A much wiser friend of mine and I are going through 1 Peter. We’ve done James and 1 Samuel before this, and always relied heavily on commentaries or just smarter pastors than us who have done sermons on the passages we are reading (thank you John Piper for being who you are). I think this is great too. I think God has given these men and women the passion to spend their lives studying the Scriptures and writing this stuff for our help. But I didn’t want to always rely so heavily on that when God has given each one of us His Word for our own study.
I went to Israel with Precept Ministries (Kay Arthur). Their whole thing is the Inductive Bible Study Method. Now, I’ve heard the “Observe, Interpret, Apply” way of studying the Bible before, but I’m really really bad at the observation part. I love to skip to application. But, you can’t properly apply until you’ve properly observed, and properly interpreted. I’ve started on Genesis on my own (what better place to start than the beginning, right?) and decided to use this method as well for 1 Peter. That’s my Bible after hammering through some observation. Those are my notes on the right. At the beginning of 1 Peter, the Bible notes tell you to write out everything you learn about each keyword and mark each command Peter gives in the letter. He gives a lot of them. Doing it this way really did help me slow down, really observe, to then be able to properly interpret and apply. I loved being able to do this, see what the Bible said about the Bible and then be able to use a commentary to fill in the holes that I just wasn’t getting.
I know Kay Arthur isn’t the person who came up with this whole thing and using the symbols and stuff, but she’s the one who opened my eyes to it and how awesome it can be. It isn’t for everyone, and sometimes I still wonder if it is for me, but it has been really helpful in my personal study of the Bible. It makes you stop and slow down. It makes you reread the chapters more times than you can count- which is when it starts sinking in. It makes you think about what the writer is trying to convey, how it is being conveyed, why it was written the way it was. In 1 Peter it helped me see how everything goes together. It isn’t just paragraphs without thoughts being tied together from one to the other. The way the New Inductive Study Bible is layed out doesn’t even show paragraphs, which helps with this even more. If you’re struggling like I have been with really digging into the Word for yourself, sans devotionals or commentaries or sermons or prewritten Bible studies, give this a try. This is the exact pages from the front of the Inductive Study Bible on how to do this approach