There are several different kinds of Bible Study Methods that are equally effective (depending on the use and delivery). In Rick Warren’s book “12 Dynamic Bible Study Methods”, Rick Warren presented 12 nice Bible study methods. Personally, I already have tried all of them and found it very advantageous for my ministerial work.
However, since we are just trying to work on simple things, we will concentrate on simple things. I just want to assure the first timers that doing a simple Inductive Bible Study is an adventure.
Before we go to the methodology of Inductive Bible Study, let us first identify common tools that you will be needing in your study. Just like a carpenter, he needs his tools in order to get his job well done. The same thing in preaching, since you are a preaching trainees, then you will need to have good tools in order to get your job well done.
Bibles – there is nothing more important in studying the word of God than your Bible. The Bible should be the basis of what you are going to preach and not other books, not other Bible study materials that you can get out from the market. But sometimes, we just try to neglect our Bibles and do not even bother to bring it in our church.
It is up to you what kind of version you are going to use in your study. It is always best to have several versions in your desk so that you can compare it with each other. However, in choosing your preferred illustration, my highest recommendations are NIV, KJV, and NKJV. I know that some other translations are good, but these three translations are not only the most common, but they are easier to understand in our time (except the KJV old english) and to the most part of the world.
I would say that NIV doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to scholarly translation, but it is a lot easier to understand if you understand English yet you are not an American. KJV is still the finest translation for me, but because of it’s old english style, I rather have NIV than that. The good thing however is that NKJV came out. King James Version is still intact in NKJV, but the English form has been updated and that it became more understandable to common people. (Please see Recommended Bibles)
Study Bibles – I would suggest that instead of using ordinary Bibles use Study Bibles. Aside from a Bible, Study Bibles offers you an all-in-one study tools for making sermons. If you are are just aiming to make a simple Bible Study, Study Bibles will be enough for your needs. A common Study Bible have the following: Commentary, Concordance, Maps, Cross-References, Book’s Background, Introduction to each book, List of Measurements, Scholar Notes, Helpful Diagrams, etc. Study Bibles are like Swiss Knives. A very useful immediate tools, but please note that it has a very limited usefulness. Study Bibles is not enough if you are really doing a very extensive Bible study.
Commentary – Commentaries are scholarly collection of notes about each passages found in the Bible. They give explanations to each passages and various interpretations and views. Its main purpose is to analyze and interpret the passages by analizing the words used, introduction, background of the book and of the passages, grammar and syntax, and the relation of each book to the rest of the Bible.
Commentary are very helpful tools and if used properly, can indeed give a great knowledge to its readers. The danger however lies on the user’s dependency on Commentaries. There are lots of Preaching Students depend on the comments and notes of the scholars. Instead of discovering more and studying the passage, they settle on what the commentators are saying. Commentaries are very helpful, but we have to remember that they are not Bibles.
Exhaustive Concordance – this is one of the most helpful tools that you may really want to have. This book contains a Bible Index of words of a particular version of the Bible. As I said, most Study Bibles and some of the Bibles already have a concordance. But this one is an “Exhaustive Concordance”. An Exhaustive Concordance lists every usage of every word aside from giving you all the passages where that particular word has been used.
I will not be going into much details of the Exhaustive Concordance. But these book comes in huge volume and quite expensive but it worth every penny that you will be investing on it.
There are still several tools that you may want to have. But these four are the basic and the most needed in your study. I will be giving you more recommended tools at the end of our lesson series.
Preparing For The Study
It is very important to be prepared in each Bibly Study that you are going to make. Without preparation, your Bible study will fall into a trap of mediocre work and won’t become the most delicious spiritual food for your audience.
Here are the tips that I can give you (based on experience) in your preparation for a Bible study.
1.Clear your mind. You need to clear your mind few days before doing an extensive Bible study. You need to free it from worries of any kind and futile thinking. Any bad thought might hinder us in our focus in God’s word. From my own experience, it has been always hard for me to work on God’s word if I am thinking of another thing. Let us say I am planning for an outing, or I am planning to start a business. Before I go and sit and work on my study, I need to clear my mind from all these things.
2.Pray before starting. Before we start our study, we have to pray first to God for wisdom who gives it generously. I did tried studying the Bible without praying. The results where catastrophic, I never got the things right and it seems that I haven’t studied at all. This is the uniqueness of God’s word in comparison to all other books. The Bible is harder to understand especially if we do not have the blessings of the Holy Spirit while reading it.
3.Set a particular time for your study. This will help you give enough time in studying rather than studying only when you want. Time is gold, and we always want to make the most out of our time.
4.Deal with your study per project. What I mean is, make a self-project stating what you want to accomplish in each study. This will help you see the developments of your work and will help you encourage yourself to go a little farther than what you already did.
5.Do not depend on the tools so as copying other peoples work. Remember that you are to study and discover and reflect on God’s word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Tools are there to help you understand the passages that you are studying. But depending on it won’t give you any advantage of fulfilling the purpose of your study.
You May Want These Discounted Preaching Books Now!!!
By Calvin Miller / Baker
Dr. Miller’s ability to craft words that capture the imagination of hearts has been apparent for a generation. He is rightly concerned that this new generation of seekers and sojourners is not connecting with the timeless truths of Scripture. He challenges preachers and pastors to learn how to connect with the current culture and shows how this is possible. Do you want to learn the art of storytelling from a master? Dr. Miller can show you.Preaching Magazine has honored Preaching: the Art of Narrative Exposition as the 2007 Book of Year.
Dr. Calvin Miller is Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry at Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL. He has written over forty books.
Biblical Preaching, Second Edition
By Haddon Robinson / Baker
Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching has become a modern classic on the preparation and delivery of expository sermons. Much has changed, however, in twenty years and Robinson has undertaken the task of updating his work to benefit a new generation of preachers who will speak to a markedly different world.
While retaining the original outline of the book and Robinson’s ten-stage process of sermon development, this new edition offers significant improvements. Many of the illustrations and arguments have been updated, the prose has been changed to gender-inclusive language, each chapter is enhanced with suggestions for further study, and the discussions of narrative and inductive preaching have been expanded.
By Ramesh Richard / Baker
“The Bible is what God has made. Sermons are what we make with what God has made.” This is the foundation for developing expository messages, according to Ramesh Richard. His method has been field-tested in training seminars for thousands of preachers around the world. Richard’s book is a simple do-it-yourself resource for developing and preaching expository sermons. It guides the reader through a seven -step process, with many practical suggestions and illustrative charts along the way. In addition, there are eleven appendixes that include information on: how to choose a text; preaching narratives; understanding your audience; and forms of sermon introduction. A comprehensive sermon evaluation questionnaire is included as well. This book is an updated and expanded version of Scripture Sculpture, is ideal for beginning preachers, lay preachers without formal training, or any pastor who is looking for a refresher course in expository sermon preparation.