The Inductive Bible Study is a well-known method used in adult Bible study. It utilises the Bible as the primary source of study to learn about God and what the Bible teaches.
Inductive Bible study encourages the student to read a Scripture from the Bible and draw his or her own conclusions instead of depending on someone else’s interpretation or just accepting what someone tells you to believe.
Personal application is an important aspect of inductive study. Students are guided to apply the scripture to their own lives.
As Bible teachers we all want our students to connect with God and His word. We don’t just want to tell them what to believe and deny them the joy of self-discovery. And, of course, we want them to apply what they have learned in their everyday life. So here is a little more about the method and how it my apply to children.
The Three Essential, Inductive Bible Study Questions are:
1. What does this Scripture say?
2. What does this Scripture mean?
3. How does this apply to me?
Three Column Method:
A common application of the Inductive Bible Study is to have the student divide a paper into 3 columns and then use only the Bible to respond.
- Column One: Copy the Scripture passage from a Bible (You will need to re-read the passage a number of times as you write it down so this leads your to establish God’s Word in your mind.)
- Column Two: Restate the Scripture in our own words (This can be done as if you were explaining it to someone. Understanding deepens in this step because you have to understand something to explain it.)
- Column Three: List ways you will respond to this Scripture (This could be something you will do or stop doing, believe or stop believing or something you will confess. This is a natural heartfelt response to what God has spoken.)
How to Use This with Children in Bible Class:
- Use the 3 Column Method just as it is described above. Each child will need a Bible, paper and pencil/pen.
- Use a Pre-printed 3 Column Worksheet and use the 3 Column Method as described above. This worksheet can be used with any lesson.
- Prepare your own worksheet before class with the Scripture Pre-printed. Although the children won’t get the maximum benefit from copying the Scripture themselves, it allows them to participate in inductive study in a shorter amount of time.
- Experiment with various ways of presenting this method to children. Here are a number of examples using the scripture Isaiah 9:6 for teaching the story Prophecy Fulfilled in Jesus:
Here is a way to adapt the inductive method to a timeline. Each week the teacher taught the Bible Class and made a point to read as much as possible straight from the Bible. The teacher then placed a picture depicting the story on the board and then asked the children to respond using post-it notes. This was added on each week so it could be used for review.
- Pink Post-it Note: A fact I learnt from this story
- Blue Post-it Note: Something I learnt about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit
- Green Post-it Note: Something I should do or feel after this story