Robert Traina’s classic Methodical Bible Study transformed the way many people studied the Bible in the latter half of the twentieth century, becoming recognized as the most authoritative presentation of inductive Bible study available. This new work introduces the practice of inductive Bible study to a new generation of students, pastors, and church leaders. The authors, two seasoned educators with over 60 combined years of experience in the classroom, offer guidance on adopting an inductive posture and provide step-by-step instructions for inductive Bible study. They engage in conversation with current hermeneutical issues, trends, schools, and figures as they set forth well-grounded principles and processes for biblical interpretation and appropriation.
The book offers a holistic and integrated approach to the study of the Bible, showing how readers can bring together the various facets and methods of biblical study to arrive at original, penetrating, well-grounded interpretation and contemporary appropriation. The process presented incorporates various methods of biblical study to help readers hear the message of the Bible on its own terms. Inductive Bible Study includes a sustained example of the entire process, based on 2 Timothy 3:16–17, as well as many examples of specific exegetical aspects and tasks from throughout the biblical canon. It will benefit professors and students in courses on Bible study methods, interpretation, and hermeneutics as well as pastors and church leaders.
Whether you’re a student, scholar, pastor, or professor, the Inductive Bible Study provokes you to read the Bible honestly—to let it surprise, challenge, and correct you as you apply the many steps of interpretation. By using the tools included in the Inductive Bible Study, you’ll approach Bible study with more depth and understanding. Integrate the practical methods found in this volume with your preferred Bible, the Passage Guide, and the other Bible study tools in Logos Bible Software—then dive into Bible study with a vast knowledge base right before your eyes.
“First, it emphasizes the meaning of the final form of the text.” (Page 3)
“We contend that inductive Bible study is essentially a comprehensive, holistic study of the Bible that takes into account every aspect of the existence of the biblical text and that is intentional in allowing the Bible in its final canonical shape to speak to us on its own terms, thus leading to accurate, original, compelling, and profound interpretation and contemporary appropriation.” (Page 6)
“The present discussion employs the term inductive synonymously with evidential: that is, a commitment to the evidence in and around the text so as to allow that evidence to determine our understanding of the meaning of the text, wherever that evidence may lead. Deduction is used synonymously with presuppositional: that is, a commitment to certain assumptions (whether stated or implicit) that we allow to determine our understanding of the meaning of the text.” (Page 17)
“The test of the inductive spirit is whether one’s approach is characterized by radical openness to any conclusion required by the biblical evidence.” (Page 18)
“First, at the center of induction is the principle of probability over against absolute certainty; in an inductive approach, one must always speak in terms of degrees of probability.” (Page 26)
I have personally used Bauer and Traina’s method of inductive Bible study for more than 25 years and can testify to its effectiveness for understanding Scripture in ways that are both academically responsible and pastorally relevant. The approach allows Scripture to reveal itself, to speak on its own terms in ways that overcome the limitations and presuppositions of its readers. It allows the Bible to surprise us, challenge us, comfort us, or correct us in the very fashion that the original authors and the God who inspired them would want. This volume presents that time-honored approach for a new generation—and it is a remarkable achievement! Students will appreciate a text that is so immediately accessible and, eventually, will come to treasure this volume as a handbook to be consulted repeatedly throughout their professional careers.
—Mark Allan Powell, professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
Many of us learned years ago to begin Bible study for ourselves with ‘observation, interpretation, and application,’ doing as much as possible on our own before turning to other resources. We may not have known one of the classic sources that outlined this method in comprehensive detail by Robert Traina. Now masterfully updated, with state-of-the-art scholarship and bibliographic references, this tome has been made useful for a new generation by David Bauer and Robert Traina. Part hermeneutics, part exegesis, part philosophy and logic, with numerous illustrations from Scripture itself, Inductive Bible Study does not supplant the standard works in each of these areas but helpfully supplements many of them.
—Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
For half a century, Robert Traina’s method of inductive Bible study has taught students the most important critical-thinking skill of all: how to read! His method trains people to attend closely to what is in a text and what is not in a text, to follow a text’s argument, and to map its narrative flow. Now David Bauer adds to the collaborative mix his own formidable strengths as an experienced teacher of inductive Bible study and as an internationally recognized biblical scholar. Together they present a finely honed guide to the process of observation, interpretation, and appropriation, enhanced with examples of how to execute each step and with helpful discussions about both the place of their approach in the landscape of contemporary hermeneutical debates and the connections between critical approaches and their inductive method. This volume lays an essential foundation for critical analysis and careful exegesis.
—David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary
This is the strength of Bauer and Traina’s book, Inductive Bible Study: it starts from square one by training people to attend to the content of Scripture, to follow a text’s argument, map its narrative flow, and grasp its implications. . . . The volume is rife with helpful discussions about the range of contemporary hermeneutical debates. Dots are connected from these technical considerations to the inductive method, resulting in an exegesis handbook that is both practical and substantive.
David R. Bauer is Ralph Waldo Beeson Professor of Inductive Biblical Studies and the dean of the School of Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, including An Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry.
Robert A. Traina (1921–2010) was a professor of English Bible at The Biblical Seminary in New York and at Asbury Theological Seminary for over 40 years. He received his PhD from Drew University and authored the influential classic Methodical Bible Study.