Deductive Reasoning

“To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”

(Isaiah 28:9-10) ESV

It’s not a good idea to pull Bible passages out of context because we’ve decided what we want them to mean and then proclaim that we have some new doctrine. That’s inductive reasoning, or eisegesis.

It’s much more valuable to let the scripture reveal to us the meaning it contains and develop the doctrine from that. This is deductive reasoning, or exegesis.

Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, logical deduction or, informally, “top-down” logic, is the process of reasoning from one or more statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion. It differs from inductive reasoning or abductive reasoning.

– Deductive Reasoning, definition (Wikipedia)

The thing is, to do it right, we need to have an integrated knowledge of the whole Bible. We have to understand the broad narrative of scripture. We have to know the end from the beginning, the beginning from the end, and the broad themes which are consistent throughout its entirety.

declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

(Isaiah 46:10) ESV

The deductive approach is self-correcting. If, for instance, God’s plan of redemption involves Christ’s perfection, then an interpretation of scripture that appears to show that Christ sinned is obviously wrong. If, on the other hand, we find passage after passage in layer upon layer of meaning which says the same thing, then we know that the doctrine is of the Lord.

Deductive reasoning works in Bible study when we start with the principle that God can’t lie and the Bible is true. By layering scripture upon scripture we can build something three-dimensional in our minds.

Deductive Reasoning, examples

    • IF God can’t lie,
    • THEN the Bible is true.
    • IF the Bible is true,
    • THEN Jesus Christ is the living embodiment of truth,
      • AND the Holy Spirit is its agent at work in the world today.
    • IF popular science (SciPop) is an inductive rationalization of our existence which has
      • no creator,
      • no need of a savior,
      • no spiritual realm,
      • and questions the historical validity of Jesus Christ,
    • THEN SciPop isn’t truth.

If we begin our exposition of scripture with deduction, allowing the text to tell us the meaning, and if this is confirmed multiple times by a wide range of scripture passages and by the broad narrative of the Bible, we ought to be confident that our result is the truth.

Where did you get here from?
1January 2nd – Alpha and Omega
2November 26th – All Flesh Shall See
– Navigate back to where you came from.

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