The first series will be Inductive Bible Studies of the book of Ephesians.
The inductive approach focuses on the Bible text itself, beginning with multiple readings, followed by the three steps of:
OBSERVATION – What does the text say?
INTERPRETATION – What did the text mean to the original listeners?
APPLICATION – How does this text apply to our lives?
The rule of thumb is to refrain from using outside references. If there is a question about the meaning of a word, a dictionary may be used, but avoid consulting commentaries until you have totally finished the study. Read and re-read the text. Let the Word speak.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is the first OBSERVATION step. It is tempting to rush through a brief observation and quickly jump to interpretation and application. If you can discipline yourselves to spend the majority of the study time on observation, your learning will be richer and truer to the original intent of the Word.
INTERPRETATION focuses on the meaning of the text to the original listeners. How would they have heard these words? Consider their situation in your interpretation.
Always finish with a reflective APPLICATION. Every time we study the Word, it will speak into our lives if we have ears to hear.
HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS: We encourage the use of a journal or notebook, whether electronic or handwritten. Writing will bring increased clarity of thought and sharpen your ability to listen to God’s voice. You may find it useful to compare several translations of the verses.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
We begin with an overview of the entire book of Ephesians, along with the historical context from the book of Acts.
THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS
1. Read out loud the entire book of Ephesians, preferably in one sitting.
○ What can you learn about the author?
○ What can you learn about the people to whom the letter was written?
○ What appear to be the author’s concerns that motivated the writing of the letter?
2. Read Acts chapters 19-20 where Paul visited Ephesus. Add any clarifying information to the above 3 questions.
3. Application: What most impressed you in today’s reading? How is this word significant for your life and/or your community right now?