The inductive Bible study method follows three primary steps: first observation, then interpretation, and finally application.
If you are interested in practicing the inductive study method, then you may appreciate this exercise. I have created a resource that you can use to practice your observation skills. It is a one-page document containing the content of the Seven letters to the Churches found in Revelation 2-3. Each letter is put into it’s own column, with a few paragraph breaks to show the approximate flow of each letter. Your task, then, is to download the document, read over each letter, and use a PDF editor to note repeated words, phrases, and ideas. After spending some time (I recommend spending about 30 minutes) hunting for and highlighting the words that stand out to you, you can take a step back and ask, “why did the author choose to repeat these words throughout these letter?”
The goal of the “observation” step is not to come to amazing, solid conclusions and applications. It is, rather to get a feel for what the author is intending to say. And with this worksheet, it is ok to stop with observation and come back later for interpretation and application when you have time to do a more comprehensive study of the book of Revelation.
You can find the worksheet here:
If you wish to go further, you can ask the “interpretation” questions: “What did the author mean?” and “What would the original audience take away from this passage?” (In this part of Revelation, there are two intended audiences: the recipients of each individual letter and the original readers of the compilation which we call Revelation. So, you may have to ask these interpretative questions twice.)
After going through the interpretation stage, you are welcome to move into the “application” stage. Here, you will try answering the question: “So what?” or “What am I supposed to do with this information?”
I hope you enjoy this exercise!
Here is a sample of what my worksheet looks like after about 20 minutes of making observations: