In this lesson, we are going to continue learning Psalm 46 through Inductive Bible Study. If you are just joining, you may first want to read Bible Meditation on Psalm 46: Preparing for Inductive Bible Study.
One of the major structures of Inductive Bible Study is called “Interrogation.” This can come in the form of “Question-Answer” or “Problem-Solution.”
When Interrogation appears in a Bible passage, you will notice the author devotes part of the passage to raising a Question, and then he offers an Answer. Or the author might point out a Problem and then offer a Solution.
The structure of Interrogation may be immediately obvious. It might be very clear that the author spends the first part of the passage describing a big problem or question. Or perhaps he begins the passage by describing a lot of problems and questions, all tied together. And then he points to the solution or answer.
However, often the structure won’t be this obvious. You will have to spend time meditating on the Bible passage to see the structure. Maybe the problem/question is woven throughout the passage. Maybe it is subtle, or implied. The author might also weave the solution/answer into the passage. Perhaps the problem/solution or question/answer will bounce off each other, or interact with each other.
In some passages, the solution might not be stated directly, but the solution is still obvious if you are paying attention. In the Gospel of Luke, the Holy Spirit is always present “behind the scenes.” You might not overtly read a reference to Him in a certain passage, but you can see Him at work. That may be an example of where the solution is implied but not directly stated.
God uses those subtleties to draw us deeper into the scripture, so we will seek Him. That is the biggest benefit of Inductive Bible Study – seeking to move closer to God and to listen for His voice speaking from the pages of scripture. If you come away from every Inductive Bible Study session feeling that you have had an encounter with God, you have truly experienced the depths of this process.
Let’s look at Psalm 46 for an example of Interrogation – in this case, “Problem/Solution.” The following is what I observed in my Survey of Psalm 46 (to review the role of “Survey,” visit Inductive Bible Study: An Overview):
The world of the psalmist is filled with problems, including natural disasters (verses 1-3) and upheaval among the nations (verses 6, 9). This constant turmoil and churning is the overarching problem addressed by this psalm. This problem could lead to fear (verse 2) but it does not. That is because God offers a solution in being a refuge for people and even for communities and nations (verses 1, 7, 11).
The first main unit (verses 1-3) suggests that God offers a solution in the midst of natural upheavals. The second main unit (verses 4-7) describes God’s peaceful presence (verses 4-5) and His power (verse 6) as a solution. The third main unit (verses 8-11) demonstrates God’s power over desolations, wars, and the instruments of war (verses 8-9). Then the psalmist quotes God’s own words declaring God as the solution to this overarching problem (verse 10).
Do you see the beauty of what the psalmist shows us? He begins with God offering a solution, and then reveals that God is the solution. The psalmist uses the backdrop of numerous problems of daily life and global strife to focus on all the ways God provides His solution, i.e., His presence and His peace. What an encouraging psalm!
At first glance, this psalm seems to be about upheaval and problems. Many people would prefer to skip this psalm because the problems seem to loom so large – just as they do in life. But it’s worth pressing into this psalm to find the solution to our problems – our awesome God. By looking through the lens of Interrogation used by the psalmist, we are able to focus on the solution and not be overwhelmed by the problems.
To read the next lesson on Psalm 46, please visit Zooming in on God’s Peace (A Review of “Contrast” in Inductive Bible Study).