As a pastor, coming up with Bible study topics comes as second nature to me. I have been doing it for years. I forget sometimes that just because I know how to do it, and because it comes as second nature to me, does not mean that everyone knows how to do it, or even knows which tools to use. So I decided to write an article teaching you how to come up with Bible study topics, rather than to keep doing it for you. I have many Bible verse lists on my website but this is my first attempt at teaching you how to do what I do.
Step 1 Pray before you choose your Bible study topics
Before you rush out and decide what Bible study topics you need to research and do a Bible study about, it might be a good idea to get God's thoughts on it. Many times what we think our group, or family needs is not what God thinks. Start the process by opening up your heart and letting Him lead you by His Spirit. Whether or not you are doing the topical Bible study for yourself, or if you are preparing one to present to a group, without prayer, and the guidance of the Lord all you will accomplish is head knowledge and not heart knowledge.
Step 2 Do the work yourself
In our world of microwave dinners and instant access to information, we have both the temptation and culture that would cause you to think just finding a someone else's Bible study topics and parroting what they say is acceptable. Honestly, it is not. This short circuits a very important process in doing a good topical Bible study. The principle is this. "You cannot give out what you have not received in". The work involved in putting together your own Bible study topics, has the fruit of God revealing personally to you things that you are supposed to share, not someone else's experience. When you do the work yourself, insight and knowledge is imparted to you. Until you have these things given to you, you are doing nothing more than teaching head knowledge and it does not produce life.
Step 3 Use tools to help you with your Bible study topics get the big picture
Many people are not aware that there are some great tools out there to help them in choosing and researching their Bible study topics. That they do not have to rely on their memory or just the concordance in the back of their Bible. I am going to give you some ideas on what tools to use. I have used all of these tools at one point or another in my life, and some will fit your personality and others won't. That is okay. I started out with the hard print tools that you can actually put on your bookshelves and they are great tools, but over the years I have progressed and became comfortable with all the modern tools as well that use your computer.
Hard Print Tools used in researching Bible study topics.
- A good study Bible. If you are going to be a serious student of the world of God, then you need to have a good study Bible. One that has a good concordance and references with the verses you are studying. Many times I have been doing a Bible study, saw a reference and spent hours researching a side topic to the main topic and that has been a source of great insight into the subject. There are many good study bibles out there but I recommend New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, NKJV Edition: Kingdom Equipping Through the Power of the Word
- The Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. This is a must have for any serious student of the Word. It is a complete concordance referencing every word in the Bible. It is based on the King James Version of the Bible or the New International Version It also allows you to research what the Greek and Hebrew meanings of the words are without needing to learn Greek and Hebrew.
- Nave's Topical Bible. This tool has over 100,000 scriptures indexed into 20,000 topics. It has been around for 80 years and any serious student of the Bible uses it. In fact Billy Graham says, "Outside of the Bible this is the book I depend on more than any other."
Computer Bible Study Tools
- There are many software programs out there to put a Bible on your computer. Many are free and many are for purchase. I have tried both. Although the free programs are a blessing to those that cannot afford to purchase software such as those that live in 3rd world countries, they come with their drawbacks. Many of them are limited in what they can do and what resources they have. Some come with advertising and some require you to pay for upgrades in order to use all the functions of the software. Because of this, I recommend that you just bite the bullet and pay for a good computer software program. Any good program will come with all of the resource material I listed above and with many others. It also makes it much easier to produce a printable copy of your Bible study for others to follow if the program is already on the computer. You can just copy the verses or reference and paste it to your Bible study. I have 2 recommendations for you here. PC Study Bible Version 5 Discovery Reference Library and Glo. The Bible for a Digital World.
Step 4 Let your Bible study topics brew.
Don't just whip out your Bible study right away. Let it brew for a bit. What I mean about that is let a day or 2 go by for you to think about it and for God to speak to you about the things you learned before you print it out or share it. Give it time to germinate and grow into a beautiful plant. I have found that many times God will have me experience things or think of things that correlate with what I have been studying. So give it a couple of days before you put it all down on paper. I always know 1 week in advance what I am going to speak on the following Sunday if not farther in advance. It gives me time to put together a really good topical Bible study rather than a Saturday night special. Remember, God has to work His truth in you before He can use you to work it in others.
I hope this article has helped you to learn how to do the stuff rather than just having me give you the stuff.
Blessings to you!
This article was first published on my website called Taber's Truths