Many of us were taught to study and teach the Bible using the inductive study method.
1. Observe the text (what does it say?)
2. Interpret the text (what does it mean?)
3. Apply the text (how do I live that out?)
It sounds great, and it is a helpful formula. The only problem is, it skips the gospel. Often we jump right over our own brokenness and Christ work and get right into what we’re supposed to be doing. My performance then becomes the point of the scripture – instead of Christ performance for me – instead of the gospel.
In the video above, Dr. Akin rightly points out that is “under-reading” or under-preaching the scriptures. This approach can lead us, or those we preach to, toward moralism rather than worship when we read or preach the Bible. He offers a Christ-centered, gospel-centered alternative; by asking these questions every time we read the Bible or prepare a sermon/Bible study.
1. What does this text say about God (starting with God)?
2. What does it say about the fallen nature of humanity and our need for grace (we are perpetually broken people desperately and constantly in need of grace)?
3. What does it teach me about the person and work of Christ. How am I reminded of the sufficiency of Jesus finished work for me in this passage (all scripture is Christian scripture, whether an Old Testament command or a New Testament promise – it all points to Jesus; Luke 24:27,44. )?
These steps ensure that we don’t jump over the gospel and that Jesus stays at the center. Only then do we move on to 4 & 5.
4. What does God want me to know (what truths about history, culture and commands does He want me know)?
5. What does God want me to do (in light of my brokenness and Christ’s perfect sacrifice for me; in light of God unending acceptance of me by His loving grace because of Jesus; how should I then live)?
The Bible is not primarily an instruction manual for men’s lives, its primarily a newspaper proclaiming the good news of what God in Christ has done.