a book, a passage, a topic, or a biblical character.   We will start with a book as it is the best way to practice using all of the tools.

1.   Prayerfully select a book of the bible that you are going to study.   Its size should correspond to the amount of time you are going to dedicate to study.

2.   The following books are recommended for your first book study in this class due to their short length.
            Old Testament:
     New Testament:
      2 Thessalonians
      2 Peter
      2 John
      3 John

3.   Once youve selected your book you will begin to work through all the inductive method steps using the tools as outlined.    These steps and tools are further explained throughout the rest of this class.

     1.  Chose your book (let us know your book by posting a comment)
     2.  Complete a read through of the book

Reading completely through the text in one sitting is important before you begin to study it.  The purpose of an initial read through will enable you to view the text as a whole unit. 

Imperatives before you begin an initial read through:
·    Block out a large amount of time
·    Find a quiet spot to avoid interruptions
·    Prepare to read aloud
When reading in a group;
Each person should read short portions in order to maintain group focus.
When reading on your own;
Reading aloud will help maintain your focus. 
Sight-reading the text along with an audio recording of the text.
If audio is not available, consider recording yourself. 
Your audio text can be utilized throughout the rest of your study.   Listening to the text repeatedly will enhance the amount of observations you will make.
·    Hold something under each line in order to focus
·    If the text is lengthy take a few brief breaks
·    Do not stop to ponder the correct pronunciation of unfamiliar names or places (just make your best attempt!)
·    During the first read through, do not stop to take notes.  You will do this on following readings
·    Concentrate on WHAT is being said
·    Enjoy Gods living word

If you feel the need to do so, repeat the initial read-through before you begin making detailed observations of the text! 

Through out your study period it is helpful and recommended to simply read through the text from time to time.  I enjoy having it on audio and listening to it during my down times.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Let's study scripture together!

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

I am not a seminary student, theologian nor have I studied biblical languages.   I do however believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible, and God-breathed. (II Tim 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:20,21; Matt 5:18; John 16:12,13).  I believe that all Christians are to be constantly looking into and living by scripture.

I was first exposed to the Inductive Bible Study Method in 2000 when I spent three months in the school of biblical studies with YWAM in Pune, India.   It was there that I first began to learn and practice the inductive method.   Since then I've had the joy of teaching others this method and have frequently used it personally to interact with scripture.  

A recent encounter with a believer prompted me toward the idea of making this "class" available online.   I will post a "lesson" once a week. Please post a comment if you plan on joining this "class".   Let's interact.   You can join in at any time! 

LESSON ONE            

This course enables the student to practice the Inductive Bible Study Method.   This method observes four basic steps: observation, interpretation, application and proclamation.  The student will gain practical tools to apply the Inductive Method to whole book studies, passage studies, character studies and topical studies.  This course is designed to give the student both practice and passion to study the Bible independently for the rest of their life.

The student will:
Complete a study project on a small book of the Bible.
Complete a study project on a passage or on a character of the Bible.
Complete a study project on a topic in the Bible.
Observe the texts using a variety of observational tools.
Interpret the texts through exegetical research.
Apply biblical principles from texts through proper hermeneutics.
Proclaim the Biblical texts by leading others through the Inductive Method.

This course will include: 
*Weekly Lesson Posts
*Weekly Assignments 
*Three Projects   
*One Test                
*Student led Bible Studies


Psa 1:1-2  How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
There are a whole series of hindrances to Bible study

“I don’t know how.”
You arent alone, and I hope this class will help. Reading about Bible study skills, practicing, and using them on your own is important, but working on them in a group with other believers under the guidance of an experienced leader will help you sharpen your understanding of and use of the skills.

“Bible study is boring.”
Read Psalm 1 again: it speaks of delighting in the word of God. That isnt some sort of poetic license which isnt to be taken at face value. The psalmist took delight in God's lawand the law is a section of Scripture which most people would suspect is the most boring of all! Serious study can be hard work, and it certainly takes discipline, but the word of God is not boring. Youve probably been in studies that were boringwe all havebut that wasnt the fault of the Scriptures.

“I prefer to use Bible study guides.”
Using guides exclusively means your reading of the Scriptures is always being filtered through the mind of a teacher. Going to the Scriptures directly means the agenda for study is set by God himself.

“I’m not smart enough; never was much of a student.”
Read Proverbs 9 and notice who Wisdomhere personified as a womaninvites to her table: “Let all who are simple come in here,” she calls out. “Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.” Or, if you want a New Testament reference, read 1 Corinthians 1:20-2:5. To the extent God has given us minds, to that extent we are to love him and his word with our mind (Matthew 22:37).   The study skills well be covering in this class are simple enough to be taught to children, and yet basic enough that we can develop them to whatever extent we are capable.
“I don't have time.”
Though it sounds like a cliché, it is true: we have time for the things that are important to us. I encourage you to do two things. First, read Charles Hummels classic little booklet Tyranny of the Urgent (Order for $1.00 from InterVarsity Press). And second, memorize Psalm 1 and meditate on it, particularly the contrast between the fruitful tree and all that chaff being blown around by the wind.
In the end, we are faced with a very simple but vital principle. If we wish to be wise and discerning as Christians, we must discipline ourselves to spend regular, serious, and unhurried time in the study of the Scriptures, which are Gods Word in written form.

R. C. Sproul:
“I could plead with you to study the Bible for personal edification; I could try the art of persuasion to stimulate your quest for happiness. I could say that the study of the Bible would probably be the most fulfilling and rewarding educational experience of your life. I could cite numerous reasons why you would benefit from a serious study of Scripture. But ultimately the main reason why we should study the Bible is because it is our duty. If the Bible were the most boring book in the world, dull, uninteresting and seemingly irrelevant, it would still be our duty to study it. If its literary style were awkward and confusing, the duty would remain. We live as human beings under an obligation by divine mandate to study diligently God’s Word. He is our Sovereign, it is his Word and he commands that we study it. A duty is not an option. If you have not yet begun to respond to that duty, then you need to ask God to forgive you and to resolve to do your duty from this day forth.”

James I. Packer:
In thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11). I hold the heady doctrine that no pleasures are so frequent or intense as those of the grateful, devoted, single-minded, whole-hearted, self-denying Christian. I maintain that the delights of work and leisure, of friendship and family, of eating and mating, of arts and crafts, of playing and watching games, of finding out and making things, of helping other people, and all the other noble pleasures that life affords, are doubled for the Christian; for, as the cheerful old Puritans used to say (no, sir, that is not a misprint, nor a Freudian lapse; I mean Puritansthe real historical Puritans, as distinct from the smug sourpusses of last-century Anglo-American imagination), the Christian tastes God in all his pleasures, and this increases them, whereas for other men pleasure brings with it a sense of hollowness which reduces it. Also, I maintain that every encounter between the sincere Christian and Gods Word, the law of thy mouth (Psalm 119:72), however harrowing or humbling its import, brings joy as its spin-off... and the keener the Christian the greater the joy. I know for myself what it is to enjoy the Biblethat is, to be glad at finding God and being found by Him in and through the Bible; I know by experience why the Psalmist called Gods message of promise and command his delight (Psalm 119:14, 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 77, 92, 143, 174ten times!) and his joy (vs 111, cf. 162; Psalm 19:8), and why he said that he loved it (Psalm 119:47, 48, 97, 103, 113, 119, 127, 140, 159, 163, 167eleven times!); I have proved, as have others, that as good food yields pleasure as well as nourishment, so does the good word of God. So I am all for Christians digging into their Bibles with expectations of enjoyment...
What is enjoyment? Essentially, it is a by-product: a contented, fulfilled state which comes from concentrating on something other than enjoying yourself... Bible study will only give enjoyment if conforming to our Creator in belief and behavior, through trust and obedience, is its goal. Bible study for our own pleasure rather than for God ends up giving pleasure neither to Him nor to us... what brings joy is finding Gods way, Gods grace and Gods fellowship through the Bible, even though again and again what the Bible saysthat is, what God in the Bible tells usknocks us flat.”


1.   What, if anything, hinders you from regular serious Bible study? What will you do about it?

2.   Examine in detail the amount and depth of Bible study youve engaged in over the past year. What do you conclude?

3.   What, if anything, will you need to change in your schedule in order to make time for regular serious Bible study? What plans should you make?

4.   Would it help motivate and discipline you to study the Scriptures if you had a Christian friend to whom you were accountable? Is there someone you could approach to establish such a relationship, perhaps in the context of a prayer partnership?

5.   Did Sproul or Packer say anything that surprised you? Why? Is this what is usually heard about Bible study in Christian circles? If no, why not?