Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Do You Tell your Broccoli Where to Go?
I could write a whole boring post about why I love inductive Bible study, why I think it's the only way to truly study the Bible and why I think people who do not practice it do not grow as they could spiritually. I could make arguments for all that and more, but, instead, I'm going to make a list.
Inductive Bible study does the following:
******It protects you from false doctrine.
******It protects you from spiritual abuse.
******It keeps you from making presumptions about the Bible.
******It gives you discernment.
******It hones your ability to perceive God's will in your life.
******It empowers you to stand against oppression
One woman I know had never done inductive Bible study before and I taught her how. Years later, she said she's now able to understand the Bible better and that learning this "opened the Bible up like never before." Praise be. Mission accomplished.
I have met people who feel intimidated about doing inductive Bible study. It is not difficult. Our gracious Holy Spirit guides us to comprehend only what we are ready for. He wants us to understand the Bible. There is no mystery. You need two things:
Observation of Scripture means simply to observe what's written in the Bible. I highly recommend going through a book of the Bible systematically to avoid making assumptions. I have done a few studies that were not simply through a book from start to finish. I led a study on Christology and another on prayer. I'm always nervous to do that, however, for fear I will alter something. No one is immune from doing that. Observation leads to interpretation. We observe what the Bible says, dig deeper for word meanings and tenses. Pay attention to grammar and locations, history and traditions of the day, etc. It's a good idea to write your observations down.
I do not include application as one of the steps of Bible study, but many people do. That makes no sense to me. I have had people try to apply the Bible to my life and they have all missed the mark. We simply can't apply the Bible to another person's life, nor can we really apply it to our own lives. That's the job of the Holy Spirit....Who is perfectly capable of applying His Word to our lives as He sees fit. It will not return void...this is a promise....it's enough for us to read It, observe it and not take His matters into our own hands. Because It is alive, It will change your life without your help.
Trying to apply God's Word to your life, or to someone else's life, is like telling your food where to go in your body. If you are eating broccoli and chicken, do you tell that broccoli where to go? Do you say, "Now, broccoli, go to my legs, they are feeling weak today." Or do you say, "Meat, shine up my hair, it's rather dull." It simply doesn't work that way. You eat a steady, healthy diet and the food nourishes your body over time. A steady diet of inductive Bible study, coupled with expository preaching in your local church makes for spiritual health. This is one reason my husband has been fully committed to expository preaching for 30 years.
Applying the Bible to someone's life is also fuel for legalism. Most people want to please other people and get the idea that if they change their behavior, they will be accepted. Changing outward behavior can never be a goal of true spiritual growth. If there's a heart change, the outward behavior will automatically follow. Many pastors push for behavior changes and many people comply. It's like saying, "Behave yourself as you go to Hell!"
God wants us to understand His Word. (Colossians 1:9 & 10)
He wants us to know Him. (Philippians 3:10)
He has promised to help us. (Matthew 28:20)
He has promised us peace. (Philippians 4:9)
He has given us His Spirit forever. (John 14:16)