3 Reasons We Use Inductive Bible Study

Have you ever had a bad Bible Study experience?  You show up and the conversation flies over your head.  Someone else in the group monopolizes the conversation.  You look around and no one seems willing to learn or change.  You wonder why anyone comes.  You wonder why you even bothered to show up.

Inductive Bible Study dodges these hang-ups ... and others.

Here're three reasons we use Inductive Bible Study:

1) Our Theology

We believe that God alone can make the deepest and eternal changes in lives and cultures.  We believe God does this when we read and respond to his word.  So, we need a method of Bible Study that encourages people to hear and respond to God.  People don't need to hear us, they need to hear God.

A Bible Study technique in line with this theology will drive people into the word.  Watch the eyes of someone engaged in one of our Inductive Bible Studies.  They're constantly bouncing back to the Bible.  That's what we want.

2) Our Context

Working with college students, people in campus ministry surround themselves with people who are over-taught.  College-life is full of learning, but not always full of putting that learning to use.  Schools try to work around this with projects and internships, but the vast majority of the things students learn, never get put to use.

This information-without-application, knowledge-without-transformation, proves deadly in the Christian life.  As James says, we don't want to be like the man who looks at himself in the mirror and walks away without combing his hair, forgetting what he looks like.  Knowledge, according to Paul, puffs up. 

But Inductive Bible Study constantly pushes for application.  How are we going to respond to God's word?  And this application is something students long for ... they're waiting on the world to change.  We need a Bible Study technique that helps them respond, not with legalism or rule-creation, but out of love and worship and obedience.

3) Our Limits

On our campuses, our students find themselves surrounded by tens of thousands of their fellow-students who don't know Jesus.  And these neighbors don't have anyone inviting them to engage Jesus directly, to hear Jesus speak and learn Jesus' story.  And the window of opportunity for these neighbors closes rapidly.  A year, sometimes four, sometimes just a few months.  And that's it.

Our strategy to invite these neighbors into a relationship with Jesus can't include giving our leaders 3 years of seminary.  Our strategy can't involve 6 years of a PhD program.  There has to be a way to equip and send students faster.  Their neighbors need it.

Inductive Bible Study is easy to learn, hard to mess up and faithful for it's purpose.  It isn't perfect, but it's enough to get the light of God's word to people bound in darkness.

Why else do you think Inductive Bible Study might be helpful?


  1. Zoroastrian priests. That is all. :)

  2. Lost me here. What's that about the priests?

  3. Oh my goodness, Steve. Surely you have not forgotten that moment when ManGroup jumped the shark.
    Despite our best efforts, sometimes people tangent off the topic and start talking about Zoroastrian priests. Using Inductive Bible Study isn't a guarantee that it'll go well.

  4. Totally right, Sam. No guarantees. I've led Small Group meetings that have tanked, even with Inductive Bible Study.

    But what would happen to a group with a penchant for Zoroastrian priests if the leaders weren't using Inductive Bible Study?

    Used well, I think Inductive Bible Study could give us the tools and language to get Small Group members back into the passage (and off of the Zoroastrians).

    And you're totally right, some folks - no matter what you try as a leader - have been programmed that Small Group is only a place to show off biblical trivia. But how better to counter their "trivial" fixation than to give them an opportunity to experience something bigger?