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Inductive Bible Study 2

Updated on April 22, 2014
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Observation means to look carefully at the context of the verse or passage. It is where most of your time is spent. Therefore, avoid the temptation to jump into application without digging into the text to see what it says.

Observation emphasizes the question - “What does the bible or author says?

i.e. what do I see, hear, smell or taste?

Seeing, hearing, smelling or tasting anything here requires quality, nothing is trivial or unimportant therefore, don’t over look anything because this lays the foundation for other steps. Identify what is significant in each verse. One way to achieve this, is to question the passage as a reporter by employing newspaper report questions

i.e. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

Who (Actors)

Who said what?

Who did he write it to?

Who are the main characters/receiver/audience

What (Event/Action)

What are the main events?

What are the people like?

What is his purpose of saying this or that?

In what condition was this said or this event happen

When (Time)

When was it written?

When did this event happen?

When did this take place?

When did he say this or that?

Where (Place)

Where was this written

  1. Where did the event happen?
  2. How (Process/ Sequence)

How did it happen?

How did they do it

How many things or people were involved?

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  1. repeated keywords or phrases (i.e. emphasis)
  2. Contrasting words (e.g. but)/ synonyms
  3. Comparison words (e.g. like, likewise, as)
  4. Cause to effect (e.g. because, for, therefore)
  5. Conditional words(e.g. if)
  6. Conclusion words(e.g.)
  7. During the observation exercise, you need to “enter the text” by including yourself in the passage or story (visualize the story as if you were part of the experience) to enable you gain a better feel and experience of what to see, smell, hear or taste in the story.

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Others indicators to lookout for include:

  1. Paragraph themes by identifying units of thought in the text(e.g. transition or change in location, time, theme, thought, action and character)
  2. Note especially things about God or Jesus, what he says or does
  3. What genre of literature is used(e.g. Narrative, Poetry, Apocalyptic, Author’s commentary or letter)
  4. Commands and tone of voice(i.e. action words or verbs) of the actors
  5. Time of the writing and how “time” was expressed.
  6. Culture and Location of the original readers and hearers.
  7. Are there any Old Testament (OT) references or allusions? Look them up! Read the whole passage in the OT, not just the specific verse or phrase. Also note why the author referenced this particular OT passage.


  1. 1. The unusual or unexpected in the text
  2. 2. Anything in the passage that raises a question for you? Anything that intrigues you or perplexes, or troubles you? Write it down!

Good observation is the key to self discovery in God.

© 2014 Abba Elijah aka elijagod


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  • Insightful Tiger profile image

    Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

    Very good tips for studying the Bible after all, the Bible says in

    James 1:22 However, become doers of the word+ and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,+ this one is like a man looking at his own face* in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, and he goes away and immediately forgets what sort of person he is. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law+ that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does.+- (

    I enjoyed your advice to "peer" into to the scriptures, and "enter the text" and "look up" the related verses. You are right on! Good job :)