I chose the book of Ephesians as my first to study because I wanted to look at the Armor of God, but I learned so much more than that. I’d like to share with you what I have learned in my study of Ephesians, so please join me as I begin the post series “Ephesians Study”.
As explained on my page about how to study the Bible inductively, the first step in the Inductive Study Method is to make observations about the text. This includes reading the book introduction, reading the entire book I wished to study (in this case, Ephesians), “marking” the text, and recording my observations in the Ephesians Observations Chart located at the end of the book in my study Bible.
After opening with prayer for insight and understanding, I first read the short introduction provided in my study Bible at the beginning of the book of Ephesians. This gave a brief overview of what the city of Ephesus was like at the time, as well as what the culture was like during the time when the book was written.
I also read Acts 18:18-21 and Acts 19, which record Paul’s first and second visits to Ephesus, respectively. After reading this background information, I then read through the entire book of Ephesians so that I could get a general overview of what the book is about.
With all of that complete, I began going through the book, chapter by chapter, marking specific words and phrases. Here is a list of the topics/themes I marked in the book of Ephesians, each with their own identifiable marking:
- references to the author
- references to the recipients
- every occurrence of God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ
- every occurrence of “in him”, “in Christ”, or “in the Lord”
- references to Heaven or the phrase “in Heavenly places”
- any time the text mentioned “riches” or “rich”
- every time the text said “according to”
- every occurrence of “once”, “former”, and “at one time” (for “once” I only marked it if it was used in the format of something that happened in the past)
- every occurrence of “now”
- references to “power”
- references to “grace”
- references to the “body” or the “church”
- every occurrence of “walk” (as it meant to walk in a certain path through life)
- every reference to “devil”, “powers”, “rulers”, and “authorities” (this use of “powers” carries a difference connotation from the above-mentioned “power”)
- the phrase “stand firm”
- references to “redemption” or to “acquire”
As you may have guessed, this process took a long time to complete. In any given session of study, I typically chose 1-3 of the references above and marked each one, chapter by chapter.
Doing so, of course, meant that I read through the book of Ephesians many times (each time, looking for a different word or phrase). I’m sure there are several other ways of completing this step, but this was the format I chose and it worked for me. Should you decide to use an inductive approach to the Bible, you can choose whatever method works best for you.
There were many more observations I made about Ephesians, which I will describe to you in “Ephesians Study – Observations, Part 2”. If you are interested, please come back tomorrow to read more.