The Bible is an amazing book, and there are so many truths and promises in it that we can learn from.
But studying the Bible can be quite daunting. How do I do it? Where do I start?
The topical approach to studying can be a great way to get into God’s Word.
You choose the topic you want to study, learn what it means, whether it’s a word, or a phrase, and explore how it is weaved throughout the entire Word of God. It can be a broad way of studying a particular theme or word, as an overview, or, you can go more deeply into the subject.
For example, if you chose ‘Grace’ as your topic you would learn what God’s grace means and how God extends His grace throughout the Bible. You would be able to follow the topic through to see how God’s grace was there from the beginning, from the Garden of Eden, through the history of the Children of Israel, through to Christ’s coming, and the birth and early years of the church.
Topical studies are great for Scripture Journaling and also would be a great way to Color Code your Bible!
It’s always a great place to start with prayer. Firstly, to pray and ask the Lord what topic He would like to teach you, and then before each study spend a little time in prayer asking the Lord to show you His truth and what He wants to reveal to you along the way. I like to pray Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of your law”.
Choose a Topic
Prayerfully choose your topic. The Bible is a never ending resource and there are so many topics you can choose. The topic could be a word, or a phrase, or even a person. You may want to follow a theme that your pastor is speaking on at church, or in Bible Study, or it may be something more personal, like an issue you are struggling with, such as anxiety or fear.
Look Up References
Start looking up, and writing down, references for your topic. You can use a Bible concordance or Bible dictionary to help you. There are plenty of online references you can use also, just type your word or phrase into the search engine and see what comes up.
You will most likely have a very long list by this stage so once you have your list sort through which of the verses you want to use for your study
Read and Observe
Now you have your verses it’s time to start your study.
You don’t need to rush through the process.
You may want to complete the study in an allocated time, such as a morning or an afternoon, or, alternatively, you may want to take longer with it, working your way through one verse or one passage at a time, using a different one each day as part of your quiet time or devotional time so you can really allow God’s Word to soak into you over a period of time.
As you read make observations, ask questions, look for principles.
Ask who, what, when, where and why of the verses.
What is the main point of the passage?
What does the passage tell me about God/myself?
Are there any instructions in the passage?
Write down your answers and observations.
Conclude and Apply
James 1:22 instructs us to be doers of the Word not just hearers.
Once you have read the passage of Scripture, asked yourself questions about it, and made some observations it’s then time to make it personal.
We rob ourselves if we approach Scripture from a purely academic level and not make it personal and allow it to transform our lives.
What is God saying to you, what is He teaching you through these verses? Is there a truth about God that you have learned? Is there an action He wants you to take? Is there something He wants you to change?
This part can take a little time as you reflect, and pray, and ask God to show you the truth of what He wants to teach you.
It’s a good idea to write down your application, it helps to clarify your thoughts and any actions you wish to take, and it also serves as a prompt and a reminder as you reflect back later.
Share What You Have Learned
Not everyone is comfortable with this, but it can be a great thing to share with a friend, a partner, or even on social media, the lessons God is teaching you. It’s not only good for you, to reinforce those lessons, but it can be an encouragement to others.
Some Suggested Topics for Study
- Abiding in Christ
- Names of God
- Blessings of God
- Prayers of Jesus
- Prophecies about Jesus
- The Word
- Waiting on the Lord
- Wealth & Possessions
- Wisdom & Foolishness
It’s an exciting journey as you start delving into Scripture, and God never ceases to surprise and amaze me at what He teaches me.
Have you tried Scripture Journaling? It’s as a great way to study God’s Word and to do a Topical Bible Study.
The SOAP method is also a good one to use for Bible study and devotional times.
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