Inductive Bible Study

How do I lead an inductive Bible study?


An inductive Bible study is led by going through a passage verse-by-verse. Have the people in the group take turns reading one or more verses at a time and do the following:
  • Observation: Understand what the writer is saying to the original audience based on the context of the passage.
    • Ask: "What are some things you notice in these verses?"
  • Interpretation: Interpret what the passage meant to the original audience and how it translates today by considering the context and use of language, grammar, figures of speech, historical background, and theological messages.
    • Ask: "What does the author mean when he says...?"
  • Application: Discuss how we need to respond to what God is saying whether be in our desires, thoughts, attitudes, words, or actions.
    • Ask: "How do you need to apply that to your life?"


To understand what the passage says and gather as much context as possible. Ask the Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? questions.

  • Who is the author of the book?
  • What do we know about this author?
  • Who is the audience that the book was originally written to? 
  • Who is named in the passage?
  • Who are the people named in the passage?
  • Who is speaking? (Is there dialogue or is it a quote?)
  • Who are the pronouns describing? (He, She, They, We, Etc.)
  • What is the purpose of the book as a whole? 
  • What role does the  book play in the overall story of the Bible?
  • What is listed, compared, and/or contrasted?
  • What words can I not give an easy definition of?
  • What is happening in the scripture immediately before and after the scripture we are studying?
  • What are repeated phrases in the passage?
  • What verb tense is used?
  • What other scripture is referenced here?
  • What commands are given?
  • What is the genre of book? Is it a letter, narrative, psalm, prophecy, wisdom literature?
  • Where is the setting of the book?
  • Where is the location of the places listed in the passage?
  • Where is God mentioned in the passage? (Directly, indirectly)
  • When was the book written?
  • When did the story take place?
  • Why did the author write to this audience?
  • Why did the author include this story?
  • Why did God use/include this broken person/action in His Scripture?
  • How does this passage point out sin?
  • How does this passage point to God?
The most important observation question after we have made all our observations is: “What did the writer say to their original audience, not us?” (i.e. a one sentence summary of a passage, can be a long run on sentence)


To understand what the author wrote to their specific audience; and then decipher what that means to us today.

Consider the following...

Differences: Consider the differences in the times and culture that they lived in versus what we live in.
  • What are some differences between what was going on in the passage’s time compared to our day that we live in?
  • Do we have the same amount of scripture revealed?
  • Do we have access to the same amount of scripture?
  • Are our ethics the same?
  • What are the differences between our cultures?
Similarities: Consider similarities in timeless truths that transcend all of time and every culture.
  • What are some similarities that the original audience has with us today?
    • Triune God
    • People
    • Redemption
    • Ethics
    • Fallen Condition
    • Redemptive Solution
  • What is God saying to all humanity across time from this passage? (take out discontinuities, keep similarities, fill in specifics with what God is communicating through the scripture)
The most important question after we have made all our interpretations is: “What is God saying through this passage?” (note: it should sound similar to what we wrote that the writer was saying)


To decide how you need to respond to what God is saying.

Attitude Response
  • How does this passage expose my fallen condition?
  • How am I tempted to not trust God?
  • What am I tempted to hide from God and others?
  • What do I disagree with God about?
  • How does this passage point me to the redemptive solution that God provides?
Personal Response
  • How does God want me to respond to Him from this passage? (i.e. change in my desires, motives, attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions)
Application Statement
Answer the following prompts:
  • Because (fallen condition), I will (redemptive solution)…
  • To do this, I will (personal responses)…


It takes practice and will eventually become natural. 
Leading an inductive Bible study will become more natural the more you study the Bible yourself and gain experience leading others. When in doubt remember that leading an inductive Bible study can be as simple as:
  • Read the Bible Together: Have everyone take turns reading the verses in a passage.
  • Ask Good Questions: What do you notice? What does that mean? How do you apply that?