Help: How To Study Topics

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Ben Vargh | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Jun 27 2010 2:28 PM

I am embarking on a study of some key topics/themes in the Bible, for example 'Lordship'. I am aware that prayerful Exegesis of Key Verses, Word Study, and searching Entire Library/Dictionaries/Encyclopaedias/Journals can help. I am looking for kind inputs/tips on the following from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have went through this in the past:

-- What is the best way to locate the key verses for that topic (apart from one's own knowledge)? Any specifically useful resource suggestions please?

-- How can I find two or three ideas/topics that are closely related to a topic? [ **** I need real help here! **** ]

-- How can I ensure that the what I discover/say is thoroughly biblical?

--  How can I ensure that the implications/applications of that topic are thoroughly biblical too?

-- Any other specially useful suggestions and tips

Please note that I am not requesting for an explanation of Topical-Expository Preaching from scratch - just helpful suggestions from the rich experience of the community here.

Thanks a lot in advance!

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 27 2010 2:41 PM

Ben Vargh:
-- What is the best way to locate the key verses for that topic (apart from one's own knowledge)? Any specifically useful resource suggestions please?

'Key' verses will be something you end up discovering on your own. How? First start assembling a list of references dealing with the topic.

There are a number of topical sources in Logos 4. New Nave's Topical Bible is one of them. That's a good starting place for scripture references.

Cross references from within a passage containing a key word may lead to other passages you haven't yet used. The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge can take you a bit further down this road.

Greek and Hebrew lexicons sometimes list the more significant Bible references for a specific word.

For words that don't appear too often in the Bible a search of your favorite Bible for a word is a good way to locate passages.

Same for the Bible Word Study.

Bible dictionaries can sometimes give you help finding the more important references.

After assembling a list of verses you sort through them and mark or retain the ones that you see has dealing significantly with the topic. You can develop a sense of this just by prayerfully reading through the references. Then start to group the verses according to what they tell you about the topic. For example some will illustrate a topic, others will give direction, others may give exceptions, and so on.

You may then find topical treatments in some of your other sources, perhaps even a whole book devoted to the topic. You can read it, skim the table of contents, or just browse through it to check what the author says in comparison to what you have been discovering in the Bible.

At this point you'll have a better idea about where you need to dig further.


Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 27 2010 3:06 PM

Ben Vargh:
-- How can I find two or three ideas/topics that are closely related to a topic? [ **** I need real help here! **** ]

First, your own mind will often tell you these. For example, I know that the topic 'marriage' is closely related to some other topics including 'wives', 'husbands', 'weddings', 'vows', 'love', 'divorce' and others. List what you can think of.

Second, the way Bible dictionary articles are laid out often gives you direct reference to allied topics. For example my Bible Dictionary may divide its coverage of Marriage into some sub-topics, including weddings, divorce, remarriage, etc. The same is true for theological dictionaries.

Third, passages of scripture that deal with a topic often include references to allied topics. In Ephesians 5:22+ I can find information on marriage, but also find references to these topics: submission, headship, and love.


Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 27 2010 3:38 PM

Ben Vargh:

-- How can I find two or three ideas/topics that are closely related to a topic? [ **** I need real help here! **** ]


One idea is to use a thesaurus to find synonyms for that topic word. There's Merriam Webster's Collegiate Thesaurus and Collins Thesaurus of the Bible (comes with all base packages except Home; not available as standalone). It turns out neither one has lordship in it, but they might help for other such studies.

Failing the thesaurus, and even going beyond what a thesaurus can do, you really need to just spend some time thinking about a concept. I won't do your particular study for you, but suppose you were trying to find topics related to Creation. Ask yourself some of the standard questions: who?/what?/where?/why?. God created. So, some related concepts: God as Creator. The created order itself. The analogy of human creativity. Pay attention to context. Reading the creation story, you'll find some other topics that come out of it, such as order out of chaos, male/female, etc. Think also of opposites: creation/destruction. That'll sort of train of thought will get you going. I don't think you're going to find a resource in Logos that will do this thinking for you.

Another good topical resource is Topical Analysis of the Bible. Here you won't find the exact word "lordship" either, but you'll have to find that concept in the hierarchy of how the resource is organized.  Look through the Table of Contents (which you can expand out in a panel on the left side of the resource window by clicking the double chevron (») icon at the upper left). Search the whole resource for Lord (either through the Search menu command, or by pressing Ctrl+F while in the resource and typing the search term in that box that opens up and then pressing Enter. Subsequent presses of Enter (or clicking the down arrow beside the Find box will find subsequent occurrences).

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 27 2010 3:40 PM

Yes, to use your example of Lordship (I'm going to assume you mean Lordship of Christ), I'd do the following:

  • Type lookup lordship in the command bar to see if it opens any dictionary articles. If it does, use the Parallel Resource sets button to find more.
  • Look up lordship in your topical Bibles (e.g. New Nave's Topical Bible, MacArthur Topical Bible, Nelson's Topical Bible Index, etc.). If I didn't find it as a heading, I'd search those resources.
  • You could create a passage list from any entries you find. That should allow you to quickly see key verses for that topic. You can add/remove entries in your passage list as you find them, or decide they're not relevant.
  • Once you have a key verse or two, use the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge to find similar verses. For example, in the previous step I'd identified Matt 12:1-8 as a possible key passage. Look up that in TSK, and under the phrase "is Lord" in verse 8, several other verses are suggested.
  • I'd also search for the "Lordship of Christ" OR "Christ's Lordship" in my entire library, and sort by rank. That should identify some key resources that could really help. (See the screenshot below.)
  • Finally, to make sure I'm on track biblically, I'd consult trusted commentaries on the key verses.

This is my personal Faithlife account. On 1 March 2022, I started working for Faithlife, and have a new 'official' user account. Posts on this account shouldn't be taken as official Faithlife views!

Posts 3883
Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 27 2010 4:09 PM

You might also want to look at this thread for some hints on doing a topical study:

Not quite what you are asking for, but you may find it of help.


Posts 36
Ben Vargh | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 28 2010 10:31 AM

VOW! I am humbled by all these great posts. Thanks a lot to each one. I am going to prepare a work-flow using all these insights.

If anyone bumps on this still, please feel welcome to share any further insights!

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