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How to Do a Topical Bible Study

Effectively studying the bible is so important for growing in your faith and building your relationship with God. There are many methods of studying the bible and all have immense benefits for your life.

One bible study method that allows you to grow in your knowledge of God’s intention for the situations and circumstances you find yourself in is the topical bible study.

Studying the bible in this manner is an excellent way to focus on a particular subject. It allows your heart to truly press into God’s heart on the matter. Keep reading for a complete guide to topical bible studies.

woman reading the bible and taking notes on a notepad, next to a cup of coffee

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What is a Topical Bible Study

It is essential for us as believers to be consistent in our study of the word of God. This consistency helps us to press into God’s heart for different seasons we find ourselves in. It also allows us to gain insight into questions we may have concerning God’s character, purpose, and plans for our lives. When we are faced with these ideas, a topical bible study is the perfect way to focus our bible study time.

So, what does “topical study” mean?

Well, a topical study is a method of studying the bible that involves meditating on scripture specific to a word, phrase, problem, or thought. Most topical bible studies start with the question, “What does the bible say about _____.” This question is a powerful one to ask, because it leads even the newest believer into a journey of study studying the Word of God, and any meaningful time spent studying scriptures is time well spent


How to do a Topical Study

Once you have determined that you would like to study the bible topically the next order of business is to grab your bible and get started! The steps are quite simple and before you know it you will be well on your way to getting to know God better through the topical method of bible study.

If you need some additional resources for this type of study or others, be sure to visit our Bible Study Resource Page.

Choose a Topic

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the focus of your topical bible study! As mentioned previously, all you need to do to get started with this method of bible study is to ask the question, “What does the bible say about ____?”

Your topic can be as simple as faith or trust, and as abstract as hearing God’s voice or giving your worries to God.

Gather Reference Materials

The next step in completing a topical study of the bible is to gather any reference supplies that you may want to use. These supplies will help you to dive deeper into the meaning of words that stick out to you during your study and can give you insight into the actual translations. Suggested reference materials include:

  • Bible concordance
  • Multiple bible translations
  • Original Bible Language apps (such as Blue Letter Bible)

Select a List of Verses

Selecting a list of verses can be completed easily with a bible concordance or a simple google search on the topic. There is no one size fits all when it comes to the number of verses to select, but 10 to 20 bible verses about a topic is a good starting point.

As you continue through your study you may find that you need to include additional bible verses for a more complete picture of God’s intention for a subject.

Pray for Understanding

The bible is the living word of God, it is dynamic with innumerable mysteries on the pages. Understanding for application requires prayer. Before fully diving into any study of the bible, it is imperative to pray for wisdom and eyes that see the truths hidden within the word of God.

This simple but powerful step will make all the difference in the efficacy of your bible study time.

In Context Study of the Verse

The first thing to do once you have gathered your materials and prepared your heart is to get the birds eye view of the verse. This includes reading the surrounding scripture, paragraphs or chapter.

This step allows you to gain a better understanding for the concept by putting people, places and things connected to the verse in place. You can ask yourself questions such as “who is talking?”, and “Who are they speaking to?”

Grasping the who, what, and where of a verse may help you truly understand why God felt it was important to include the verse in the bible. This also keeps you from using any currently held beliefs as a reference for understanding of a scripture.

Bullseye View of Verse Study

After you have circled the scripture from an aerial view, its time to dive into the verse in question. This step requires you to break down the verse for content in the original language.

I like to use the Blue Letter Bible App for this, as it allows me to go word for word through the verse and see what the Greek or Hebrew translation of the original text was.

Writing down words that stand out to you and getting the original translation allows you to see hidden promises, understanding and even warnings that are sometimes lost when the bible is translated into modern language.

Continue this Process for Each Verse

You will want to continue this process for each of the scriptures in your list. As you do this you will start to see themes and correlations between the bible verse related to your topic. Make note of these connections as it will help you when you start the final step of your topical bible study.

Summarize Your Findings for the Topic

The last step in a topical bible study is to summarize and draw conclusions about your findings. This includes finding ways to apply the theme of God’s word to your life. Some great summarizing questions include:

  • What is God’s intention about this topic? Was there a theme?
  • How can I apply this intention to my life?
  • What are some actionable changes I can make to avoid the consequences of the warnings related to this topic?
  • What are some practical steps I can take to experience promises I found regarding this topic?

Topical Bible Study Ideas

Now that you have a thorough understanding of how to study the bible topically, its time to try a topical study for yourself. There are many examples of topical bible studies online. These studies include lists of topics to study, printable lessons, and more.

List of Topical Bible Studies

Completing a topical bible study is an excellent way to grow in faith and understand God’s purpose for your life. If you are ready to get started on a topical study today but unsure of where exactly you want to begin, this list of over 100 topics can help inspire you to get started.


Topical Bible Study Plans

Another easy way to get started is to check out already prepared topical bible study lessons that have completed the first few steps of the plan for you. These plans usually include a list of scriptures related to your selected topic. The options are endless when it comes to topical studies that are prepared for you.

They can be as simple as a list of scriptures and as in depth as a full-blown commentary on the subject. A few notable sites with topical bible study lessons are:

  • Arabah JoyChoosing Confidence Bible Study
  • Intentional by Grace – here you can get free printable scripture lists. Each list has a companion study journal
  • Blossom in Faith has a collection of simple reading plans based on topics ranging from freedom to Love.
  • Rachel Wojo includes a group of topical reading plans that challenge you to dig into deeper Christian concepts such as the truth that God’s will is greater than any challenge.

Completing a topical bible study will increase your faith in so many ways. It will give you a confidence in God’s thoughts on a subject and leaves you with actionable steps to help transform your life based on the truth of God’s word.

Are you ready to study the word of God by topic? Have you completed a topical bible study? We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below and let us know what topical study you are ready to start!

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