With the Summer Bible Study of 1 Peter a few weeks away we wanted to give you an opportunity to study something else. What you may ask… well that is up to you. Maybe you would like to study prayer, adoption, humility, or worship. We want to help you spend the first few weeks of summer doing a topical Bible Study of your choice.
How to do a topical Bible Study:
- Choose a topic. Something that interests you. Maybe it is a question you have… Maybe it is an area you want to grow in… Pray about it, ask God what you should study. Some topics to get you thinking: witnessing, missions, God’s word, wealth, integrity, love, marriage, priorities, fruitfulness, joy, the Holy Spirit, fear, faith, courage, anger, discipleship, thankfulness, purity, sexuality, poverty, peace, work…
- Tell someone about it who will keep you accountable to do it and who you can share your discoveries with.
- Find scripture passages. There are a lot of ways to find passages. You can use a concordance, cross-reference Bible, e-sword, online Bible search, ask a friend, ect. Look for the word, look for examples and stories where it is lived out or illustrated, look for it in the OT and NT. Look up related words and ideas. Dig until you feel you have a good idea of the Biblical landscape for your topic.
- Summarize or Outline. Remember, all scripture is God Breathed and useful, but at this point it is helpful to narrow down the passages you have found to about a dozen that are key to the topic. Some passages can be grouped together. Once you have things organized, dig in to the central passages. Read their context, study key words and ideas. Study hard until you feel you understand what these passages say and how they relate to your topic. Remember, they could completely re-define the way you think about the topic because we are not simply looking for evidence of what we already know, we are seeking to learn something from God. Write out a summary or outline of the Biblical teaching on your topic.
- List problems. Just because we do a topical Bible Study on a topic does not mean that no questions remain. After summarizing what you have learned it is often helpful to list questions what still remain. Questions don’t mean that you haven’t learned something, rather they mean that you are really thinking about the topic and seeking to understand it more fully. Noting these questions can help with future Bible Study and open discussion on the topic with friends.
- Seek Counsel. It is important to recognize that no matter how well you know the Bible there is always someone who knows it better. Often when studying difficult passages or topics it is helpful to seek counsel from other believers. Ask your pastor, ask a friend, ask me, listen to an online sermon. The one caution here is to be a Berean about it (Acts 17:11) and make sure that what is being said is in line with the Bible. Often these conversations can be a catalyst for better topical Bible Study.
- Memorize a key verse. For application it is often helpful to choose a key verse or passage and memorize it. This is something that might have to do with application, for instance if your study was on “using words well”, maybe Matthew 12:36-37 could be a key verse for application.
- Develop Convictions and Application. One of the best reasons to do your own topical Bible Study is that you can begin to shape your own convictions. Maybe you pray, read the Bible, and go to church because someone told you to or because its what everyone else does. Developing your own convictions means letting the scripture speak into your own life and coming to your own conclusions about how you should think and live in response to the Bible. Write down how the Bible’s take on the topic should shape your thoughts and actions. Make specific, realistic, and measurable goals for applying the truth you have learned.
- E-Sword Instruction Sheet
- http://thegospelcoalition.org/ Good Resources from Biblical Teachers
Check out this interesting portrayal of Jesus’ ministry in modern terms:
Here is a great reading plan from Discipleship Journal that will get you through the Bible in 1 year. Nothing can help you better grasp of the story line of the entire Bible than reading it. I once heard Jerry Bridges say at a conference that his goal is to read through the entire Bible every year of his life. It is no suprise that Jerry knows the word so well!
Robert Plummer, a New Testament Professor from Southern Seminary has written an excellent book called “40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible.” In this book Dr. Plummer discusses how we approach the Bible in general as well as how we should approach specific genre’s.
This is a great resource for anyone who is diving in to Bible study and includes many important reminders about carefully approaching and discovering the meaning of text. If you aren’t sure where to start or how to figure out the Bible this book is a great resource to help you get started.
You can read the 40 questions answered in the book on Dr. Plummers blog.
2 Corinthians 4:6
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
In 2 Corinthians 3-6 Paul is exhorting his readers to follow his example in living in such a way as to make known the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ. The Glory of God, the purpose of all things in God’s creation, is the ultimate thing that we are meant to experience. It is the satisfaction of the deepest desires of our hearts, it is the purpose of every molecule in the universe, and it is found in the face of Jesus Christ. John Piper puts it like this in his great book Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ (Avaliable in PDF for free):
The Christian Gospel is “the gospel of the glory of
Christ” because its final aim is that we would see and savor
and show the glory of Christ. For this is none other than the
glory of God. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and
the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). “He is the
image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). When the
light of the Gospel shines in our hearts, it is “the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”
(2 Corinthians 4:6). And when we “rejoice in hope of the
glory of God” (Romans 5:2), that hope is “our blessed hope,
the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus
Christ” (Titus 2:13). The glory of Christ is the glory of God.
So join us this semester as we seek to look deeply into Jesus and discover life’s ultimate meaning, purpose, and satisfaction. As we “discover Jesus” this semester, may God open our eyes to See and to Savor more of his unending Glory.
Wanted to let you know about the amazing resources avaliable at www.discipleshiplibrary.com. Discipleship Library is a collection of decades of audio and written messages by hundreds of Navigators staff from Dawson Trotman, who founded the Navs in the 1930′s, to today’s staff. There are also many messages given by other Christian leaders at Nav conferences and events. Here are a few messages and speakers that I highly recommend you check out!
Here is a helpful illustration called “Two ways to live” that is great for explaining the gospel message. It goes all the way back to the beginning and God lovingly creating the world. It is from Matthias Media out of Australia. I like TWTL because it briefly summarizes the gospel but doesn’t assume any prior knowledge of God, the Bible, or Jesus. It is also easy to remember and to sketch out on paper.
I also like that it is Chronological not topical. It follows the flow of redemptive history: creation, the fall, sin’s penalty, Jesus’ life and death, Jesus’ resurrection and reign, and the choice we all face. Check out Two ways to live for yourself:
You can view Two Ways to live online here:
More information about the Illustration here:
You can also order print versions here:
As we study the sermon on the mount this fall here is a resource that you will enjoy. Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones was one of the greatest preachers and teachers of the last century and his book, Studies on the Sermon on the Mount is a classic. Preview it here in Google Books:
If you don’t have e-sword yet, you are missing out!
What is e-sword? Free Bible software
What can it do? Lots of cool things that are helpful when you are studying the Bible.
What does it cost? $0 and about 5 minutes of your time
Where is it? www.e-sword.net
Note: Once you have downloaded the new version of e-sword you can get add-ons by selecting them from the “download” menu.
Recommended free Add-ons:
Bibles: ESV (my favorite English Bible!)
Dictionaries: BDB (Hebrew word definitions), Thayer (Greed definitions), Nave (Topical Bible), KJC (a great concordance based on strong’s numbers)
Commentaries: TSK (great cross references), VWS (helpful word studies), Henry (Matthew Henry’s commentary)
If you have never used wordle.net, you should give it a try. Wordle takes any text you give it and makes a word cloud that you can format. This particular cloud is the sermon on the mount (Matt 5-7 ESV) which is the subject of this semester’s Bible Study. I like how the word cloud makes it easy to see the ideas that Jesus emphasizes through repetition.
Make your own! www.wordle.net