*Disclaimer: I received this book from B&H Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Have you ever wondered the necessary steps to go from simply reading a passage given in the Bible to studying the words in the depth and breadth in which they were written? Or what about the sociopolitical climate which Paul wrote to the church in Rome? Maybe the emotional rollercoaster on which the Israelites sat as they journey to Jerusalem after being in Babylon for so long? So many steps are needed, and often the internet is chock full of methods for studying Scripture. Some are helpful and some, quite frankly, are not.
“Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application” authored by Richard Fuhr, Jr. and Andreas Kostenberger is such a book to provide a method by which one can study the breadth and depth of Scripture. Our calling as Christians is not only to read the Bible, but to act upon its ancient and sacred words. To do so, and accurately, we must know the answers to the who, when, where, and why questions. Involved in that is so much studying. Kostenberger and Fuhr provide an overarching three-pronged approach to inductive Bible study: engaging the text, investigating the text, and acting upon the text. Within those three categories are sub-categories with tips ans steps to successful Bible study.
Before one can begin with “inductive” study the difference in approaches must be rendered. The authors are sure to provide these differences in the opening chapter before “engaging the text.” From the get go the reader/ student of Scripture knows what s/he is embarking upon. Kostenberger and Fuhr provide marvelous work regarding setting the stage for integrative, investigative study.
A few personal notes are given here, too. I thoroughly enjoyed the “table method” inside of the chapters. An example of this is discussing literary elements the authors used in recording the message of God. So the authors list the elements and then succinctly break them down per item in detail so that the reader receives a better grasp. I also enjoyed the chapter on “consultation” in which the authors covered consulting commentaries, atlases, dictionaries and other resources. In fact, it is stated in the chapter that though students often seek recommendations, it is the advice of the authors to allow the student to discern for him/herself the appropriate materials to consult. That is not always the case for but Kostenberger and Fuhr are to be recommended for this approach. Finally, the conclusion is doing theology.
We must be “doers” of the Word of God. Kostenberger and Fuhr encourage the reader in adapting and applying a/this methodical to the study of Scripture which will not only benefit the heart, but move the reader from passive to active in the Christian life. I would submit an implicit purpose to this work is once Christians understand the Scriptures through in-depth study, the more aware we are to circumstances around us and are ready to act.
According to Kostenberger and Fuhr, “Studying the Bible is extremely, even eternally, rewarding” (2). I agree with this wholeheartedly and I hope you will consider adding this commendable resource to your bookshelf and embark on the study of Scripture.