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Inductive Study worksheet

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  • to effectively observe the facts of the passage.
  • to effectively analyze the biblical passage.
  • to accurately interpret the passage.
  • to apply the message of the passage to your life in a way that has integrity.
  • to learn the inductive Bible study method so that you can apply the process to other passages.
  • to build confidence in your abilities to study the Bible well.

Evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

  • Is it complete?
  • Is it thorough? In depth?
  • Is it your own work?
  • Is there evidence of your own creative and critical thinking?
  • Did you master the inductive study method? Do you know what you are doing?
  • Is it neat and readable?


A1.  Read your passage.  Write down what you think the passage means for you in one paragraph.  Now . . . forget all those assumptions you just wrote down.

A2.  Pretend you have never read your passage before. Read it again and write down 30 or more observations about it.  Number the observations please.  If you were a Martian and wanted to really figure this story out, what questions would you ask?  Please write down questions that don’t have obvious answers in the story itself.  Write 10 good questions about your passage.

A3.  Read your Bible story again, two or three times.  Look up 20-30 words or concepts from your passage that you think have a different cultural or historic meaning than the meaning of the word or concept today in North America. Put down the definitions for each word using your own words.  Look up each word in at least two Bible dictionaries.  Make endnotes for each dictionary.

A4.  Using the Bible dictionaries and other Bible sources, try to answer your own ten questions from step 2. Aim to answer at least 5 of the questions.

A5.  Draw a map where you can show the location of your story.


B1.  Write down what genre you think your passage is ________________________.  Then write down at least 4 principles for interpreting this genre type.

B2.  Read the whole book that your passage appears in.  Write one paragraph about how your story functions in the book.

B3.  Write a paragraph summarizing the story just before your passage. Then, write a paragraph summarizing the story just after your passage (you aren’t interpreting either story).  Then, write a third paragraph about possible reasons why the writer put your passage where he did.

B4.  Do the vertical chart on the enclosed page. Watch for detailed instructions in class.


C1.  List all kinds of interpretations—what the story meant for the original audience—from absurd to probable.  You should have a list of at least 10-20 interpretations.

C2.  State in one sentence what you think the primary message or meaning of the story is for the original audience (not for you).  Write this on the following chart. Also complete the sentence below that says, “I know this is true because . . .” Continue to do this with secondary meanings for the original audience. You may only have two, but you may have up to four.

C3.  Write an essay where you describe all the cultural and historical evidence that you found and how that evidence proves each one of your interpretations.  This should be a 1-3 page paper.

C4. Next you will check your interpretations with other texts from the Bible. You will look in other Bible passages that deal with the same topics to see if most of the rest of the Bible either supports or challenges your interpretations.  This is called making correlations. If most of the Bible seems to give a different meaning or interpretation than what you said your story gave, then you need to ask yourself if you have the right interpretation.  Look up five other Bible passages that deal with the same topic as your topic.  Type one paragraph for each passage (total 5 paragraphs).  State whether these new Bible passages either support or challenge your interpretations. 


D1.  Now you can cross the “hermeneutical bridge.” For every interpretation you made, you must now make an appropriate application.  Go back to the interpretation/application chart. Write down the eternal truth or application for our society that you can bring “across the bridge.” Also answer the question, “This is a needed societal application because . . .”

D2. Next, write a paragraph for each interpretation/application you made and discuss what this application means for you.  This is different from the chart in that before you were making applications for North American society.  Here you are making personal applications. Answer this question, “What is God trying to say to me in 2016?”

D3.  Write one paragraph where you reflect honestly on whether or not you will respond positively or not to what God is trying to say to you.  In other words, will you say yes to the meaning of the passage for you, or will you say no? You don’t have to say yes for my benefit.  I want honesty.


  1. Write down any remaining questions you have about the Bible passage. Good inductive study always leads to more questions. Use a separate sheet of paper.
  1. Write a paragraph where you describe each of the inductive steps: observation, analysis, interpretation and application. Then explain why each step is important. Then explain why they have to go in the order they do.  For example, what would be bad about doing the application step first?

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