Skip to content

Inductive Bible Study

In the January issue of Credo Magazine, Chris Castaldo reviewed David Bauer and Robert Traina’s newvolume, Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics. Castaldo is director of the Ministry of Gospel Renewal for the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He is the author of Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic and a main contributor to Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Anglicanism. He blogs at

Chris begins his review commenting,

Before anyone is prepared to work out his salvation with fear and trembling, he must understand how to study the Bible. Before one can preach, counsel, mentor, and articulate an answer for this faith, he must study the Bible. Christian faith assumes the Bible, without which we are rudderless ships.

Here is the irony: God’s word is the necessary means for growing in conformity to the image of Christ, and yet there are few comprehensive resources to help people engage this process. Over the years as a pastor, I have typically recommended Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, which is especially helpful in explaining techniques required of different genres. However, despite its accessible style, some students circled back to me and admitted that there remained ambiguity concerning the initial steps of the interpretive process. This is the strength of Bauer and Traina’s book, Inductive Bible Study: it starts from square-one by training people to attend to the content of Scripture, to follow a text’s argument, map its narrative flow, and grasp its implications.

If you know anything about the legacy of Robert Traina (1921-2010), you will appreciate how readily accessible his approach is. Many years ago, Traina popularized the three-fold method for extracting meaning from the biblical text through “observation, interpretation, and application.” So axiomatic is this triad that it can be heard in most small group Bible studies across the land. On one level, the volume under review is that simple; but it is certainly not simplistic. It pushes forward to analyze the nuanced questions that this method naturally begs. Thanks to coauthor, David Bauer, Professor and Dean at Asbury Theological Seminary, the volume is rife with helpful discussions about the range of contemporary hermeneutical debates. Dots are connected from these technical considerations to the inductive method, resulting in an exegesis handbook that is both practical and substantive.

Read the rest of Castaldo’s review here.

If you enjoyed this review, read others like it in the January issue of Credo Magazine, “In Christ Alone.”

To view the magazine as a PDF Click Here.

Back to Top