Topical Study

Topical Bible study can be one of the most exciting ways to study the Bible. It involves selecting a biblical subject, such as justice, and tracing it through God’s Word. It can be used to study a doctrine, idea, or any subject in the Bible. The Bible student begins with a predetermined subject about which he or she would like more information and approaches the Bible to see what God says about it.

Tools you’ll need

  • A study Bible

  • An exhaustive concordance


Suggestions for a good topical study

  • Be thorough. As far as possible, and using your concordance, find and study every verse that relates to the topic.

  • Be precise. Trying to study what the Bible says about prayer, for instance, would be an overwhelming task, and most Bible students would likely get bogged down and quit before finishing. Instead, the topic of prayer could be limited by studying the following: “The prayers of Jesus” or “Intercessory prayer” or “Prayers God granted”.

  • See our "Suggested topics" for a list of possible studies.


The method


Step One: Make a list

  • List all the words you can think of related to your subject. If you’re studying covenants, for example, you might list testament, agreement, promise, treaty, oath, and guarantee.

  • If your list is too long or broad, narrow it down.


Step Two: Collect references

  • Using your concordance, look up each word listed in the first step.

  • Write down all references listed for each word.


Step Three: Study

  • Look up, read, and meditate on each verse.

  • For each verse or passage, write down observations and insights that relate to your subject. For example, “God made a covenant with Noah”, “God initiated covenant”, “unconditional covenant”, or “God’s covenants are irrevocable.”

  • Make sure your observations include both details from the passage and insights gleaned from meditation. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you about what the passage means.


Step Four: Organize insights

  • As you completed step three, you probably noticed some overlap or common themes. If not, consider now how your responses could be grouped or categorized. Jot these categories on a piece of paper.

  • Group related or similar references together in divisions and create and outline.


Step Five: Conclude

  • Summarize your findings in a brief paragraph.

  • Write out a practical application drawn from your study. That is, based on what you have learned, what will you do differently?


Step Six: Disciple

  • Now that you have a Bible lesson outlined, share it with someone or a group of people. Be a disciple-maker!

Suggested topics