Inductive Bible Study

Posted by on 09/14/2016 in: ,

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As a teacher of the Inductive Bible Study Method I am often asked, “What is Inductive Bible Study?”. Unfortunately, there is really no short answer to that question.  Inductive Bible Study is more of an approach to the Bible than it is any particular technique. In fact the “Inductive Method” that we teach in the School of Biblical Studies is really a collection of Bible study techniques combined in such a way as to help the student maintain an “inductive posture” toward the text. The shortest description I can give of this approach is this, “Inductive study is an approach to the Bible that helps the student build their conclusions from observations of the text.” In other words – observation first, conclusions second.  Sounds simple, but there are complications. To illustrate let me tell a very old folk tale.

The Two Travelers and the Farmer

A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment. “What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”

“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

“They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”

“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”
-North American Folk Tail (Source uncertain)

This story illustrates many points but the one I think is the most relevant to Biblical study is that people tend to see what they expect to see. Or to put it another way, what people bring to the Bible greatly influences what they take away from the Bible. How do we prevent this? By doing all we can to set aside our preconceived ideas about the text and focus on two things – reading and observation -forgoing judgment until we have thoroughly analyzed the text. We need to learn to let the text speak.  We need to let our observations drive our conclusions. Rather than simply taking our conclusions to the text for testing, or worse yet, merely looking for validation of what we already believe or have been told. The text is always right and proper interpretation is defined as what the author meant and what the original readers would have understood.  To understand the author and original readers of the text we must first identify them and their issues. This is historical context and it is critical to our understanding of what the text is really saying. Our situation should not even be considered until we understand what was meant when it was written. To sum up, understand what the text says, who wrote it, and as much about the original readers as you can. Careful reading of the text in its proper historical context is the key to proper interpretation.

After we have discovered the meaning in the original historical context we are finally ready to take that giant leap forward in time and culture to our present time and circumstances. By identifying the timeless truths at work under the specifics of the text, we can then begin to ask questions about why these truths are significant today. The timeless truths driving the ancient solutions then become the truths directing our modern applications. By building these disciplines in students it is possible to train them to truly listen to the text each time they read it, rather than simply seeing what they expect to see.

The three main steps of inductive study to remember are these:

Observation – What the text actually says.

Interpretation – What the text meant to those to whom it was originally written.

Application – How do we respond to the timeless truths of the text today?

Text first, original audience second, our perspective last.  The Bible was written for us – not to us. Use the clear passages to understand the obscure passages, and most of all pray. And may God enlighten you as you continue to explore his word.

Tom Possin is the director of the School of Biblical Studies in Lakeside, Montana

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Look Inside: LifeConnect Study Bible

Posted by on 09/13/2016 in: ,

Black ipad on old wood table background

By Olive Tree Employee: Harold Coleman

How do we move from reading the Bible to applying it to our lives?  For many the idea of “studying” the Bible is overwhelming and questions soon follow: What commentary should I use? Do I need to know Greek or Hebrew to really understand Scripture? Does it take college-level training to understand Scripture? For the vast majority of Christians, these things aren’t necessary. Most of what is necessary to know God is simple to understand in a normal reading of the Bible, regardless of our education.

I recommend the LifeConnect Study Bible Notes as a companion to learning to apply the word of God to our lives because of the simple S.O.A.P. method that it uses. Pastor Wayne Cordeiro believes it shouldn’t be so hard to apply Scripture, and he provides simple-to-understand examples of this method that has us read Scripture, make Observations about the text, consider Applications to personal challenges we see in the Scripture, and finally Pray for God’s help in applying the Scripture to our lives.

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With the Olive Tree Bible App, the S.O.A.P. method can be applied to any verse or part of a verse by creating a note for that verse. I will use Ephesians 4:29 as an example of using this method. I first highlight the verse by touching number 29 and selecting Highlight. Then I copy the verse by tapping the verse number again and selecting Copy. Finally, I make a new note, again by touching the number 29 and tapping Note. When the note is open, I paste the copied verse by holding down my finger in the text box and tapping Paste.  I add the S: before the verse section, then the O, A, and P on new lines before I add my thoughts. I often choose specific words or phrases from the Scripture that are meaningful to me at the time.

Here are the results:lifeconnect2

S: Let no corrupt word proceed out …
but what is good
for necessary edification
… impart grace to the hearers.
O: Context Eph. 4:20-32 Put off the old Put on the New
Let no – this means it is my responsibility to not talk or act out of my old ways. I may need the Holy Spirit’s help but God expects me to stop the wrong action before it comes out.
No heat of the moment emotion justifies letting the old self out. It is opposite of good and tears down rather than edifies (builds up).
The verse doesn’t say to immediately follow up not speaking ill with speaking good. I may need to walk away, pray, think it through, or even come back another day to be able to speak good and edifying words, once my way of thinking is more like that of Christ. It needs to be full of grace, the same grace I receive from Christ.
A: This has implications throughout my life. With my spouse, my children, my extended family and friends, with co-workers and supervisors, and with strangers driving cars in ways I don’t appreciate.
P: Lord this seems so overwhelming to me but neither Paul nor you expect it to be that way. My hope is in the working of the Holy Spirit that assists me in putting to death the deeds of the flesh and allowing Christ to be glorified though my putting on the renewed nature. Help me to stop before my thoughts become words or actions. Help me to anticipate your love flowing through me until I can see ways of building up and giving grace to those you put in my life.
Along with the 70+ S.O.A.P. notes from Wayne Cordeiro that can be used both as short devotionals and as examples of this method, the LifeConnect Study Bible Notes also include:

  • Over 50 articles that bring truths to life written by Wayne Cordeiro
  • Introductions to each book of the Bible, which includes timelines, and outlines of the book
  • Thousands of verse by verse notes providing background to Scripture
  • Insightful quotes for reflection
  • Maps related to various time periods of the Scriptures.

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These resources can be found through the table of contents in the LifeConnect Study Bible Notes and by using the Resource Guide as you read through your Bible on your own.

Follow the link to find out more about the LifeConnect Study Bible Notes!

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Look Inside: New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Posted by on 09/12/2016 in: ,

The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is a revised and expanded edition of the original TSK. It adds over 100,000 new cross-references, and supplies many more key words to the Bible text, making this the most complete collection of biblical cross-references ever published. Using it with the Olive Tree Bible App you’ll save tons of time and effort.  No longer do you have to leave your original text to search for a reference.

From the publisher:

An incredible 1-volume Bible reference library, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is a unique resource for Bible study, teaching, or preaching. Dozens of special study aids help you develop powerful lessons or sermons – straight from the Bible itself! No other tool better helps you interpret Scripture with Scripture. Unlike any tool you’ve ever seen – loaded with helps not available anywhere else.

More flexible than a concordance, more thorough than a topical Bible, more discovery-oriented than a commentary, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge opens windows, doors, and connecting passageways into every fascinating book of the Bible. Whether you have minutes to prepare a devotional or hours to devote to in-depth study, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge maximizes your study of God’s word.

In this blog I”ll demonstrate how to use it with the Bible App running on an iPad.

First, select your preferred Bible translation in the main window. Then tap and drag the split window to access the Resource Guide in the App. The Resource Guide takes your downloaded material and connects it with the text you have open in the main window.

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Under the ‘Related Verses’ section you’ll see resources listed along with a number badge. The number indicates how many entries there are in that resource for the text that is open in the main window. Since I have the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge installed, the Bible App has found cross references relevant to the passage in 1 Corinthians that I’m reading. I can then tap on the  New TSK to see all 6 entries that are indicated.

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The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge organizes these cross references by topic and by verse making it easy to do further study on the particular themes found in 1 Corinthians 13.

I can then tap the reference in the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and view it as a popup, or even split it out into a new window without leaving my original text.  This feature alone saves me valuable time that I’d otherwise spend flipping back and forth between references.

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As you can see, having the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge  in the Bible App will help you broaden your biblical understanding of specific themes and enable you to quickly study large portions of scripture.

You can add this great resource to your account HERE!

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Four Steps To Your Ultimate
Study Bible!

Posted by on 09/06/2016 in: ,

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If you’re ready to take the next step in your study of the Bible than this blog is for you. Read on to find out how to build your own custom study Bible!

Step 0: Use the Olive Tree Bible App

We don’t want to assume anything here but the foundation is important and the building blocks of your ultimate study Bible start with our Bible App.  You can search resources in a matter of seconds, quickly look up cross references, and study anywhere. You don’t have to worry about flipping pages or having a large desk so that you can open all your books at once. Instead, carry your entire library on your phone, tablet, or laptop. There is no steep learning curve required to use the app and all the features are intuitive. So, download the app & let’s move to Step 1.

Step 1: Add a Bible Translation

A lot of people don’t think about Bible translations and how they can help their Bible study. For many, they use whatever Bible translation they were given when they became a Christian and never give it a second thought. Yes, the thee’s and thou’s of the KJV may be quite poetic, but what good is it if you cannot understand what you’re reading? In many respects, the Bible is already a difficult book to study, so why make it harder with a difficult to read translation? There is nothing wrong with owning a Bible written in a modern translation.

When choosing a Bible translation, you should find one that works for you. One helpful idea is to get a translation that is word-for-word in its translation of the original languages and also a second that is more thought-for-thought or a balance between the two.

Once you have your Bible translations, you’re ready to build the rest of your ultimate study Bible library.

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Step 2: Add Study Notes

Next to the Bible, if you had to spend money on one resource, hands down it would have to be a study Bible. These are great tools because they are an all-in-one resource. You get commentary, introductions, and a wealth of other useful features. With so many study Bibles on the market, wisdom is needed when making a purchase. You want to make sure you’re buying something that will help you understand what you’re reading and keep things in their proper context.

A good study Bible should contain: thorough study notes, book introductions, maps, charts & illustrations, and Bible chronologies. A few worth checking out include: the ESV Study Bible, NLT Study Bible, NKJV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, and the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible.

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Step 3: Add Key Reference Tools

As you expand your library beyond Bibles and study Bibles, you should start by adding key reference tools. This is a broad category that ranges from single volume commentaries to Bible dictionaries and atlases.

Bible commentaries come in many flavors and vary in their target audience, which is often reflected in the price. Because of their depth, commentaries can quickly become the most expensive tool in your library. A good place to start is with a single volume commentary since they cover the entire Bible. While single volume commentaries may not be as thorough as their single-book counterparts, they do take time to cover all passages in general and are sure to explain the more difficult ones, making them useful additions to your library.

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While study Bibles and commentaries are good at explaining the text of the Bible, they don’t always give enough detail about some of the Bible’s concepts and words. This is where a good Bible dictionary comes into play, which is, in effect, an encyclopedia for the Bible. To illustrate it’s usefulness, let’s say you’re reading the gospels and you encounter the Pharisees and Sadducees. Who are these guys and where did they get their authority? A Bible dictionary will explain who they are so you’re not left clueless about their role and purpose in the Bible.

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Atlases are a fantastic tool to have in your library. If we’re honest, most of us aren’t familiar with the geography of the lands from Bible times. Not to mention, it’s difficult to find many places mentioned in the Bible on a modern map. Atlases provide you with extensive maps that help you get a lay of the land so that you can make better sense of the Bible’s narrative. Many atlases also provide relevant commentary on the Bible that corresponds to the map or picture.

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Many of these tools you can add to your Olive Tree library at minimal cost and they will go a long way in helping you study the Bible.

Step 4: Add Advanced Reference Tools

Most people could stop at Step 3, but if you’re the person who wants to dive deeper into God’s Word you can buy more advanced reference tools. Resources that fall into this category would include: single book commentary sets, Greek & Hebrew lexicons, and more extensive versions of the tools found in Step 3. These are the tools often used by pastors, seminary students and others. This is an area where you can spend a lot of money, but each resource is well worth the cost.

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Build Your Ultimate Study Bible Today

By following the above steps, you will have built your own Ultimate Study Bible and have all the essential tools needed to study the Bible. Start building yours today with our Build Your Ultimate Study Bible sale!

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