Observe, Interpret, Apply (OIA). That’s the heart of this blog’s message. We follow these steps when we read the Bible because God has communicated, and OIA is communication. This is one reason OIA is the best Bible study method.
However, what matters is not the terminology but the substance. The substance is both simple and profound, but people might use different terms to describe the same thing.
Case in point: John Boyd’s OODA loop. According to the Art of Manliness, “John Boyd is described by some as the greatest military strategist in history that no one knows.” He developed a strategic tool to help fighter pilots, but this tool has also proved helpful for governments, businesses, and other competitive entities.
The OODA loop describes a process of thinking and decision-making that deals with uncertainty and gives a competitive edge.
- O: Observe
- O: Orient
- D: Decide
- A: Act
Can you see any similarities to OIA?
If not, let me remind you that the Interpretation (I) phase of Bible study can be divided into two sub-phases: Q&A and determining the author’s main point. Boyd’s “Orient” step involves breaking down your presumptions and reconstructing ideas from the data you’ve observed (very much like Q&A). His “Decide” step involves making an educated guess about which mental model best fits the situation (sounds like taking a stab at the author’s main point).
If you’re interested in the philosophical underpinnings of how to think and make decisions, you’ll find Brett McKay’s article fascinating. Don’t get distracted by his use of unfamiliar terminology (including “The Tao of Boyd”). McKay describes something that explains human communication and decision-making, which is why we can see Jesus using the same process with the Scripture (reason #3 for why OIA is the best Bible study method).
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the OODA Loop – it has the power and potential to change your life.
HT: Andy Cimbala