by Andreas Köstenberger and Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr.
Why another book on inductive Bible study?
Since the 1952 work Methodical Bible Study by Robert A. Traina, dozens of books, ranging from popular-level works to academic textbooks, have presented a methodical, inductive approach to the study of the Scriptures. Another book is needed for the following two reasons.
First, as evangelical scholarship of the Bible continues to bring 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. Second, as practitioners in teaching the next generation of students, we understand that there’s always room for improvement in developing an academically sound yet practically manageable presentation for learning how to do Bible study. This text assimilates a hermeneutically viable model into a step-by-step methodical approach to Bible study. We trust that the next generation of students, pastors, and all who desire to know God’s Word will be enriched by its insights and practical layout.
With the 2011 publication of Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology, I (Al) began incorporating the figure of the hermeneutical triad into my inductive Bible study courses. By laying a foundation for what the Bible is as history, literature, and theology, I discovered that the traditional model of inductive study was not only compatible with the hermeneutical triad but was enhanced by it.
This textbook is the product of the vision to assimilate the hermeneutical-triad concept with a step-by-step, inductive methodology for the study of the Bible. It is borne out of the collaborative efforts between two individuals who have taught in the field of hermeneutics and inductive Bible study for a combined forty years. I (Andreas) have greatly appreciated my co-author’s congenial partnership on this project. Having written a previous hermeneutics text, I was excited about the vision of incorporating the hermeneutical triad into the tried-and-true inductive Bible study method. I believe I can speak for both us in saying that blending the two approaches has worked out even better than either of us could have imagined.
In Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the Lenses of History, Literature, and Theology, the hermeneutical triad is the foundation upon which the inductive method is based. Building upward from the premise that the Bible is historical, literary, and theological and should be studied in terms of these three dimensions, the inductive method builds a framework for methodical, step-by-step study that embraces all facets of the hermeneutical triad.
Following the framework of step-by-step progression, you might visualize the steps of the inductive method as moving upward from the historically grounded text to arrive at the pinnacle of theology, the natural result of an inductive study of Scripture. Our approach is to present individual, specific steps for applied study through the primary steps of observation, interpretation, and application.
Within this framework, there are specific and unique steps of observation, interpretation, and application, all of which contribute to the development of biblical theology. Following the model of working upward from the triad base, each inductive step reflects an awareness of the Bible’s historical, literary, and theological traits.
We trust that our hermeneutically sensitive, step-by-step approach to inductive Bible study will bring insight and practical benefit to many who endeavor to know God through the depths and riches of his Word, the Bible.