Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Get Into the Book

Watch this True Woman video of Kay Arthur: The Plumbline of Truth.

Leslie Basham: Kay Arthur says too many people read the Bible without making it central to their lives.

Kay Arthur: The problem is, we want this world and enough of the Word to keep us out of trouble. That’s not what it’s all about.

We’re called to a cross, and we forget that. We are called to say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, July 1.

Earlier this year, women gathered in Chattanooga for the True Woman Conference. Afterword, there was a comment we consistently heard from many who attended. They said, “Thanks for giving us a reason to keep our Bibles open.”  We do aim for this conference to be about more than stories and jokes. Those things may be fine in their place, but we try to focus on God’s Word, getting it deep into your heart.

One of those speakers from the Chattanooga conference is with us today. She’ll also join us at the True Woman Conference this October in Ft. Worth. Nancy’s here to introduce us to this true woman who loves God’s Word.


Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, Kay Arthur is no stranger to most of our listeners. She’s been a dear personal friend for many years.

She has been a servant of the Lord and a faithful woman and mentor and Bible teacher to so many women in particular across this country and in many countries around the world. It’s a great privilege to have her with us on Revive Our Hearts.

Kay, thank you so much for taking time out from what I know are many pressing demands in your own schedule to share with our Revive Our Hearts' listeners. I’m so thrilled for them to have this opportunity to get to know you a little better.

Kay: Well, Nancy, you know how much I love you and how excited I was when you got ready to go into radio and the ministry that the Lord has given you and the impact that it’s having. It’s a privilege to be on the microphone with you.

But not with you only, but with all of you out there; you are so precious to us. And I mean that when I say you’re precious. You’re beloved of God. If you don’t believe that, read the epistles, and mark every reference to beloved.

Nancy: Well, beloved ones, some may not be familiar with Precept Ministries. You just mentioned the Precept Bible Studies.

Kay, you and your husband, Jack Arthur, founded Precept Ministries back in the early 70s. What a wonderful gift to the body of Christ this has been!

I’m hoping, as a result of this series, that many of our listeners will connect with Precept Ministries. If you’ll go to our website,, we can link you there and tell you how you can get involved.

But your mission is establishing people in the Word of God.

Kay: Right, so they can discover truth for themselves. Precious one, if you feel there has to be more to know about the Word of God . . . So many people have told me, “I was crying out to God, and then He led me to Precept.” We have Bible studies at all different levels.

But our whole passion, and it’s Nancy’s passion too, is a Bible study that will not draw you to a personality but to the Word of God yourselves, so that you can say with the Psalmist, “I have not turned aside from Your [commandments], for You Yourself have taught me” (Psalm 119:102). God Himself has taught you.

The search is over. Just contact Revive Our Hearts, and they will tell you how to find out about the inductive Bible studies.

Nancy: We will do that. Kay, I have to tell you, I got back to my hotel room last night after you and Jack and I had a wonderful dinner together, and I got an email from one of our Revive Our Hearts' staff members. She wanted to let me know she was praying for our time in the studio today, and I want to read you what she said in this email.

She is herself a gifted Bible teacher and has taught many Precept studies to other women. She said,

Precept Ministries is the tool God chose to use in igniting a passion and love in my own heart for His Word. I still stand amazed as I recall attending our first Precept training weekend, where God showed me that even a common woman with no theological training could understand the Word and hear the Lord speak through it. I think I shouted all the way home. The Word became alive for me that weekend, and my relationship with the Lord has NEVER been the same. If I were there, I would give Kay a warm hug of immense gratitude for her love for the Lord and her passion in teaching others His Word.

Kay: What a sweet gift. It makes me cry; what a sweet gift. Thank you, Nancy.

Nancy: So many, many people could say the same thing. In fact, I got another email from another friend last night; it came actually earlier this morning. She said, “I’m choosing not to covet your time with Kay this week.”

And then she remembered back. She said you led a conference at the church where her husband was pastoring in Norman, Oklahoma, back in the early 80s.

She said, “Please tell Kay that [you, Nancy,] have a friend who was greatly influenced by her in the 80s and became a lover of God’s Word because of her challenges to my heart.”

Kay: Isn’t that awesome?

Nancy: That’s a pastor’s wife who loves the Word of God today in a way that she hadn’t previously been able to, because of what God has done through your life and ministry.

Kay: Isn’t that exciting? We have three pastors on our staff. One of the things we’re excited about is the work that we’re doing with pastors, especially in the smaller churches or where the pastor hasn’t had a chance to go to seminary, so he can learn the Bible inductively.

We’ve had a lot of seminary grads say, “You know, I learned more about the Bible doing Precept than I did in seminary,” because they study books about the Bible, but they don’t really study the Bible.

So if there’s anybody out there, or a pastor or pastor’s wife, and you want somebody to come alongside you and partner with you, we’re here not for ourselves but for you.

Nancy: Okay, you’ve used this word a few times, studying the Word inductively. What does that mean?

Kay: Inductively means you go straight to the book you’re studying. In other words, you don’t look at the commentaries.

You can look at them later, but you don’t look at the commentaries to find out what other people think or discovered. Rather, you go to the Word of God yourself.

When you go to the Word of God yourself, it basically involves three things that intertwine with one another. It’s not first and then second and then third.

You observe the text; you discover, “What does it say?” Most of our error in handling the Word of God comes because we really don’t know what it says, or we don’t examine it in its context and its setting in that particular chapter, in that particular book, or in light of the whole counsel of God.

Nancy: You have a big Bible sitting in front of you. Is this a Kay Arthur Study Bible?

Kay: No, it’s not a Kay Arthur Study Bible, but it’s called The New Inductive Study Bible. It’s open to 1 Corinthians 15 right now.

Nancy: So if we were going to be looking at 1 Corinthians 15 . . . you wouldn’t start with chapter 15 if you were studying 1 Corinthians.

Kay: You’d have studied the whole book.

Nancy: But you’ve come to chapter 15. What kind of questions would you ask about the text as you’re looking at it?

Kay: When you observe the text, the first thing you want is you get ahold of it. You ask the questions, “Who, what, when, where, why, and how?”

  • Who is this about?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • Who is speaking?
  • To whom are they speaking?

You start with the most obvious when you’re studying inductively. You look for the easiest to see. People are the easiest to see.

If you walk into a room and there’s a person there, you may not see all the pictures on the wall, but you see the person. So you look at who.

And then what:

  • What is this about?
  • What is it saying?
  • What is the subject, or what is this person doing, or what is this event?

So you look at who and then what.

Then when is this happening? When is something that we usually miss if we’re not careful; especially if you’re studying prophecy, you can get your prophecy all messed up.

So you want to find out,

  • When is this happening?
  • When is it going to take place?

So it’s who, what, when. Then where.

  • Where is this happening?

I put a green circle around every when. Then I double underline in green and find out the where. Where did this happen? Where is this land that he’s talking about? Where is Christ coming from? Where is He coming to? So you ask the where.

Every word of God is God-breathed, so every word is important, and I want to pay attention to it. So it’s who, what, when, where, and then why.

  • Why did he say this?
  • Why is this happening?

You want to ask that question. Then how.

  • Does He tell us how?

For instance, in Philippians 4:6 He tells us, “Be anxious for nothing.” Then He tells us how. Literally in the Greek it’s, “Stop being anxious,” and then He tells us how.

Well, we’re in 1 Corinthians 15 because that’s where my Bible was open. So we start reading:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain (verses 1-2).

He’s talking about the gospel. So what we do (and they would find this out from reading 1 Corinthians) is mark key words.

Remember, the Bible is an oral book. It wasn’t until the 1400s A.D. that we had our own copies of the Bible. Up until then every copy of the Bible was copied by hand.

So they heard. Well, if you want somebody to get what you’re hearing, you repeat it. You use the same word.

So we would have them mark gospel, and they would see gospel as they go through the text. I mark it in a distinctive way. I color code it.

So in this Inductive Study Bible, it gives you the instructions for observing the text of every single book of the Bible.

Then it shows you, in the front of the Inductive Study Bible, how to color code. It gives you ways that you can color code key words throughout the Bible. It teaches you how to observe, because there’s far more to see.

Then, from observation, you move to interpretation.

Nancy: Let me back up on observation here. What you’re really saying is, instead of just reading casually, skipping over the words of the Bible, just looking at it from a distance, you’re really putting it under a microscope.

Kay: Exactly. What I say is, “Hang on every word.”

Nancy: And that’s meditation.

Kay: That is meditation. Exactly.

Nancy: Which God says will make us successful in everything we do [see Joshua 1:8].

Kay: Exactly. In fact, when you slow down . . . this is what meditation is. It’s like a cow chewing its cud.

The cow has, I think, seven stomachs. Anyway, it has a number of stomachs. It chews that stuff, swallows it, and then a little while later brings it back into its mouth, chews it again, and then it goes into another stomach.

So what he’s doing is, he’s thinking about it. He’s ruminating these truths in his mind.

Nancy: Digesting it thoroughly.

Kay: Digesting it thoroughly. So like in verse 1, let me just show you one thing. You would mark the word gospel. Then you would mark the pronouns.

He says, “I make known to you, brethren, the gospel [mark gospel] which I preached to you [mark which], which also you received [mark which because it’s referring to the gospel], in which [referring to the gospel] also you stand, by which [mark which again because it’s referring to the gospel] also you were saved.”

Then you look at this, and you think, “Okay, what do I learn about the gospel?” You make a list.

The gospel was preached to them. The gospel was received by them. The gospel was that on which they stand. The gospel is that by which they’re saved, but “if you hold fast [to] the word which I preached to you.” In other words, it’s something that you will continue to believe.

Then he says, “For I delivered to you”—well, he delivered the gospel. What did he deliver? “As of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins”—what?—“according to the Scriptures” (verse 3).

So he’s explaining what the gospel is. The gospel is the death of Christ, for what? Our sins.

So you stop and look at that. You see, “Oh, I’m a sinner.” This is what he delivered to them according to the Scripture.

You read down to verse 4: “He was buried . . . He was raised on the third day according to”—what?—“the Scriptures.”

So you see a key repeated phrase. All of a sudden when you begin to meditate on this, to observe it, to hang on it, you find out, “Oh, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. What does He mean ‘according to the Scriptures?’ He means according to the Old Testament.”

In other words, the message of the death of Christ is in the Old Testament. Then he says, “He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

“Oh, you can not only find the death of Jesus in the Old Testament,” because that was the Scriptures at this time, “you can find the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day in the Old Testament.”

So this is what you begin to do. It explains that you go from observation (discovering what does it say?) to interpretation (what does it mean?).

But the more you observe, the more you meditate on the Scriptures, precious one (and you know this), the more you’ll know the interpretation, because God is perspicuous. This means He wants to be understood.

Like you said in that testimony you just read, that gal said she was “a common woman.” This is what people all over the world are discovering.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been. Honey, I don’t have a college degree, yet I know the Word of God because I study it inductively.

So you go from observation (what does it say?) to interpretation (what does it mean?), and then application. Now, application is not, “Tell us, what does this passage mean to you?” It’s not what does it mean to you; you’ve already discovered what it says.

Application is, “How are you going to change your thinking to line up with what the Word of God says? How are you going to order your life so that you walk the walk you talk?”

In other words, application is not, “What does this mean to you?” Application is, “This is what it says. I have to change my mind about that,” which is repentance. “This is what it says, and I have to change my behavior to match up with the Word of God.”

Nancy: Don’t you think that’s a huge missing ingredient in a lot of people who have been in church for years and years? They’ve heard the Word, maybe read it for themselves, but they’ve never changed their thinking and their responses in their lives to conform with the Scripture.

Kay: The problem is, they’ve sat there and they’ve heard, but they haven’t studied it for themselves. One of the things that distresses me is that it’s thrown up on the screen.

So you’re sitting in church, but you don’t need your Bible because it’s thrown up on the screen. Or, there’s not a lot of Bible taught. So you hear, but you haven’t really meditated.

Nancy: Someone is spoon feeding you.

Kay: Exactly.

Nancy: You’re not feeding yourself.

Kay: That’s what the problem was with the Corinthians.

Paul says, “You’re on milk and not on meat. And because you haven’t gone from milk to meat, then you are fleshly” (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, paraphrased).

I think a lot of people in the church haven’t gone to meat. I meet women (I’ve heard this rumor, and I want to dispel it) who say, “Don’t take Precept. It’s hard.” Precept is not hard. Precept requires discipline, but the rewards are great.

But to say it’s too hard, no; you just want to be spoon fed. You just want to be entertained. You just want some woman to stand up here and tell you a lot of stories and then tell you how to solve your marriage.

All that’s important, but the main thing is that I know God, and I’ve become like Him. Then through being in His Word, I know how to do the marriage; I know how to do the other.

Nancy: We want quick fixes.

Kay: Oh yes.

Nancy: And shortcuts to the process of sanctification.

Kay: Exactly. But we really don’t want sanctification.

Nancy: We want the result without going through the process.

Kay: Exactly.

Nancy: I know you’ve told me that one of your frustrations is that today people increasingly want short studies and no “study,” no homework. You can’t become like Jesus and become the mature woman God wants you to be without going through the process and paying that price.

Kay: You are so right. That is such a burden to me; such a burden. I think, “We do not understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Jesus says, “If anyone [is going to] come after me, let him deny himself [aorist tense: one point in time] and take up his cross [aorist tense: one point in time] and follow me [present tense: continuous action]” (Matthew 16:24, paraphrased).

There needs to come a point in your life, precious one, when you say to God, “God, I am not going to be a second class citizen. I am going to be a disciple of disciples. I am going to deny myself. I am going to take up my cross. I’m going to follow You.”

He says, “Whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35). The problem is, we want this world, and enough of the Word to keep us out of trouble. That’s not what it’s all about.

We’re called to a cross, and we forget that. We are called to say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

Nancy: So for the person who is saying, “I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of discipline; that’s a hard word; I don’t know if I’m ready for deep or serious Bible study,” what’s the payoff? What’s the reward? Why is it worth making the investment?

Kay: First of all, I want to say to you, “Honey, you do not know God very well. You don’t understand His righteousness and His holiness if you’re saying you’re not ready.”

Nancy: So what will make somebody want to have that hunger and thirst? How do you cultivate that?

Kay: Get in the Word of God. When you get in the Word of God and you begin to study it inductively, it’s going to cultivate that.

The other thing is, you have to make some tough decisions. You need to turn off the television. You need to put up some of these Christian novels.

Sometimes I listen to women speakers give their testimonies, and they tell all this stuff, and there’s nothing of the Word of God. I just said to one, “I can either give them the words of man, or I can give them the Word of God.” And today people are preferring the words of man to the Word of God.

I learn from books. I write books. But I’m telling you, put up your books and get into the Book.

You say, “I don’t know how.” The front of the Inductive Study Bible will tell you how. It has everything you need to start studying inductively.

I’ve written a book called Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days. It gets you started and shows you the way.

I’ve written one that’s even better. It’s longer. It’s God, Are You There?

Do You care? Do You know about me? It’s an inductive study on the gospel of John, and I teach you one skill of observation each time, each lesson as we go through.

Nancy: So what are the rewards?

Kay: Oh, the rewards are Christlikeness; knowing your God. “The people who know their God [are able to] stand firm” (Daniel 11:32).

The reward is that no matter what comes your way, you can be steadfast and immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord [see 1 Corinthians 15:58]. That’s the reward.

The reward is that when you stand at the judgment seat of Christ, which every Christian will do (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10), and you give an account of your deeds done in your body, whether they be good or bad, you’ll hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, ESV).

The reward is, you won’t have a wasted life.

The reward is, like Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (paraphrased), “Who is my joy or my crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you at the appearing of the Lord?” because you won’t stand there alone. There will be people impacted by your life. You don’t have to be a teacher, but all of us are teaching through the way we live and the advice we give.

Leslie: Kay Arthur has been giving plenty of good advice, talking there with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Listening to that conversation inspires me to get more into the Word of God.

If you feel the same way, I hope you’ll contact us and get a copy of Kay’s book, Discover the Bible for Yourself. It’s a helpful book because of the way it points you to the ultimate Book, God’s Word. Kay will show you how to tackle each book of the Bible, and she’ll give you a process of understanding, studying, and appreciating the Bible as a whole.

We’ll send you a copy of Discover the Bible for Yourself when you donate any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Just visit our website and make your donation of any amount. If the telephone is your preferred method, dial 800-569-5959.

And don’t miss your chance to see Kay Arthur and Nancy Leigh DeMoss in person, at the True Woman conference this October in Fort Worth. They are part of a powerful lineup of speakers who will help you understand what they Bible says. They’ll show you how to live it out in uniquely feminine ways in our day.

Get more details on the two True Woman Conferences, in Indianapolis this September. Or in Fort Worth this October. For information, visit


Kay Arthur says faith is not really faith until it’s tested. Discover what brought her to that conclusion tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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