If you’re new to inductive Bible study, here’s a big-picture overview of what it is. Inductive Bible study is learning to read the Bible for yourself by actually reading the Bible to practice the steps. You go through the same three steps every time, for any verse, passage, or book. It becomes automatic, and it’s a game-changer. I’m going to tell you how to start teaching this to your preschooler!
The three steps are Observation, Interpretation, and Application. Observation asks, “What does it say?” It answers the question by asking the text lots of questions (especially who, what, when, where, why, and how), marking the text, and looking for repeated words or ideas. Interpretation asks, “What does it mean?” It answers it by looking beyond the immediate text. You look at the context more broadly, read cross-references, do word studies, and whatever else you might need to interpret the meaning of the text. And Application asks, “How does this meaning apply to my life?” It answers it by turning the Scripture as a mirror on your own life. You can do this now that you’re carefully interpreted the text.
I’ve been teaching this to kids for years, and believe me, they can learn it. As you can imagine, this way of studying can take you deeper and deeper into the Bible as you mature. That’s why teaching these skills early is so powerful. In fact, there are even ways to start teaching skills to preschoolers. I’m going to tell you exactly how to get started.
What Preschoolers Bring to the Bible Study Table
Preschoolers love movement, copying, and learning to do new things. You’re going to use all of these to get those sweet babies in the Word! The idea here is pretty simple. When we do Observation, we read the text and look for repeated words (keywords) and mark them. Preschoolers can’t read, but they can listen. All you need to do is teach them a movement to do when they hear a certain word. For example, you can teach your child to make a certain movement (like pointing up) when he hears the word “Lord.” Practice it together several times, then say a series of words with “Lord” mixed in a few times. Have your child listen closely for the word and then make the movement. It’s very easy to make this fun.
Once your child has the hang of it, say, “Okay, now I want you to do the same thing, but this time, I’m going to read the Bible! It’s the best book, and God gave it to us. Are you ready? Here we go!” Then read, for example, Psalm 37:4-5:
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Really make an emphasis on Lord so your child doesn’t miss it. Be excited about his success. Go back and read the verse again several times. Stop before he gets bored, but you can always do it again later.
Note: At this point, don’t make the movements at the pronouns. Your preschooler can’t discern which “He” is the Lord and which “he” in another verse is someone else. Keep it simple. Set this up for success and excitement.
The Deeper Work You’re Doing
As you do this activity with different verses, keep the same motions for the same words. Whenever possible, choose a movement that reflects the word. But sometimes, you just need to pick a movement, like touching your nose or lifting your foot. That’s fine, too. What you’re doing is teaching your child to listen to the words, pick certain ones out, and respond.
When they start reading and you move up to reading the Bible and marking keywords in the text, it’s going to be familiar to your child. He’s already been doing Observation in motion! He’s also gotten used to hearing Scripture, and not just summarized Bible stories.
Best of all, you’re imprinting something major into their moldable clay- Bible study is fun!
Verses to Get You Started–Today!
Here’s a list of verses and suggested keywords to move to (these are all from my Hero Training Scripture Memory that comes with my free Starter Kit. If you haven’t gotten it, but want it, sign up here.) I’ve got a list of verses with one word to focus on, and another list of verse with two words to focus on. As your child gets older, and gets better at this, start challenging him by doing more than one word.
Verses for Preschool Observation, One Word
|1 Corinthians 3:16-19||God|
|1 John 5:3||commandments|
|1 Corinthians 10:13||tempt/temptation|
Verses for Preschool Observation, Two Words
|Proverbs 13:20||wise, fool|
|Isaiah 41:10||do not, I|
|Matthew 22:37-39||all, love|
|1 Corinthians 3:16-17||temple, God|
|2 Corinthians 5:17||new, old|
|1 John 1:9||sins, forgive|
Let me know how it goes. Any tricks or tips you have for us? Be sure to write them in the comments below so we have all the info in one place. Thanks!