Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible Study is all the rage. The fact is, if you read your Bible and take a few notes, you are engaging in some form of Inductive Bible Study. It may be a simple form or a modified form but it still falls within the parameters – observe, interpret and apply. Of course, if you so desire, you can get much more detailed in the three areas.inductive-bible-study

And, as you might well expect, there is no shortage of books and other communicative materials to assist you in learning the process. That is why there is a need to categorize these books into three areas – beginner, intermediate and advanced.

That leads us to the volume at hand – Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the Lenses of History, Literature, and Theology. The subtitle alone should provide a hint of the scope of this book. It is written by Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. (Liberty University) and Andreas J. Kostenberger (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) and is published by B&H Academic.

Fuhr and Kostenberger provide a highly detailed methodology for Bible study. In their discussion of the observation stage we receive instruction on common sense observation described in theological jargon. That continues to a greater degree in the interpretation arena. Fortunately, the application arena is more practical.

At times this volume has the feel of being a sequel to a book previously co-authored by Kostenberger: Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology. You’ll discover that immediately if you are a footnote aficionado.

Mostly this book presented the Inductive Bible Study method as being very structured. While an orderly system or method must be adhered to when doing Bible study, one must be cautious not to stifle the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is a precautionary note, but must be kept in mind.

With this all written, if you are serious about Bible study, this is a volume to have at your disposal. My recommendation is that the book is good for theologians and pastors but you will need to have a firm grasp on the Inductive Bible Study method before embarking on this volume. It is definitely not for beginners. It definitely falls into the advanced category of Inductive Bible Study volumes.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me for a fair and honest review.

The Essence of the New Testament

In a world that is awash in volumes concerning New Testament Surveys and Introductions, we have a new entry (well, it’s a second edition entry) – The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey. It was published by B&H Academic. It is outstanding!the-essence-of-the-nt

So with such a multitude of surveys, what would make this standout from all the others?

The editors and contributors. This volume is edited by Elmer Towns and Ben Gutierrez. Towns, of course, is a well-known figure in evangelical circles and a prolific writer (over 170 books plus countless articles) and a co-founder of Liberty University. Gutierrez is a Ph.D. and professor at Liberty. The seven contributors (along with Towns and Gutierrez) are all conservative scholars and professors.

The quality and conciseness. One of the trends in New Testament survey books is an overabundance of information that might be more suited for advanced study. But not with The Essence of the New Testament. The authors have obviously made a determined effort to filter the extraneous and present vital and essential information without trying to weigh down the reader.

The book opens with four chapters on introductory material leading with “How We Got the New Testament.” Each entry on the twenty-seven books of the NT contains the standard biblical background information – author, recipients, occasion and date, and outline. This is followed by a brief commentary entitled the “Message” that follows the structure of the outline adding to the smooth flow of the book and ease of understanding.

The end of each book has study questions and a brief bibliography and there are also a multitude of pictures and a number of charts that further facilitate the explanation of the particular NT book.

The viability for Christians. One of the most attractive qualities of this book is that it will have appeal to a majority of believers. It is straightforward and easy to follow – no linguistic tricks and no ivory tower theological language. It is a reference volume that the inquisitive Bible student will want to have at the ready when studying any book of the New Testament. (I have a vison of someone studying Colossians with the Bible in front, a notepad to one side and The Essence of the New Testament on the other.)

This is a must-have volume for every Christian especially teachers and preachers. It is a double must-have volume for new believers and first year Bible college students. It is a classic Bible educational tool. This volume will pique the student’s curiosity for more information.

Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by B&H Academic for a fair and honest review.