Effective Bible Study Method #2: Study A Theme
Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite effective Bible Study methods: studying a theme.
This is the second of three blog posts, and I encourage you to read the first one either before or after this one. You can find it here:
Let’s jump into today’s topic:
STUDY A THEME IN THE BIBLE
If there’s one question that you can’t figure out and you haven’t been able to get it out of your mind, maybe it is God asking you to find the godly answer to the question.
God can answer LITERALLY any question you have:
Should I marry this guy? Am I ready for marriage?
How do I find a job that I like? What’s God’s purpose in our careers?
Why can’t I reconcile what God is telling me with common religious beliefs?
Studying these questions in the Bible will help you discover the ETERNAL, PERFECT will of God for your life.
Going back to the movie analogy, studying one theme in the Bible is like watching a movie about one particular part of someone’s life. Often, there are movies made about the professional life of a person, like Steve Jobs. We’re less concerned with what he ate for breakfast and more interested in how he created the most popular computer in history.
Studying one theme in the Bible can help clue us in to God’s heart about a particular topic. Here are some themes I studied this year:
God’s purpose for women in ministry
God’s purpose for sexuality, and how He redeems a broken sexual life
How to identify my passions and God’s purpose in my career
Spiritual warfare — what it looks like, and how to live in Jesus’ victory
Here’s a simple how-to for studying a theme in the Bible:
Pray. Ask God to reveal truth to you. Lay down your pride to be corrected and directed by the omniscient, living God.
Read the Word. If you really don’t know where in the Bible to start, Google this: “Bible” and your question. This will help point you to Biblically-based truth, versus “some dude on the internet who lives in his mom’s basement wrote some article based on futile reasoning.”
Pray again. Ask God to make you aware of the Holy Spirit’s guidance on your mind. Jesus called the Holy Spirit our “Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby” in John 14:16 (AMPC). Let’s lean on the Spirit in full faith that He can counsel us.
Write down what you’ve learned. Do you still have questions about it? If you feel God is leading you to research more on this topic, what Christian books can you read? This year, I’m focusing in on what godly friendship should look like. As a result, I’ve already once read, and am reading a second time:
The Purpose of Bible Study
As I’ve studied various themes and questions in light of the truth of God’s Word, there are two points which seem to hold true:
The purpose of Bible study isn’t to build my knowledge and pride, but to become more like the Lord.
Jesus, though He knew everything, was surrounded by our futile (& sinful) human minds. He never bragged about His omniscience. He never scolded people for asking “stupid” questions. He was patient and used His knowledge to help draw all people closer to the Father. As we seek to learn, may we also seek to grow closer to God and to help others in doing the same.
God has the answer to literally every question, but that doesn’t mean that we will have every answer.
He knows the solution to everything burdening us: Who do I vote for? Why is the world such a tense mess? How do I love people I don’t even like? However, He doesn’t always give us the answer in the time we want it. Faithfulness, on our part, is continually seeking the Lord, whether or not He reveals the answer to us.
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
In your Bible Study time, consider diving into a topic that is particularly burdening to you. I know we all have questions that sometimes we just want to give time to figure themselves out or disappear from our minds. But if you feel constantly bombarded with the same unknown, take the time to research the answer in the Bible.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
God is always ready to meet you right where those pages open.
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