Kay Arthur on Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation & Application
- Monday, August 01, 2011
Kay Arthur is no stranger to sorrow and disappointment. Her testimony, which she has shared over the years through books, interviews and messages, is that of one who has trusted God through some very difficult circumstances. The result of this persevering faith is a trust in God that grows stronger with each passing day. Through her writing and teaching, one thing is crystal clear: Whether she is with her eleven-year-old granddaughter, whom Arthur is helping to raise since her daughter-in-law passed away last year, or strangers she meets while she is ministering, Arthur sees every circumstance in life as an opportunity to encourage people forward in their walks with God.
Kay Arthur lives to know God and help others to know Him too.
As a writer of over one-hundred books and Bible studies, Arthur traverses the Bible day after day, constantly discovering timeless truths, written thousands of years ago, yet still as fresh as if they had been penned this morning. One of her most recent projects is an inductive study course on the book of Jeremiah, which she feels is particularly timely for today. "We are a nation that, like Israel, has turned its back on the Lord. We're living in a society that will call on God in the day of calamity, but forget him when the calamity is over."
"If we're really going to understand God's Word in a way that makes it the core of our being, we need to know without a shadow of a doubt that it is what God said. We don't need secondhand knowledge, we need firsthand knowledge, and to me, the way to get that is through the inductive method," says Arthur. The method, inspired by Psa 119:102, involves a careful scrutiny of every word of a particular text—combing through, making observations via repeated readings, and ultimately discovering how to apply what the text says in a practical way that changes one's thinking so that it lines up with God's Word. Arthur's ministry, which she co-founded and leads with her husband, Jack, offers many books and resources teaching the pedagogy of the inductive method.
Arthur is not opposed to using commentaries or other study aids, or listening to other teachers. In fact, she is the first to admit that she learns much from other teachers. The key is knowing what the Bible says so that one can listen to teachers and discern whether they are preaching biblically-based messages. "I'm not going to know they're on target if I do not know what God said myself. So that's the purpose of inductive study."
When it comes to the application of God's word, Arthur contends that it does not simply mean taking action, like going out and feeding the poor. "It is first of all changing my mind so that it lines up with the Word of God, and then going out and living accordingly. All of that equals the one goal that God has in all of this, which is that, as we behold Him, we are changed from glory to glory, into His image. That is the redemption process—to redeem me out of the slave market of sin, to cleanse me, set me free and transform me into the image of the Son. And that begins with the washing with water through the Word." Referring to Rom 12, Arthur points out that being able to present our bodies as living sacrifices begins with being "transformed by the renewing of our minds."
Renewing her mind through a consistent study of God's Word has been Arthur's primary education. Though she is recognized worldwide by many formal educators as a trusted Bible teacher, she has not completed any degrees of higher education, a fact that she sees as further proof that her work is something from God, not man. Her example shows that one need not rely on formal education in order to know God's Word, and this is the very basis of her passion for the inductive method: anyone can do it. All it takes is a Bible, a packet of colored pencils, a notebook and time.
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