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Cheat Sheet for leading an inductive bible study.

(Please read)

First off, I want to personally thank you for having an interest in leading a small group and pouring into
people’s lives, and I know that you will be a phenomenal small group leader. God is going to use you in
mighty ways to speak into people’s lives.

Why Inductive study?

Inductive bible study gives God the freedom to speak through the text. It allows people who have never
seriously studied the bible for their own to experience what God has in store for them hidden inside his
word. It allows us to be facilitators rather than preachers.

How to prepare?

Pray! I cannot emphasize this enough, this is God’s Word, and if we think we can teach and understand his
word without his spirit guiding us we are sadly mistaken. Pray that God would open up your eyes, heart,
and mind so that you can fully experience what he has in the text for you as well as your group.

Personal Preparation

Read the Text: Print off a sheet containing just the text being studied, spend as much time as you need to
fully absorb the text, and let it speak to you.

• Write down any observations you make try to aim for about 20-25 observations (nothing fancy
just write down exactly what you see)
Ex: compare contrast, cause and effect, repetition etc…

• Write down any and every question you have while reading the text, anything anyone could
possibly ask while reading this passage write the question down. Being able to anticipate questions
that your group may have while reading the text is very helpful in guiding them to the truths
within the text. Frequently ask yourself why is this here?

• Answer your questions; look for the answers IN THE TEXT, or the context of the passage.

Preparing to lead your Group

• Write down the main theme of the text, what is the main overbearing theme in the passage, what is
the core purpose for it being in the Bible; is it there to lead us to conviction? Inspire us to pursue
people? What is the overall theme of what God is communicating?

• What are the KEY OBSERVATIONS? What are the observations that if you missed them you
simply did not read the text, and are they central to pointing to the main theme of the passage?
There are Usually about 5 Key Observations

• What are 4+ KEY INTERPRETATION QUESTIONS? Aspects of good interpretation questions ,

and good questions in general are:
 Are they clear?
 Are they focused on one main thought/idea at a time?
 Do they require more than a Yes or No answer?
 Are they clearly based on the text?
 Are they conversational in tone rather than formal in tone?
 Are they Interesting
 Are they not too complex
 Are they open ended, allowing for more than one response?
• Prepare 1 or 2 APPLICATION QUESTIONS. Applications questions are a direct and specific way
we can apply God’s word to our lives. Be bold directly and personally challenge your group to
immediately or within the week respond to your application question. Application questions
reflect on the main theme, and challenge us no be just Informed by scripture but also to be
Transformed by scripture.

Leading the Group

(What do you see?)

• Pray for the group before heading into the text, pray that God will speak directly to everyone, and
that your lives will be radically changed from the leading of the Holy Spirit. Pray that you would
have an encounter with the living God, and that you can grow your relationships personally
through his word.

• Establish the context for the text that you are reading (this might require some research on your

• Address the group and ask them to observe the text, and thoroughly read it, some things you could
tell them to look for would be. Encourage them to write on the sheet, highlight, circle words etc…
 Climax – an arrangement of material as to progress from great, to greater to the greatest
 Explanation – presentation of an idea followed by its explanation
 Repetition – reiteration of the same terms, similar words, phrases, ideas
 Contrast – Association of two opposites
 Cause to Effect – progression of cause to effect
 Who, What, When, Where, Why, How
 Ask them to chose 1 Word or Phrase that spoke to them while they read
• Ask them to write down any Questions they had while reading the text, (these will be
interpretation questions later on.)

• Give them 10-15 minutes, to read, and write down on their own anything that they observe within
the text.

• After they have observed for 10-15 minutes, then ask them: What did you see? If you asked them
to look for any of the above (repetition, cause to effect etc, compare contrast), then ask them: what
were those (compare contrast, repetitions etc...) that you saw?

Note: people are going to want to explain why they were impacted by the things they observed,
and they may be tempted to interpret the text, and that is completely ok, but right now we want to
simply allow them to state what they see, the blatant unhidden things in the text.

If they are not noticing the Key Observations ask questions to help them find them, rather than
trying to immediately point them out for them. If they simply are not noticing the Key
Observations after you ask questions feel free to point them out though.

Affirm people’s observations, Encourage them, support them, people like to be affirmed and
valued in a discussion feel free to dole out affirmation.
Allow 5-10 minutes to go over observations, then transition to interpretation.
(Why is this here?)

• Ask for those questions that the group had while reading the text write them all down, then select
which ones you think point to the central theme of the text, or which ones lead into a deeper study
of the text itself. At this point avoid questions that lead to speculation meaning that you have to
guess or apply personal views to answer the question. (Examples would be questions that lead
into: free will versus God’s sovereignty, why does God allow evil to persist in the world, etc…
basically the classic hard questions to answer, that no one knows, and people get into arguments
about all the time.)

• Always, Always, Always bring your discussion back to the text, this helps everyone remain
engaged in the scripture in front of you rather than focusing on something completely unrelated to
what God wants to reveal to your group. If someone has an explanation for a question but it is
more based on personal perspective than what you see in the text simply say something such as:
That is a great point: but where do you see that in the text.

• Silence is a good thing! When silence happens because of a deep question that needs thinking
through, always try to allow room for thought, it’s very tempting to want to answer the question
immediately, allow the group to try to figure out the question on their own before you step in.

• The Interpretation questions you prepared, are only for use to direct the group to the central theme,
or if no one is coming up with their own questions.

Allow 10-15 minutes for the interpretation phase

(What does this mean to me?)

• Before moving directly into application, summarize the text, make sure to emphasize the main
themes of the passage.

• Whichever theme(s) the discussion has lead you to is where you need to draw your application
question from, ask for God to help in discerning what he wants to challenge your group to do.

• The application phase is to respond directly, specifically and personally to where God has lead
you and your group and when God speaks we must respond!

• This is the least structured phase of the OIA method, let the spirit lead you into discipling your
group, and be prepared for life on life impartation.

Final Words

In inductive study you are not the teacher or preacher, the word of God is, you are here to
facilitate your group into discovering God’s truths for themselves, ASK QUESTIONS INSTEAD OF
GIVING DIRECT ANSWERS. You have prepared and thoroughly investigated the text, now it is time
for your group to find that for themselves. Let the spirit lead you, and God Bless you for taking an
interest in pouring into people’s lives.

Now Inductively Study 1 Peter 5: 1-4 I believe God wants to communicate to you, how to be a
leader through this text.

1 Peter 5: 1-4

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and

one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God's flock that is

under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are

willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it

over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief

Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.