Hope this finds you well and abundantly blessed. That was my Bus.
It seems to me that it would behove you to have a format with which you could filter the passage or pericope that you are analyzing in your Inductive bible study.
Keep in mind in your Inductive Bible studies that there are two different approaches to ‘Interpreting’ scripture:
- Eisogesis – Basically referring to reading something into the text. We have preconceived ideas and we read the text while filtering it through those ideas. We are quite unable to read the text without Eisogeting the scripture because by default we come to the Bible believing things about God, the Bible, Life, Eternity, Salvation, etc.
- Exogesis – If Eisogesis means reading something into the text, then necessarily Exogesis means not doing that. Exogesis means letting the text tell you what it means. This sounds agreeable, but it is not simple. You will hear exhortation to “keep yourself from Eisogesis” and “let the text tell you what it means,” but just know that doing this is next to impossible. Imagine someone from the jungles of the amazon with no clue about Christianity or anything that would even remotely connect to any ideas he or she holds about God(Even an atheist comes to the Bible with some prefabricated ideas) coming to the Bible and beginning to read it.- THAT would be the closest thing to true Exogesis. Of course, if that scenario was possible the result would be incredible because the Word of God could well lead that person to a saving knowledge of Christ and enable that individual to have an amazing grasp on scripture.
The key to understanding what the Bible is saying is to ask questions. There are questions that the text wants you to answer and there are questions you want the text to answer. Learning to distinguish between the two is vital. There are questions that we approach the text with, thinking that the answers contribute to understanding the passage: whether they do or do not is irrelevant-the fact is we do it. Sometimes the questions help but more often they don’t. If we can learn to ask the questions the text is calling us to answer we do well, and the way to find these questions is usually simple – can the text answer the questions?
Now, you and I both come from the school of thought that simplifies all the questions that we would ask of the text by economizing them into two categories, namely Factual questions and Implication questions.
- Factual questions – asking the basic Who, What, When, Where, and How. We don’t ask ‘why’ because that’s not a factual question – it’s more of an interpretive question, and we are trying to get to the facts when asking factual questions. Someone said that if you cant read what the lines are saying you’re going to have a really hard time figuring out what is actually being said between the lines.
- Implication Questions – asking what the text is clearly suggesting and intimating. Implications are totally legitimate. This is not reading into the text, this is understanding what the author’s purpose by the language he is using.
- If you were explaining the Inductive Bible study method and told me, “You wouldn’t understand because you’re Portuguese!” then we both know what you are saying about anyone who is Portuguese.people.
You remember that the observation phase of Inductive Bible Study has four emphasees, well these questions pertain to each one. Ask Factual and Implication questions about Terms, Structure, Genre, & Atmosphere. Take nothing for grantid.
There is a more intensive approach to the ‘Asking Questions phase of Inductive Bible Study. Here are some incredibly valuable resources to investigate:
- Get ahold of a book called ‘Methodical Bible Study’ by Robert A. Traina. This will be an incredibly valuable resource to you.
- Go to Adrian Serounian Keir’s website – http://www.thebiblicaldetective.com/
Well, that’s all for now mate. I know this is nothing new to you but as we always say repetition is the mother of learning.