# What is the Inductive and Deductive methods of Bible Study?

When one tries to prove their point by adding their view into the context that’s eisegesis and certainly not deductive bible study, nor is it “exegesis“. I bring this point up because inductive reasoning has taken over the minds of far too many believers in their bible study methods before deductive reasoning.

## Starting With a Conclusion?

An inductive argument claims that if its premises are true, its conclusion is most probably true.

The inductive method starts with “if it’s premise is true, so it’s conclusion must be true. based off of an idea and proceeds to eliminate everything that doesn’t fit the idea or forces the ideas onto the text essentially becoming eisegesis rather than exegesis.

Let me illustrate the inductive Method: starting with the conclusion: all mankind is spiritually dead, therefore, dead people can’t respond to spiritual things period!! The belief in the complete depravity of man is correct. They now proceed to eliminate everything that doesn’t fit their idea, leading them to force their conclusions on to the biblical text. This reasoning leads them to believe that we do not possess the capacity to understand nor receive any part of the gospel. They follow the same line of reasoning when it comes to the finished work of Christ.

Think about this, have you been suckered into believing that a inductive method of reasoning/bible study should take the primary position over the deductive method.

### Ending With a Conclusion.

In contrast the deductive method starts by gathering everything that’s said about a subject in its context, then exegesis is performed on all the evidence. Only then can a conclusion be shaped to formulate a theology. You may or not know that Theology was once called the queen of science. That is no longer true as a result of the inductive method of reasoning getting a stronghold in our bible colleges and seminaries.

The above is what Jacob Prasch also agrees with. I disagree with this because it is the opposite from what induction and deduction mean in (mathematical) logic.

Induction: start from a particular element of a group and generalise its features to all components this group. Complete (accurate, reliable) and incomplete (intuitive, unreliable) mathematical induction exist

Deduction: start from a general known truth about a group of elements and apply it to all elements in that group.

Hi Alex, perhaps you are right regarding “Mathematical logic”. My point is not Mathematical, but philosophical Induction/deduction. Lookup Philosophical Induction/Deduction and you will see that my argument is spot on.

Thanks for you input.

Hi Augie,

Thank you for replying. I have heeded your advice and have looked into philosophical induction and deduction.

I have found in a nutshell that:

– induction is a method of reasoning whereby a known fact (premise) is a good support for the conclusion drawn, but is not enough to prove the conclusion necessarily correct

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=philosophical+induction+definition&oq=philosophical+induction&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l2.11333j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

– deduction is a method of reasoning whereby a known fact (premise) is enough to prove the conclusion necessarily correct

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive_reasoning

https://www.google.co.uk/search?ei=00wkWuGEAqaVgAbQppqwAQ&q=philosophical+deduction+definition&oq=philosophical+deduction+definition&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i8i30k1.110622.112832.0.113946.9.9.0.0.0.0.124.756.7j2.9.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.9.752…0i13k1j0i7i30k1j0i8i7i30k1.0.5d7kX0F6DWE

The above is very similar to mathematical induction/ deduction, even if not that accurate. Or via a simplified illustration

– induction: if we find a raven and see that it is black, we (unsafely) conclude that all ravens are black

– deduction: if we know that all ravens are black we can (safely) conclude that if we find a raven, it will necessarilybe black

I’m afraid I still think the reverse of Jacob Prasch or what I perceive is understood in today’s theology on this matter.

Just that mathematicians have devised a way to make even induction reliable (necessary correct conclusion):

If a(k) is true and if a(i) being true leads to a(i+1) being true

then all a(i) are true for i>k.

This is called complete mathematical induction.

I hope this helps.

Hi Alex, I hope you read my post regarding my observation on being spiritually dead. Also if you haven’t looked at https://augielh.wordpress.com/category/hermeneutics/, here I deal with Jn 4:16-17, most conclude (a known fact) that the woman at the well is an immoral woman. My point is, until one has studied ALL (not just A known Fact) that the Bible has to say (induction) regarding a theme, one will most likely produce a false view of the topic. One more thing, I’m not familiar with Jacob Prasch work.

Hermeneutically:

Induction requires ALL the information regarding a Topic before providing a conclusion.

Deduction does NOT require ALL the information, thus “A known fact” is all that is needed to provide a view.

I trust as a mathematician you are right as the words are used mathematically . I’m a Theologian, as such some terms are used in accord with the profession.

Thanks again for your input, I hope this will help anyone reading our comments.

Hello Augie,

I have not read the observation you mentioned and it is not really necessary, as you describe it to be an illustration to the way hermeneutics defines induction/ deduction. And here is where I sense we begin to agree (to disagree):

Theology/ hermeneutics on one hand and mathematics/ philosopyhy/ logic on the other hand appear to me to define the concepts of induction and deduction with opposite definitions. I find this at least confusing and feel tempted to call on theologians to review their stance.

This is my understanding (and please correct me if you disagree) of the state of facts:

Induction Deduction

Theo leads to certainty (all facts known) leads to possible error (insufficient input facts)

Maths leads to uncertain probability leads to certainty

I am not a real mathematician, just a mere (design) engineer with an outstanding old school maths teacher in an East European highschool, decades ago.

I hope this sheds a little more light into my confusion that others might stumble upon sooner or later.

Alex

I think we are at an impasse. Let me know if and when you have read my references above, then we might continue this chat it you like.

I fail to see the impasse. I thought we reached agreement to disagree. Only if you equate agreement to disagree with impasse, can I see it. 🙂

When I went to read your recommended article I found that I had actually read it and so I re-read it this time. I do not dispute the exegesis/ eisegesis topic, it is clear and we agree on this one. One must explain as objectively as possible without adding their own twist or subtracting towards some convenient narrative. Full agreement thus far.

I have condensed my stance into 2 statements and would be happy if you could simply state whether you agree or not with either of them.

1. First time I have met the deductive/ inductive resoning definition within theology was by listening to Jacob Prasch and he agrees with your definition. This makes me think that this is the generally accepted definition in theology.

I could not persuade him otherwise, although his wife is a mathematician and I referred him to her with precise definitions. 🙂 Maybe one day, who knows …

2. The science of logic and mathematics define deduction and induction exactly the opposite from how theology does.

The fact that I prefer the logic/ maths definition based on my assumption that this was the first one chronologically, is just collateral. I just acknowledge the difference and feel that the first definition should be the valid one and all subsequent concepts that use these terms should align with the existing one to avoid confusion. It appears that this is not happening in our case.

I want to thank you for forcing me to revisit this subject, that I was taught in College over 40 yrs ago. Seeing that most would agree with the more popular view. I have adopted it to prevent any confusion. Although I trust my reasoning was sound in context. I have made the adjustment to correct any misunderstanding.

Sorry Augie,

Far from me any intent to force anyone to do anything. It is the evangelical theological community that I am trying to take on, not one person in particular. By switching to the initial definitions you may well have raised a choir of disapproval from the exegetes around you (who may have never heard of the classic definitions from logic/ maths) and I did not want to put you in such position. I only aimed for an acknowledgement regarding the confusing opposition of definition of deductive/ inductive reasoning between the classical (logic, maths) and the I assume newer (theological) environments. Just in case it is of any interest, Jacob Prasch can be reached via Moriel Ministries.

I have no doubt that your reasoning was in line with what you were taught, but it is the very teaching that I am trying to challenge. And yes, I do admire the rational open mind approach, which on this topic I encounter now for the first time.

Apologies for any upset I may have caused. Yet being a pastor, you will certainly know far better than me that God can deal perfectly with anything that may feel too much for us.

Blessings,

Alex