Opinions. Our culture is full of them. Many of them are held with an intense passion. So, how are we to discern which opinions are true? We live in a time where truth does not like to be defined. As Christians, our source of absolute and infinite truth is found in God’s Word. Therefore, we need to seek out God’s opinion on any given subject. A topical Bible study is a great way to discover Truth in any given area.
While the Bible may not give us a clear answer to every question and differing opinion we encounter, it does give us the answers and principles we need for living a godly and righteous life.
All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16
With God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to hear and discern God’s voice and understand His heart.
The definition of a topical Bible study is simply exploring different scriptures, within their context, to determine what the Bible says about any specific subject.
You can search throughout the entire Bible, or limit your scope of scriptures that you study to a single book, chapter, or section. While a topical study can be done just for the sake of learning what the Bible says about any given subject or idea, it can also be used to help you interpret a specific verse or passage that you are seeking to understand more fully.
How to Do a Topical Bible Study in 6 Easy Steps
Here is a simple process you can use to help you dig deeper into any topic you want to study. This is just my own preference of how to study a topic. You can make adjustments based on what works best for you.
Next, you will want to gather your Bible study tools. Along with your Bible, you may want a notebook, Bible dictionary, and some online tools.
Bible Gateway is a great online resource for studying the Bible by topic. Just type the topic you want to study in the search bar and it will give you all the related verses.
Also, Blue Letter Bible is another great online tool for looking up words in the original language and cross-referencing. Here is a video where I show you how to use this tool.
You can also find some great topical Bible reading plans that have a list of verses for you to look up that all relate to any given topic.
Get the FREE Monthly Topical Bible Reading Plan
Do a Word Study of the Topic
Use your word study tools to look up the original meaning of the word or phrase in the Greek and Hebrew. This will not work for every topic you study. Some subjects are based on a biblical principle rather than a specific word. However, if the topic you are studying allows for it, a word study can be very helpful in discerning what the Bible says about the subject.
Find Related Verses for Your Topical Bible Study
Like I said earlier, Bible Gateway is a great tool for finding topical bible verses. There are many other ways you can look for related verses to the Bible topic you are studying. Here are a few resources to help you:
Ask a search engine (like Google or DuckDuck Go)
Look in the back of your Bible. Many bibles will have a list of verses by topic.
List What You Learn About the Topic
After you have gathered a list of verses related to your topic, you will want to write down what each verse teaches you about it. As you read through the passages ask yourself the 5 w’s and h questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how) and list everything that the text reveals.
Take your time with this. I find it helpful to get a colored pencil or pen and mark every reference to the word, phrase, or topic you are studying. This helps you to slow down and not miss anything that the scripture is saying. After marking, go back and write down what the scripture says.
Write a Summary Statement About the Topic
After you have done your own exhaustive study of what the Bible says about your topic, write a few sentences in your own words about what you learned. This is also a great point for application. After writing your summary, write out how you need to apply it to your own life and to your relationship with the Lord.
Are there any promises to cling to?
Is there any sin you need to confess?
Are there any lies you are believing?
Are there any attitudes you need to adjust?
Are there any attributes of God that the text reveals?
A Word of Warning about Studying the Bible by Topic
I want to caution you in one area. When we do any method of Bible study, we must remember to keep the text in its context. The author of any given book had one interpretation in mind as they wrote it. This is the interpretation we are looking for.
It’s very easy, especially in topical Bible study, to take the verses out of context. As you read each related verse to the topic you are studying, I recommended reading ten verses before and after the verse. This will help you keep it in its context and understand the true meaning of the passage.
There are many different ways in which the passage can be applied to our lives. However, in order for us to apply God’s Word appropriately, we must know how to interpret it accurately.
Use the SOAP Method With Topical Bible Study
I love using the SOAP method of Bible study alongside topical Bible study. If you were to take one month to study any specific topic, you could look at one passage per day, then SOAP that one passage. SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. This is a great way to make a meaningful connection with the Lord each and every day in 15 minutes or less. If you are a busy mom, or maybe a busy grandma, this system may work out very well for you!
There are also some great topical devotions for women that you can find to help you connect with the Lord every day.
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