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Learning how to learn

Class teaches fundamentals of Bible study

Jed Barber | Echo

The old adage goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Yet often in my own life, I find myself settling for spiritual “fish” rather than learning how to feed myself, but my enrollment in Taylor’s Inductive Study of the Bible (Inductive) has taught me how to reel in theology and understanding on my own.

The modern church functions by giving “fish.” Sermons give nuggets of wisdom, Bible courses give abbreviated surveys and certain passages get special evidence. This approach can lead to significant spiritual enrichment, but it does little to actually prepare us to engage with the Bible on our own.

One of the most daunting aspects of Bible study can be figuring out where to start. Letting smarter heads dissect meaning from the Bible can be much easier than trying to understand it ourselves, but that only makes us more susceptible to false doctrine. Inductive teaches valuable tools that help us all overcome these

A student opens his Bible for study

A student opens his Bible for study

challenges.

The course offers a look into the method used by biblical scholars the world over, and it also teaches you how to probe the minds of past scholars through the commentaries they left behind. Additionally, the course teaches you to do things like carefully observe the text, examine the book’s literary genre, properly discover the context of biblical events and compare your findings with your peers all for the sake of really finding what the Bible tells the modern believer.

“While the primary methodology we teach is basic (often packaged in different ways by different teachers), the course gets into other areas beyond the methods such as how to look for background issues, how to look at the overall context of the Bible, and how to properly apply the teachings of the Bible (one of the most valuable things from the course), ”Michael Harbin, associate professor of biblical studies, said.

The tools Inductive teaches are invaluable, but it can be difficult to find time to add this class. I believe that if there is any way for it to be added, then it should be. I even believe it should be foundational core, but the other courses should be shuffled and changed in order to allow this to happen.

The value in the ability to find truth in the Bible for one’s self cannot be overstated. It increases the independence of the believer, and it helps the church guard against false teachings.

“It’s an empowering class, in a way,” Greg MaGee, chair of the biblical studies, christian ministries and philosophy department, said.

And of course it empowers because it links us directly to the very word of our God, and it equips us to find what it truly says to us.

One student did manage to find time for the class, and she believed it was beyond valuable for her Christian walk.

“Learning to study the Bible effectively is a skill all Christians need for life, because God’s word is central to our growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ,” Senior Kelly Gruendyke said, “That makes this class valuable to those of us who aren’t Bible/Christian Ed. majors.”

I hope these past thoughts have encouraged our lovely readers to think about adjusting their course schedule for the next few years, but if it hasn’t, the methods and skills taught in Inductive will transform experiencing Scripture, and they can still be learned elsewhere. However, it makes a lot of sense to use the amazing resources available right here in Upland.

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