Yes, God’s Word is relevant.
Do you want to learn more about God’s character and actions throughout history?
Or are you having a challenge in your personal life regarding some kind of specific issue – parenting, marriage, dealing with difficult people, overcoming chronic sin, etc.?
These and a host of other topics that are so pertinent to everyday life are found right in the Bible. We can select just one of these and find out what God has to say about it for ourselves.
Topical/Thematic Bible studies are a great way to dive deep for the answers!
Remember, when God promised to preserve His Word for us, it was because we were going to need it – even in 2022!
Some relevant topics you’ll find in the Bible include:
-> Marriage, whether your spouse is saved or not.
-> Child rearing in the happy, hard, and hilarious.
-> Embracing your created gender role in the home and church.
-> Conflict resolution, especially within the church.
-> Self-esteem and self-image from God’s perspective.
-> Sin problems, including but not limited to lying, cheating, anger, adultery, immorality, etc.
These are just a few of the things that God wants to teach us about.
How to get started?
First, you’ll need to select a topic or theme, and narrow it down. Perhaps ask God to show you a specific area in your life that needs development, or write down a question that has been on your heart. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. God wants to teach you something and He will lay it on your heart to seek Him for it.
Next, it’s time to bring out your reference Bible and Strong’s Concordance. A Bible app to search key words is also very helpful. You will want to examine key words and phrases related to the topic or theme of your study within their specific context to get the whole picture. For example, in the study pictured below I started by looking up the words “content” and “rest” in their original language definitions, searched other passages where that word is found, and looked at other ways that the word was translated into English (i.e. content is also translated as “be sufficient” or “be enough”).
Also, you should keep handy a list of questions that you want to have an answer to or at least some guidance on. This will help you to keep from getting sidetracked.
Finally, it helps to have additional resources like commentaries and Bible dictionaries to give some direction. Whatever you do, DO NOT google it. Google is designed to give you what’s popular, not what’s accurate.
The studies of scholars on the topic of choice can give you cultural context, background information, and a basic grasp of words in their original languages. The English words we see in Scripture were first written in three different languages by people that lived thousands of years ago in a world we can only attempt to understand. Gathering information on the original language, audience and intention of the writer will help immensely in grasping the meaning.
Let’s wrap it up!
Above all, any time we’re coming to God’s Word to study and understand His truth, we can stay focused with one primary question in mind:
What does this teach me about God?
And we should follow it up with another question:How does God want to apply this truth to my heart to make me more like Christ?
Learning a lot about the Bible, and even about God, is good. But as James said in James 2:19 – “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble”. Head knowledge is not enough. Whichever methods we use to get to know our Bible better, if it doesn’t make it the few inches from head to heart, it won’t foster true sanctification or bear eternal fruit. What we learn should manifest in our actions as what’s growing inside of our heart comes out.
I’ll wrap up with another reminder from James: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22-25).
As we study and learn, let’s allow God to grow us and act in obedience to what He reveals.
Be more than just a scholar – be a disciple!
A Helpful Tip
We would be wise to speak with our pastor or a trusted counsellor about what we’re learning to make sure that we’re not going down a path in error. It can be hard to see the pitfalls if information we find is only slightly incorrect, but journeying down that path will take us further and further from that initial small misstep and into fallacy.