Application the Inductive Way

Author: Pete De Lacy

In a previous post, Pete De Lacy discussed Interpretation the Inductive Way. Here he presents the final step of the Inductive Method: Application.

Inductive Application: James 1:22 (NASB) says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” After thorough observation and correct interpretation (hearing), we come to application, which is embracing the truth of God’s Word (doing). How does this apply to me? What truths do I take from this passage? What changes do I need to make in my life?

We often jump to application first, but application must be based on accurate observation and correct interpretation. Otherwise, we may embrace legalism or tradition instead of the truth. Application happens as we go before the Lord with the things we have read and carefully studied.

When applying Scripture, ask these questions:

  1. What does the passage teach? Does it address only specific people or problems?  Or is there a broader teaching on the topic?
  2. Does this passage shed light on your beliefs or behavior patterns? Is there an area of disobedience in your life? Wrong attitudes or motives toward others?
  3. What does God want to teach you?

When applying Scripture avoid:

  1. Applying cultural standards over biblical standards.
  2. Using Scripture out of context.
  3. Making Scripture fit our theology. Instead, develop theology in accord with what Scripture says.

Applying First John: In the last two issues, we observed and interpreted 1 John. We saw not only what love is, but how God’s love brought us back into a right relationship with Him through the death of Jesus (propitiation). In 1 John chapter 3, we’re told to “love one another.” Let’s look at 1 John 3:11–12 and 1 John 3:16–18 and identify some ways we can “love one another.”

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. (1 John 3:11–12 NASB)

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.  (1 John 3:16-18 NASB)

The application of these verses is straight forward: If we love, we ought to lay down our lives for others, as Christ laid down His life for us. God’s love is evident when we care for others in need.

The ultimate goal of Inductive Bible Study is to discover truth for yourself, go deeper in your study with others, and disciple others who are seeking the truth. Remember: No matter how much you know about God’s Word, if you don’t apply what you have learned, your Bible study will not yield spiritual fruit.

Pete De Lacy is the author of the New Inductive Study Series, Bible teacher and Chief Operating Officer of Precept Ministries International. To learn more about Precept Ministries’ Inductive Bible Study Method or to be a part of a Precept Bible study workshop, go to


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Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Faithlife Corporation. Originally published in print, Vol. 1 No. 5.