Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the Lenses of History, Literature, and Theology
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Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the Lenses of History, Literature, and Theology

B&H Academic / 2016 / Hardcover

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Why another book on inductive Bible study? Since Robert Traina's Methodical Bible Study was published in 1952, dozens of books, ranging from popular-level works to academic textbooks, have presented a methodical, inductive approach to the study of Scriptures. This inductive Bible study is a practical, relevant, and time-tested approach to interpreting Scripture. Yet as evangelical scholarship of the Bible yields greater insight to the field of hermeneutics, there's an ever-present need to incorporate those advances into a usable, applied guide for the study of the Bible.

Fuhr and Köstenberger's Inductive Bible Study incorporates insights from contemporary evangelical hermeneutics into an approachable, step-by-step process moving from observation through interpretation and on to the application of God's Word. Each step is viewed through the lenses of the hermeneutical triad, exploring the historical, literary, and theological elements that impact how one observes, interprets, and applies the Bible. Chapter by chapter, Inductive Bible Study explores a broad representation of biblical texts as it illustrates the steps of inductive methodology across the literary landscape of Scripture. Helpful features of the text include:

  • Asking the right questions of the text
  • Comparing translations
  • Considering various facets of context
  • The study of words and phrases
  • Basic discourse analysis
  • The role of the Holy Spirit in approaching Scripture
  • Determining legitimacy in application and
  • Doing theology as the flow of inductive Bible study

Fuhr and Köstenberger offer a hermeneutically sensitive, step-by-step approach to inductive Bible study that will bring insight and practical benefit to many who endeavor to know God through the depths and riches of his Word, the Bible. Inductive Bible Study is an ideal textbook for courses in biblical interpretation, and for anyone who desires to better understand and teach Scripture.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: B&H Academic
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 9 X 6 X .75 (inches)
ISBN: 1433684144
ISBN-13: 9781433684142

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Author Bio

Andreas J. Köstenberger is founder of Biblical Foundations™ and Senior Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He is a prolific author and distinguished evangelical scholar.

Richard Alan Fuhr Jr. is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Studies at Liberty University School of Divinity in Lynchburg, VA. He is co-author of The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets.

Editorial Reviews

"This wonderful new volume by Fuhr and Köstenberger is a breath of fresh air. It turns our attention back to where it belongs, namely on God’s Word. It will be a great blessing to every believer eager to understand the Scriptures better."

—Michael J. Kruger, president and professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC

"It is exciting to see this work that blends the inductive method with the historical disciplines. . . . Our deep thanks are due KÓ§stenberger and Fuhr for this invaluable resource for quality Bible study."

—Grant R. Osborne, professor emeritus, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL

"Fuhr and KÓ§stenberger’s new book will help a new generation of students discover the joy of studying the Bible for themselves. Here you will find a hermeneutically sound and accessible guide to studying the Bible inductively."

—Robert L. Plummer, professor of New Testament interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, and host of www.DailyDoseOfGreek.com

"I know of no other book that covers such a wide range of issues with such user-friendly expertise and wise simplicity. Read it to (re)kindle excitement about mining Scripture’s inexhaustible riches!"

—Robert W. Yarbrough, professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO

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  1. theChristianReviewer
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Amazing in-depth guide to Inductive Bible Study!
    March 7, 2017
    theChristianReviewer
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The authors really do an excellent job on covering the Inductive Bible Study method in an in-depth manner. They also incorporate what the Bible is from a history, literature and theological perspective which really deepens the study even more. I really appreciated so many aspects of this book, that I'm not really able to point out what my favorite part really is. The way they wrote this book really serves as an excellent guide on how to do an in-depth inductive Bible study. Guidance, wisdom and practical advice are very prevalent in this book. If you have never done an inductive Bible study before, this book will help you, but I encourage you to take your time and really go through this book as a guide on how to do it properly. Don't get intimidated by the steps of this method or in this book. Take them one at a time - with patience and practice, you will see that the Word of God will come alive like never before and your relationship with Him will deepen. This book will be referenced in my library for many years to come as I work on deepening my study of God's Word. I can honestly say that this book is a "must have" for anyone interested in going deeper with their study of God's Word! I received a copy of this book from B&H Academic for me to do a review on it. In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by B&H Academic to write a positive review.
  2. Kris Bush
    Orlando, FL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Game Changer!
    January 31, 2017
    Kris Bush
    Orlando, FL
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This particular book examines studying the bible in an inductive format: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the perspective of History, Literature and Theology. Now what I gather this to mean is:

    Observing the bible (passage, book, verse) by checking out its historical context (what prompts the author to write), literary context (how is it written, genres, literary devices are used), and understanding theology that everything flows together, nothing with contradict the other and it all points to Jesus.

    The same holds true for interpreting the bible. I love how the authors state that there is essentially one interpretation of any given verse BUT near unlimited ways that it may be applied in relation to individuals lives.

    Application is important. Nothing in the bible means anything if it is not applied. It is not to read about love than to act with love. It is not enough to read about doing the will of God BUT you must actually act upon it. James says it best: faith without works is dead. Faith can only do you so much good if your works do not echo what you profess to believe in.

    So my reaction: one of the best reads EVER. This book and Searching the Scriptures by Charles Swindoll have been absolute game changers in how I study the bible.

    Would I recommend? Yes, I recommend any and everyone that intends to study the bible, to get this book and read it, kind of use it as a guide on questions to ask yourself as you study. And it all starts with prayer.

    {FYI: I did receive this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.}
  3. SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Very Handy
    January 25, 2017
    SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Looking for a book that will give you good guidelines for studying the Bible well? Inductive Bible Study by Richard Alan Fuhr Jr. and Andreas J. Kostenberger is a good resource on the topic. As the authors of this book explain, God chose to reveal His will to us through His written Word, rather than through personal revelation/new revelation. He chose that it would be learned progressively with effort rather than instantly without any work on our part. We should revere God's choice method of conveying the knowledge of Him that He wants us to have and His will that is revealed through this collection of holy documents. Fuhr and Kostenberger take you through a series of steps that will assist you in reverently discovering and handling what God's Word says with accuracy and reverence.

    The steps you are taken through range from: comparing English Bible translations, Asking the right questions of the text, using commentaries, word studies, practicing discernment and of course, one of the most important steps of all, recognizing the importance of context and authorial intent. It is pointed out that, "Those who read the Bible with little awareness of surrounding context often do so because they have been trained (by example) to think through Scripture in terms of devotional nuggets, memorizing verses and reading for inspirational insight rather than interpretive understanding." Context is emphasized strongly, and related to that, I very much appreciate the cautions about word studies (though they are still encouraged), where it is made clear that when studying individual words or phrases in a passage, it should be remembered that the meaning of those words will ultimately be discerned through the surrounding context of the phrase, not just their bare lexical meaning, "contextual meaning will always take precedence over lexical meaning."

    The authors write very well, are easy to understand and the steps in each section are outlined in charts, which helps with remembering and simplifying what one has learned. They give illustrations to demonstrate hermeneutical errors, some of which I found sadly amusing. For example, Fuhr talks about a missionary conference that he once attended where the theme verse was Joel 3:14, the verse was used as a reference to people ready to make a decision for Christ, but when one looks at the surrounding context of the verse, the 'decision' referenced in the verse is referring to God's decision to bring judgment on the nations, not salvation!

    They recommend many study resources (look for these in the footnotes as well), and also provide demonstrations of the inductive method by using it on various texts of the Scripture. Being 'doers of the Word' and not merely 'hearers' of it is also stressed. They make the interesting argument that, "While the Holy Spirit is certainly capable of providing interpretive insight, we'd suggest that illumination has more to do with appropriation than interpretation." In other words, the work of the Holy Spirit is more seen in the Christian's personal application of the truths of Scripture to their life than by their coming to the correct conclusion as to the meaning of any given section of Scripture (though this is very important of course). They do clarify that not all texts of the Scripture are necessarily directed at 'doing', some texts give us more knowledge about the God whom we serve by obedience to His will (by the enablement of the Spirit). But both are a part of what we glean from our Bible study: knowledge of God and His will, and then living in light of the revealed truth.

    I want to mention two more things, first, ironically I must admit that I disagreed with some of their conclusions on the interpretation of some example texts (I will probably take another look at them), but the authors themselves encourage the reader to not be afraid to disagree with a Bible commentator if one thinks (by means of correct hermeneutics of course) that a they are not interpreting a text correctly. Also, the authors kept using female pronouns when speaking of any given Bible studier, which terminology was rather tough to get used to (despite being a female myself) and was rather distracting. I think that using male pronouns would be more in keeping with the Bible's teaching of male headship and of woman being taken from man in the creation rather than vice-versa. it simply seems more biblical to have any given person referred to with masculine pronouns rather than having a male read female pronouns and apply them to himself. I understand that our culture is very concerned about gender inclusiveness, but this book is primarily directed at Christians, most of whom would (or at least should) have already come to grips with the primarily masculine pronouns of the Bible, especially those that, though masculine, refer to both male and females. To me it's like someone using the term "womankind" to refer to both males and females, instead of 'mankind'. I am just not comfortable with it.

    But overall, I really liked this resource, and would recommend it to pretty much Christian looking for an aid to accurately studying the Word of God.

    Many thanks to the folks at B&H publishers for sending me a free review copy of this book (My review did not have to be favorable).
  4. PreacherNorm
    Georgia, USA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Book I Wish I'de Had In School
    January 15, 2017
    PreacherNorm
    Georgia, USA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Inductive Bible Study, by Richard Alan Fuhr and Andreas J. Kostenberger, is the book I wish Ide had for Hermeneutics I when I was in school!

    I did have great Hermeneutics classes and teachers when I first went to preaching school in 96, and for further classes in Biblical Hermeneutics over the years since. Ive also used a variety of textbooks as Ive had the opportunity to teach Hermeneutics classes. Most recently, I taught from Fee and Stuarts How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Until reading Inductive Bible Study, Fee and Stuarts book was my favorite Hermeneutics text. Thats changed now!

    I would put Inductive Bible Study on about the same intermediate level as How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. However, I prefer the systematic inductive approach to Bible study taught in Inductive Bible Study. Stuart and Fee take a genre-based approach and many of the same principles taught in Inductive Bible Study are overly restricted to specific genres in How To.

    I also found Fuhr and Kostenberger easier to read than Stuart and Fee, and much, much easier than Osborne (The Hermeneutical Spiral). Of course, each of these books has their strong points and I would recommend all three. But, in my opinion, Fuhr and Kostenberger have the more accessible approach with a broader appeal. That is, I think that Inductive Bible Study would be better received by more people than would be the others. The main reason being that the language used is less technical, making it much easier to read than the others. Fuhr and Kostenbergers writing style gets the same quality of information across as Fee and Stuart but in a more enjoyable read, in my opinion.

    Inductive Bible Study has many tables of great quick reference information that will keep a person coming back to it over and over again as they grow in their Bible study method. The information is presented in a concise, easy to read, manner with summaries and great tables for quick reference later.
  5. lcjohnson1988
    Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    really helpful in learning the Word!
    December 28, 2016
    lcjohnson1988
    Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What a time for this book to be published for anyone who wants to learn how to go deeper in their study of the Bible! Please dont let the long title or any of the title/subtitle turn you away from a very helpful tool! Personally, I love studying using the inductive method as it really helps me grow closer to the Lord and understanding Him via His Word!

    The authors do a masterful job of taking their time to explain each step in digging deeper to uncover what the Bible says to each person. Take your time to learn each step and practice it, even consider doing so with a friend. Study guides aside, this is the best way I know to really learn and remember what a book says about God, Jesus, The Spirit, faith, grace and much, much more!

    Unlike other books of this nature that show various ways to approach the Scriptures, this one takes the reader by the hand and shows them how to do each step in a way that is easy to grasp and utilize. Some folks may know this method of studying as a manuscript way, and it could be called by that title. But the authors want to show us how to take an approach that includes history, literature and theology so everyday folks can be amazed in their time alone with the Lord.

    If you dont want to mark in your Bible, there are Bibles to purchase designed for inductive study. The authors include an extensive bibliography so people can continue to read and aid their study time. Also included is a Subject Index for easy access when a refresher is needed for a person or to add the next step in Inductive Bible study. My son originally pointed out this book to me as he knows the inductive method I taught him when he was younger. Now, he is a grown man who by the grace of God wants to continue to learn and sharpen his knowledge so he can be a better disciple of the Lord.

    Please consider using this either as a way to learn in your time along with God, small group, teaching or mentoring others! Here is a great tool to encourage the Body of Christ to dig deeper so their roots will go deeper into the soil of His Word.
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