Have you ever read the Bible from beginning to end? Have you completed a devotional or topical study?
There are millions of resources out today to study the Word of God. Why then are so many spiritually empty?
God's Word instructs us to, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
There are many ways to study God's Word and I don't believe God has a specific preference as long as it does not take away from His true meaning. I believe that He just wants us to dig in, to learn His Word for ourselves. The truth of God is so evident all around us but we will only know how to live and walk in relationship with Him through His Word and through prayer. These two go hand-in-hand.
One way to study the word is to use the Inductive method. I tried it and I love it because it digs deeper into God's Word and I am an analysis girl! I also love this method because it is not someone's personal commentary. It allows us to understand God's Word in context.
I have heard so many ministers and teachers misinterpret and take scripture out of context!
We are still responsible for God's Word for ourselves. This method is great in that regard.
Here is an example using Ephesians 1 (NASB).
First I read through the entire chapter and answered the questions above. These basic questions are not so basic because they cause us to think about what we have read from God's Word. Apostle Paul was writing to the believers at Ephesus. He was explaining to them that they were chosen by God and Christ had already done the work! He prayed that they would gain greater wisdom and knowledge in the truth about Christ.
I then begin to look at the key words and the various parts of speech. This was very eye opening because I have read the Bible numerous times but I never really zoned in on the different parts of speech. They teach you many things all by themselves. The pronouns used in Ephesians 1 showed that there was some connections and ownership. The relationship was that they were all believers in Christ. The ownership was that salvation belonged to them. They received Him. One pronoun that stood out was (Himself). This pronoun spoke of God and that He had done the work through Christ for them. Nothing else was needed. It was a gift. Finally, there were some adjectives that emphasized Christ. Like, All things are subject to Him and Apostle Paul praying for the kind of Spirit He wanted God to give them, spirit of wisdom and revelation. These words are very important because then they would truly have a deeper understanding of what God had done for them.
Other parts of speech that stood out in chapter 1 of Ephesians were the prepositions and verbs. There were even more prepositions than these. The ones that stood out to me were the descriptions of God's plan of redemption (before the foundation of the world, through Jesus Christ, through His blood, from God). Some verbs that stood out were (predestined, enlightened, raised, seated, obtained). These terms help me to understand even more that God is all knowing. He knew what would be needed to set us free. He loves us more than we will ever know.
The next step in the inductive method is interpretation. This is one of the most critical parts. I went through and wrote the main idea for what I believe are the different sections of Ephesians chapter one. Overall, I believe that the main focus was that the saints would understand and grow in the wisdom of Christ.
The final step in the Inductive method is Application. The application step is simply how does this apply to my life? What is the Biblical principle?
I believe the Biblical principle of Ephesians 1 is "There is none higher than Christ." We were sealed as we placed our trust in Him and allow Him to transform our lives. Nothing else is needed! He is our redeemer and this was God's doing, not man's.
Don't Doubt, Trust Him!