Starting an Inductive Bible Study Session

Tips for Starting your Inductive Bible Study at

Studying the Bible doesn’t have to be a complicated process reserved only for highly educated theologians. Every Believer can study the Bible deeply and have a rich, rewarding experience. God wants us to know Him and He wants to be made known. One avenue of His revelation to mankind is through His Word. Because He loves us dearly He gives us the Bible so that we may be certain of who He is, what we must do to be saved, and how Christians should live.

There are many different methods of Bible study—lots of ways to dig in deep! The good thing about this is that each Christian can find a method that suits them best. Of course, it may never be super easy because Bible study is a spiritual discipline that must be developed. Don’t look for gravy, look for fruit. (Meaning, don’t look for easy comfort, look for the rewarding fruits of being in God’s Word.)

Once you’ve set up your time and study space it’s time to start. So, how does one go about studying the Bible?

Starting Your Bible Study Session

You may have a book that you’ve purchased, a plan that you’ve downloaded, or an app that you use that will lead you through a topic or passage of Scripture for you to study. Or you may to prefer to use the Bible only. If there’s been a topic or Book on your heart that you’d like to dig deeper into, start there. If not, you can also use your daily Bible reading and just study those passages. (This is assuming you read the Bible daily. If not, you can see this post about choosing plans.)

Once you’ve decided what to study, it’s time to begin.

Put the first things first.

  • Pray that your eyes would be open to the message God wants you to hear from the passage of Scripture you’re studying. Pray for a heart open to apply that message. Pray that He would be glorified in your life and that you would be sanctified. Pray for focus.
  • Praise God for giving you His Word and this opportunity to study it with Him. Praise Him for His goodness and steadfast love.
  • Point your mind to the Passage at hand. Read. Highlight, flag, copy, underline, or journal about things that jump out to you. (I recently read a great bit of advice: If you underline something, add a note as to why you underlined it. I can’t remember where I read that! Sorry I can’t pass credit along!)

Sounds pretty easy, right? Really, the method is simple. And with that general start-up, you can prepare to dig as deeply or broadly (or both) as you’d like.

There are a few different main types of Bible study, and today I’m focusing on inductive study. Inductive study has three main parts.

  • Observation
  • Interpretation
  • Application

So, one would read over a passage several times and really look at what they’re studying in terms of Biblical context, and language, and then interpret what that particular passage means (I call this understanding… as in asking yourself, “Do I understand what I just read?”), and finally, applying what you’ve learned.

It’s easy to read the Bible and understand what you’ve read and close the Book and walk away, and then forget everything you just read. As a homeschooling mom, many years ago I learned about something called “narration.” We employ this method in our little school to help us retain what we’ve studied. It works well for adults studying the Bible as well and fits into the “interpretation” category of inductive study. After you read, and without looking at the passage, you narrate (or re-tell) the passage back to yourself in your own words to make sure you’ve understood it. It’s a simple exercise with great benefits!


How does this all really look?

If I were studying Psalm 1, for example, I would first pray, praise, and point to the passage. I’d read over it at least once or twice, slowly. Then, I might read in my study Bible who wrote this passage (if known), why, to whom, and when. Some of that will remain unknown, and some might be told within the text I’m studying. Then, I’d read it again, studying each verse. (Here, we’ll use just verse one.)

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psa 1:1, KJV)

I’d notice that we’re studying the blessed man. I’d see that the blessed man doesn’t do things the way the ungodly, sinners, or scornful do. I’d also notice that these three descriptions are really synonymous with one another. I’d notice that the blessed man doesn’t walk, stand, or sit with the godless, and that the verbs used here are action verbs that show progressively slowing actions that each take more effort to reverse. All of this is observation. Next, I might have myself narrate this without looking at the verse.
Interpretation would begin by asking what this means. An easy answer would be that the blessed (or godly) don’t act like the ungodly. It’s a blessing to have God in our lives and be His child and we should neither follow nor take up the lifestyle of those that don’t.

Application is living my life in a way that shows that I know, understand, and obey this bit of teaching. I might even spend some time asking myself question of how this might apply in my life right now, or what situations might I face potentially where I would need to show that I don’t follow an ungodly lifestyle or walk in the same paths as unbelievers.


So, in conclusion, choose your passage to study and begin with prayer and praise, and by pointing your focus to the Scripture at hand. Read your passage several times for understanding and interpretation. Then aim to apply it in practical ways. Studying the Bible should always be about growing your relationship with God and maturing your faith. Those inward changes will result in outward ones.

What is God leading you to study? How do you read for understanding and application?

{In a future post, I’ll give tips and tools for enhancing your understanding of difficult passages.}


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Some practical tips for starting your inductive Bible study. Grow your faith by being in the Word! @HeartfeltByAli

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2 thoughts on “Starting an Inductive Bible Study Session

  1. Pingback: Tips for Deductive, Topic, and Word (Bible) Studies | Heartfelt Reflections

  2. Pingback: Bible Study Helps – Understanding Difficult Passages | Heartfelt Reflections

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