In the last post, I covered the basics of the Inductive Bible Study process, which is a three-stepper. To quote, well, myself from that post, “Because Inductive Bible Study is a three-step process, and always a three-step process, anyone can learn it. I make sure the kids in my class have these three steps hammered into their little heads before they graduate from my class!… My class is about serving them fish (whatever study we’re in) and teaching them to fish (for any and all future studies).”
While the hammer is warmed up, I also have four big truths I repeat and repeat to make sure they get those down pat, too.
The four big truths are:
1) Context is king.
Always, always, I mean always look at the context of what you’re reading. Never take anything out of context intentionally or accidentally. It happens all the time, and Scripture-twisting is offensive to God and makes you your very own “scholarly” idol.
2) Scripture never contradicts Scripture.
The Bible is an extraordinary collection of writings by about 40 different authors from different times, countries, cultures, levels of education, experiences, and languages. And yet… there is consistency and harmony. That’s the hand of God, preserving His Word for generation after generation. There’s no contradiction, so if you see something that appears to be contradictory, it’s time to get to work. I tell my students that the Bible is meant to be studied and questioned and explored.
3) Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture.
Since #2 is true, then this is true. The first place to look for commentary on Scripture is in Scripture itself. Read your cross-references. See what else the Bible says on your topic (starting with the same author whenever applicable). Use your concordance to follow a word’s usage. There is often great commentary about the Old Testament in the New Testament. See how Scripture answers your questions about itself before you go to the writings of men (even brilliant men!)
4) Who is the main character?
No matter what story, letter, or psalm you’re reading, the main character is always God. Even in Esther, where His name never appears, He is the main character. So always look to see what He’s doing.
By the way, He’s also the main character in your story.
So there you have it-the fishing lesson that I teach my students over and over. They can always answer my questions about it, and I’ve even watched one of them teach it to all the others. Kids can absolutely understand this stuff, and they should.