Those familiar with the method of inductive Bible study – most fully and recently outlined in David R. Bauer and Robert A. Traina, Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011) – may be interested to know about a new, open access publication, The Journal of Inductive Biblical Studies.
Individual articles from the first issue (with abstracts below) are available from here, and the whole volume can be downloaded as a pdf here.
William J. Abraham
Inductive Bible Study, Divine Revelation, and Canon
Drawing on encounter with the teaching and work of Robert A. Traina this paper develops a constructive account of his contribution to inductive bible study by responding positively to two objections that naturally arise. On the one hand, it answers an objectivist worry by noting that Traina’s work readily fits into the tradition of Geisteswissenschaft and takes with radical seriousness a metaphysics of personal agency and action. On the other hand, it deals with a subjectivist worry by showing that Traina’s central concerns transcend his relatively conventional theology of scripture. Through these strategies we can see that inductive bible study is a dynamic research agenda in hermeneutics that depends on crucial insights into the nature of observation and interpretation. Given the validity of these insights, inductive bible study is now poised to enter a new phase of its life as it moves forward into more conventional forms of academic research.
Fredrick J. Long
Major Structural Relationships: A Survey of Origins, Development, Classifications, and Assessment
A central feature to Inductive Bible Study (IBS) are Major Structural Relationships (MSRs), despite some variation in the number, identification, descriptions, and organization of them. These relationships are endemic to human communication; hence, their description is vital for accurate and holistic observation of biblical materials. The origin of MSRs is traceable to the 19th century art instruction of John Ruskin. He himself was aware that his insights into composition extended beyond artistic to musical and literary composition. Practitioners of IBS have continued to develop and describe rigorously methodologies surrounding the identification of MSRs, especially at Asbury Theological Seminary. A survey and review of the development of MSRs within the IBS movement reveals that stability of their identification as well as an openness to refine them (even adding to them) has been an asset for practitioners of IBS. The genius of IBS has been its major practitioners’ conceiving MSRs as central in the quest for truth, and especially the truth of God’s Word.
Stanley D. Walters
Twain Heights: Spirit and Word in Biblical Prophesying
The place-name “Ramathaim,” a noun in the dual number, found in Samuel’s ancestry 1 Sm 1:1 and nowhere else, is an allusion to a pair of narratives each set in Ramah, namely 1 Sm 19:18-24 and Jer 40:1-6, which together show the Spirit and the Word as essential features of biblical prophesying. Elkanah thus appears as part of a trans-generational movement of study and spiritual revitalization, to which the canonical book of Samuel continues to call us.
Interpretation and Structure in Joel
Despite renewed interest in the book of Joel and its relationship to the “Book of the Twelve,” scholarly opinions still significantly diverge on the structure of the book of Joel itself. This article surveys recent significant and representative proposals for Joel’s structure before arguing for an alternative unified structure based upon grammar, literary markers or “catchwords,” and structural relationships (as described by David R. Bauer and Robert A. Traina in Inductive Bible Study).
Joseph R. Dongell
Discerning Segment Boundaries within John 1:19-4:54
Bible commentators have traditionally supplied hierarchical outlines for the books they interpret under the assumption that texts are semantically structured, and that valid interpretation flows in part from accurately discerning textual structure. The disciplines of narrative criticism and discourse analysis have significantly advanced our understanding of textual structure, and have crossed paths by way of mutual influence with the IBS movement, which has given sustained attention to formalizing the study of textual structure. Against this backdrop, John 1:19-4:54 invites closer scrutiny in terms of the logic of its composition. The nearly universal agreement that 1:1-18 forms a clear literary unit, and that 5:1 begins another, contrasts with a lack of agreement about how to construe the intervening material. One popular view, that 2:1-4:54 is gathered as a literary whole by virtue of a Cana-to-Cana inclusio, falters under careful examination. According to the conclusions and introductions supplied by the narrator, 1:19-2:22 stands forth as cohesive unit devoted to presenting the Disciples as those who come to full and stable faith in Jesus. Likewise, 2:23-4:54 stands forth as a cohesive unit devoted to presenting Jesus as the Savior of all: Jews, Samaritans, and gentiles.