Announcing Our New Book: Inductive Bible Study


Inductive Bible Study : A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics

David R. Bauer and Robert A. Traina

For half a century, Robert Traina’s method of inductive Bible study has taught students the most important critical-thinking skill of all: how to read! Now David Bauer adds to the collaborative mix his own formidable strengths. This volume lays an essential foundation for critical analysis and careful exegesis.“–David A. deSilva, Ashland Theological Seminary

Robert Traina’s classic Methodical Bible Study transformed the way many people studied the Bible in the latter half of the twentieth century and became recognized as the most authoritative presentation of inductive Bible study available. This new work introduces the practice of inductive Bible study to a new generation of students, pastors, and church leaders. The authors, two seasoned educators with over sixty combined years of experience in the classroom, offer guidance on adopting an inductive posture and provide step-by-step instructions on how to do inductive Bible study. They engage in conversation with current hermeneutical issues, trends, schools, and figures as they set forth well-grounded principles and processes for biblical interpretation and appropriation.

The book offers a holistic and integrated approach to the study of the Bible, showing how readers can bring together the various facets and methods of biblical study to arrive at original, penetrating, well-grounded interpretation and contemporary appropriation. The process presented incorporates various methods of biblical study to help readers hear the message of the Bible on its own terms. Inductive Bible Study includes a sustained example of the entire process, using 2 Timothy 3:16-17, and many examples of specific aspects or tasks of biblical study taken from passages throughout the biblical canon. It will benefit professors and students in courses on Bible study methods, interpretation, and hermeneutics as well as pastors and church leaders.


Foreword by Eugene H. Peterson

Part 1: Theoretical Foundations

1. Inductive Study
2. Transjective Study
3. Intentional and Rational Study
4. Re-Creative Study
5. Direct Study
6. Comprehensive and Integrated Study
7. Individual and Communal Study
8. Compositional Book Study
9. Canonical Study
10. Flexible Procedural Study

Part 2: Observing and Asking

11. Survey of Books-as-Wholes
12. Survey of Parts-as-Wholes (Divisions, Sections, Segments)
13. Focused Observation

Part 3: Answering or Interpreting

14. Selecting Questions and Formulating Premises
15. Drawing Inferences from the Premises
16. Implementing Interpretation

Part 4: Evaluating and Appropriating

17. Description of Evaluation and Appropriation
18. Implementing Evaluation and Appropriation

Part 5: Correlation

19. Character and Practice of Correlation
20. Implementing Correlation
Appendix A: General Discussion of Induction and Deduction
Appendix B: Presuppositions in Contemporary Hermeneutical Discussion
Appendix C: Selectivity
Appendix D: The Use of Original-Language Resources
Appendix E: Critical Methods in Inductive Bible Study
Appendix F: Logical Outlines


I have personally used Bauer and Traina’s method of inductive Bible study for more than twenty-five years and can testify to its effectiveness for understanding Scripture in ways that are both academically responsible and pastorally relevant. The approach allows Scripture to reveal itself, to speak on its own terms in ways that overcome the limitations and presuppositions of its readers. It allows the Bible to surprise us, challenge us, comfort us, or correct us in the very fashion that the original authors and the God who inspired them would want. This volume presents that time-honored approach for a new generation–and it is a remarkable achievement! Students will appreciate a text that is so immediately accessible and, eventually, will come to treasure this volume as a handbook to be consulted repeatedly throughout their professional careers.“–Mark Allan Powell, professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary

Many of us learned years ago to begin Bible study for ourselves with ‘observation, interpretation, and application,’ doing as much as possible on our own before turning to other resources. We may not have known one of the classic sources that outlined this method in comprehensive detail by Robert Traina. Now masterfully updated, with state-of-the-art scholarship and bibliographic references, this tome has been made useful for a new generation by David Bauer and Robert Traina. Part hermeneutics, part exegesis, part philosophy and logic, with numerous illustrations from Scripture itself, Inductive Bible Study does not supplant the standard works in each of these areas but helpfully supplements many of them.“–Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

For half a century, Robert Traina’s method of inductive Bible study has taught students the most important critical-thinking skill of all: how to read! His method trains people to attend closely to what is in a text and what is not in a text, to follow a text’s argument, and to map its narrative flow. Now David Bauer adds to the collaborative mix his own formidable strengths as an experienced teacher of inductive Bible study and as an internationally recognized biblical scholar. Together they present a finely honed guide to the process of observation, interpretation, and appropriation, enhanced with examples of how to execute each step and with helpful discussions about both the place of their approach in the landscape of contemporary hermeneutical debates and the connections between critical approaches and their inductive method. This volume lays an essential foundation for critical analysis and careful exegesis.“–David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary

A couple of years before I entered his classroom, Professor Traina had written the book Methodical Bible Study. . . . Inductive Bible Study is an expansion of that early text by Professor Traina and his colleague Professor Bauer. As I read this sequel, memories of my first reading come alive again. I am giving witness to that early but never-diminishing delight. . . . The passion and patience that permeated that classroom instilled in me an inductive imagination: fiercely attentive to everything that is there and only what is there, alert to relationships both literary and personal, habitually aware of context–the entire world of creation and salvation that is being revealed in this Bible. And always the insistence that I do this firsthand, not filtered through the hearsay of others or the findings of experts. . . . The inductive imagination continued to develop into a biblical imagination. And not only for me. My sense is that this way of reading the Bible–and living the Bible–has been transformative for thousands; probably by now the number must run into the millions.“–Eugene H. Peterson

Purchase on Amazon

Foreword: Foreword by Eugene H. Peterson
ISBN: 978-0-8010-2767-3
ISBN-10: 0-8010-2767-5
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Number of pages: 464
Publication Date: Apr. 11
Formats: Hardcover


  1. My wife Jackie and I both love Flight Behavior at many levels. Not the least of which is that it is about Monarch butterfies.

    One of the things that most people do not know is that three generations of Monarchs are needed to make their annual migration. Such is the magic and majesty of God and Nature. And another thing is that Monarchs use their circadian biological clocks to assist them in their navigating.

    What a shame that so many of today’s People of The Book are so separated from awareness of the passage of natural Scriptual Hours, also called Seasonal and Proportional Hours. Per Jackie’s and my site, we are seeking to help turn back the clock so that more of us can be at one with what too many of us are conditioned by modern nay-sayers tend to deny. Too often to both our bodily and spiritual detriment.