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Dr. Danny's Teacher-to-Teacher Podcast

Jan 29, 2021

  • Why?: How do you study in order to teach the Bible?
  • What?: The goal in studying is to understand what God said to the original recipients through the human author's writing and then to help your learners apply that truth to their lives. An efficient way to do that is a method called inductive Bible study. That could sound a bit complicated, so let me explain and let me start with what NOT to do. I could approach the Bible with the idea that there is no role for physical descendants of Israel in the end times. Then, I could go to Revelation, chapter 7, where it says that 144 thousand were "sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel" and claim support for my idea because in that list, Dan, one of the sons of Israel is not mentioned and Manasseh, one of Joseph's sons IS. I have brought an idea to Scripture and then looked for evidence to confirm my idea. This would be deductive study and it can be dangerous to start there. If, instead I did inductive study, I would start what the Bible author wrote and then draw my conclusions from that. So, using the same example, I could read Revelation, chapter 7, and wonder why that list of sons doesn't match the original sons listed in Genesis 35. If I looked for other lists, I would find that when 12 tribes are mentioned for purposes of going to war—as occurs at the beginning and ending of the book of Numbers—or in the distribution of land—the tribe of Levi is not included and Joseph's double portion through his two sons is included as in Revelation 7. Then, I could look for an explanation why the list of 12 does not include Dan. I would find that in 1 Kings, chapter 12 and Amos, chapter 8, that Dan loses status before God because of pagan worship and I could wonder if that might explain it. I can't know the actual reason because God has not revealed it. In other words, in doing inductive study, I could go as far as the Bible has revealed and no further without risking false conclusions, making the Bible say something that it doesn't.
  • So What?: The point of all this is not the 12 tribes, important as they may be. The point is that IF I go to the Bible with my conclusions already made, I can twist the meaning of the text to fit what I want using what is technically know as eisegesis, which means "reading into the text." If, instead, I go to the Bible and ask what it has to say and what conclusions may be drawn from that, I am allowing the Bible to be my authority. The technical term for this is exegesis, "reading out of the text" and it is what is used in inductive study. Inductive Bible study allows the author of the Bible to speak through the Bible to tell me the truths contained in the Bible.
  • So What Now?: So what will you do when you approach the Bible in order to teach its truths to others? Will you take all your wisdom to the Bible and find support for it there? Or will you allow the Bible to help you grow in wisdom, never knowing what God's Spirit might illumine your heart and mind to this time through the passage?