Going deeper into God’s word
Published 06 June 2012
There are too many Christians who do not know the Word of God well, believes Sue Bennett.
Sue is a Bible trainer with Precept Ministries, an organisation committed to establishing people in God’s Word.
It does this by organising inductive Bible studies and training Christians to run their own.
The concept is simple: take a passage of Scripture, read through it, and mark key words with different symbols.
It’s so easy that even kids could do it - and there is something about it that feels like being back in school again – but you soon start to realise why it’s so effective.
Inductive Bible study is less about telling you what the Scripture means and more about giving people the tools to see the answers that are already there in the text.
The idea is to have people read through the text and mark one thing, for example the word “Spirit”, and then have them read through again, this time marking something else, for example “Son of God”.
It’s a clever way of getting people to actually read the passage they have been given thoroughly, rather than skimming over, as is so often the case in our time-limited world.
In addition to marking words, the reader is encouraged to think over six questions as they go down the passage: Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how?
It’s all about helping people to slow down and see what the Bible actually says so that it becomes a resource for their lives that they can draw from in any situation.
“You need to do more than just read the Bible,” says Sue. “You need to really be in touch with it.”
Sue swears by inductive Bible study. Some people try simple repetition in an attempt to memorise key passages, but she believes this is a great alternative for people who feel that the words simply don’t sink in.
“I know I miss things when I rush through. I miss the things of value. I could just read through, but doing it this way, there is more value," she says.
As Christians we know we should read the Bible but we often find ourselves as busy as everyone else and struggling to find those precious moments to set aside for proper Bible reading.
It’s a problem Sue can relate to. As a pastor’s wife, with children and a full-time role in the running of the church, she didn’t think she had time to train up and do inductive Bible study sessions with herself, let alone with a group from her church.
But she soon found herself hooked and even her children testified how much she had changed as a result.
“I didn’t think I had the time when I started this, because, well, we don’t have the time!” she quipped.
“But I moved from two hours to 20 hours’ study a week and I don’t know what changed. The children still got fed and taken to their lessons. I think it’s because I listened to God.”
She continued: “It’s a way of life. I keep an inductive study book in my handbag and I do a little bit here and there when I have some spare time. It’s great for that. You can even do a bit as you wait for your train or your bus.”
Sue runs an inductive Bible study every Wednesday that is attended by people from different denominations.
What brings them together is a simple “love for Scriptures”, she says.
“It strips away all the preconceptions that you bring to the page and you see what the text actually says.”
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