The topical method of bible study is where you start with a topic, then search our those scriptures that fit with or explain the topic.
The use of the word study and character study methods of Bible Study will be needed to assist with finding verses that would fit the topic.
A topical Bible study is very valuable as when most people go to the scriptures they go with a topic that they want more information on. Salvation, baptism, marriage or raising kids are all great things to look into the scriptures to gain understanding. However, this must come with a pure desire to seek the truth.
The topical method of Bible study is perhaps the most dangerous of the methods of study. Often times when the topic is predetermined, then verses are sought out that “fit” your topic; you end up pulling verses out of context. This is part of why a pure desire to seek the truth must be preeminent.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I amazes me when I find those who “search the scriptures daily” are doing so looking for verses to justify their position on a topic. Topics like drinking alcohol (wine), pre-marital relations, not attending church, tithing, speaking in tounges, healing, baptism and salvation are common topics that find people “cherry picking” verses that fit their preposition of a topic. Rather an honest student of the word of God will come to the bible and allow the context of the passages define our understanding of the topic.
Define the topic
Often times we go at the bible with a worldly topic looking to get answers… the problems is that many of the modern topics that we might search for are not defined the same. We therefore must identify biblical topics to study rather than searching in futility.
The greater understanding comes from wisdom. While there may be specific sins or problems that one might seek for verses for or against, oftimes there isn’t one. However, through faithful reading and study, God blesses with wisdom to be able to have clarity of God’s will in certain circumstances.
Tattoos – There are those who would look for verses on this topic to justify their position, the trouble is, there is no word “tattoo” in the scriptures. So as a good bible student one might go to:
Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
While another might go to:
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
So both have found a verse that justifies their position of the topic. However, Godly wisdom doesn’t seek to justify man’s position but rather God’s. When in doubt take God’s side. With this modern topic there are no clear, defined identification of the topic with the doctrinal series of verses that help to clarify the topic one way or the other. So what do we do? We must take God’s position rather than seeking to justify our own.