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"....that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them...." Romans 1:19 NASB®

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posted 3/1/2009

Inductive Bible study on the book of Daniel

I am currently developing and teaching a class on the book of Daniel at my church for an adult class. I have decided to expand these lessons and place them on the internet for others to study. The method I am using in this class is called the inductive study method. When someone studies something inductively, he or she digs into the subject (in this case the book of Daniel) and learns as much as possible from the book before reading what others say about it.

I am planning between 14 and 16 lessons to cover the book of Daniel. After that I hope to continue into the book of Revelation, but Daniel needs to be studied first to provide a foundation for understanding Revelation. Feel free to use these lessons either individually or in a group. Lessons will be posted periodically on this site, probably on approximately an every-other-week basis. So far, the following lessons have been posted:

  • Lesson 0 - Getting started in the study of Daniel.
  • Lesson 1 - How does the book of Daniel fit into the Bible and into history?

to the inductive Bible study on the book of Daniel

An introductory story

A little over 2600 years ago, a 15 year old boy (approximate age) was kidnapped from his family.  He was taken from his country and transported to the place that we now know as Iraq.  This boy was kidnapped so that he and some of his friends could serve in the court of an evil dictator, Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon.  When he got to Babylon, they did several things to this boy – first Nebuchadnezzar gave him a new name, named after one of his gods.  Second, he was trained for 3 years in the language, customs, and religion of the people of Babylon. And third, the king wanted to make this boy and the others with him eat food, some very good food, from the king’s court.  All of these things were designed by the king to brain wash this boy and his friends, so that they would be better servants of the king, instead of having allegiances to their old country and to their old religion.

The problem was, this boy was a very devout Jew, and he worshipped the True and Living God - not the gods of the Babylonians, or the god Bel after whom the king had renamed him.  This 15 year old boy decided to take a stand, and he chose to honor God even though he knew he might be giving up his own life to do so.  Instead of eating the non-kosher food that the king wanted him to eat, he chose to honor and follow God, and he did not eat the food that the king wanted him to eat.

God honored this decision, and this boy grew up.  He served in the courts of at least 4 kings during his life.  In fact, through the example of this man, at least two of the four kings that he served, turned from worshipping their own false gods and became worshippers of the True and Living God – the same God that we as Christians worship today.  In fact, it was quite possibly through the legacy that this man left, that around 500 years later, several important officials from the east, the Wise Men or Magi, showed up to worship a New Born King – Jesus Christ – when He was born.  But that is a different story.  So back to the story I’m telling.

Now early in the reign of the 4th king, this man was given a very high position, right under the king himself.  This made all of the other politicians angry and jealous, and they devised a plan where they tricked the king to sign a law, that for 30 days, no one was to pray to any god except the king.  They knew this man, who was now about 80 years old, was so devoted to his God that he would disobey the king, because they knew that this man prayed to his God openly 3 times a day!  And they knew from his character that he would not break this habit, no matter what the penalty was.  They made the penalty of breaking this law, death!  Death by being eaten alive by lions!

So as Paul Harvey would say, “Now you know the rest of the story!”  I’m sure that by now you have guessed that the man I am talking about is Daniel.  I would think most of you know the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den!  -- But you don’t know the rest of the story.  This summary only gets you through about one-half of the book of Daniel in the Bible.  The second half of the book provides detailed prophecies about the various world kingdoms that would follow after the death of Daniel.  They contain prophecies about the end of the world.  And they contain one of the most detailed prophecies in the Bible about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, about 2000 years ago.  To know more, continue your study!

to the inductive Bible study on the book of Daniel

Why study the book of Daniel?

Are you interested in apocalyptic literature?  Are you worried about the end of time?  Would you like to understand Bible prophecy concerning the end of the world (including the prophecies in the book of Revelation)?  Would you like to study Bible prophecy that predicted exactly when the Jewish Messiah (Christ) would appear the first time?  Would you like to be inspired by a man of faith?  Would you like to know that God is in control, even though you are going through suffering or persecution for your faith?  These are all reasons to study the book of Daniel in the Bible!  Furthermore, the book of Daniel should be studied before you even consider studying the book of Revelation.

The book of Daniel is written by and about a man of faith.  The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament of the Bible alludes to two stories from the book of Daniel:

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.  Hebrews 11:32-34 NASB® (emphasis mine)

The book of Daniel is also one of the apocalyptic books in the Bible, giving detailed prophecy of the end of time.  Jesus, in His teaching on the end times, refers to Daniel the prophet, and mentions one of his prophecies (see Matthew 24:15).  In addition to this, the book of Daniel gives detailed prophecy concerning when the Messiah or Christ was to appear the first time.  Daniel gives this prophecy more than 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.  Finally, the book of Daniel emphasizes the sovereignty of God.

My method of teaching is to provide some guidance while having the student dig into the Bible for himself or herself.  I believe in doing what is called an “inductive Bible study.”  To do an inductive Bible study, the student learns all he or she can from the Bible itself on the subject being studied before looking at what other people say about it.  This is particularly important for the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation in the Bible.  So much popular literature has been written about end-time prophecy in the Bible, that people trust what someone says or writes about, instead of studying what the Bible says.  There are also a lot of false teachers and cults that use the end-time prophecies in the Bible to make a lot of money, to draw people into their false teachings, and to draw people away from a true view of Christ!  It is important to know what the Bible says instead of what others say about the Bible.

People also like to speculate about end-time subjects.  I can’t remember how many times I have heard someone speculate about the identity of the Anti-Christ in the 54 years that I have been alive.  I also remember people speculating about certain prophecies and their possible relationship with nuclear or biological warfare.  Speculating can be fun, but it can also be destructive.  I look at what I know about apocalyptic literature in the Bible, and at times I like to speculate too.  But I always need to come back to the fact that the Bible does not tell us every last detail about the end of time and the events leading up to it.  Speculating about the end-times has very wide error bars.  Bible prophecy was not written for us to predict the future; it was written so that we would recognize events when or as they happen.  It was also written to both warn us of things that will happen, and to comfort us by showing us that God is in control no matter what happens.  Knowing your Bible prevents you from being led astray!

The book of Daniel contains a lot more than just end-time prophecy.  It shows us the life of a man of faith, who even though he was in a terrible set of circumstances, was completely sold out for God.  It teaches us a lot about who God is and about many of His attributes.  It shows us that God is in control!  It provides one of the most detailed prophecies in the Bible predicting the Jewish Messiah and when He was to come!  This is a major evidence that Jesus Christ is the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for!  I hope you enjoy this study and use it to grow into a deeper relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ.

to the inductive Bible study on the book of Daniel


Index of Blogs

Faith and Reason -

Many people think "faith" is believing something for which there is no evidence. Schopenhauer wrote that faith and knowledge are opposites. Around Christmas, we are bombarded with heart warming movies & TV shows, kids cartoons, and Christmas specials, in which someone will almost always say something like, "You gotta believe!" They make "faith" out to be some etheral, can't quite touch it, marshmello-fluff idea. But that is not the definition of Biblical faith. So what is faith? And how does it relate to knowledge? Following are some blogs related to this topic.

Faith and knowledge vs Schopenhauer
Photo courtesy of NASA

Faith and the skeptic - Doubting Thomas
Photo courtesy of NASA.

A skeptical faith -

Doubting Thomas was a skeptic. So was Dr. Luke, author of two Biblical books. Moses, the Apostle Paul, and others in the Bible authors taught that we should be skeptical of some things. Good scientists are skeptics too. Following are some blogs showing the relationship between faith and skepticism.

Error bars on our faith -

None of us have perfect knowledge. Good scientists use error bars to quantify how uncertain they are of the measurements that they make. They are able to calculate the probability of their measurements being wrong. In other words, scientists use error bars to show how much faith they can put in their data. We also have "error bars" on what we know about God and the Bible. In other words, our faith in God has an uncertainty on it too. The amount of faith we can place in God is proportional to how much true knowledge we have about God - how well we know God. But these error bars on our faith are much narrower than most people think. Following are some blogs related to the error bars on our faith.

uncertainty in faith

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