How to do a Topical Study
A topical study is the study of a concept (e.g., resurrection, sin, or divine revelation). The primary tools for a topical study are the Topical Bibles, Dictionaries & Encyclopedias, Concordance, and the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Of course, at the core of the study is the Bible itself. In addition, the Interlinear Bible and Strong's provide excellent opportunities for digging deeper into any concept.
(Note: The following description is one possible way to conduct a topical study using the tools available in the OneTouch® library. There are literally hundreds of variations. Bottom line: become familiar with the tools that are available to you and use them to explore!)
Begin by opening a Topical Bible to the desired topic. Double-click the (scripture list) button next to any meaningful subtopic, to pop-up the list of related scriptures. When looking at the related scriptures, keep an eye out for other words or phrases that describe the topic you are studying--each of these becomes a starting point for further study.
If you have more than one Topical Bible in your reference library, keep an eye on the (previous/next reference work) buttons on the lower toolbar. When these buttons are lighted it indicates that there are other Topical Bibles that have reference material for the current topic!
As you work your way through the topical material, and particularly as you read the related scriptures, consider comparing different versions of the same verse (click anywhere in the Bible pane--to give it the "focus"--then use the buttons, on the lower toolbar). Often this will provide additional insight into the current topic.
Next, open a Topics window to the same topic. In addition to the article text, pay close attention to any additional scriptures that the article references in addressing the topic.
Do other reference works in this category have information on this topic? (If the buttons are lighted, they do!) Don't forget to look there.
And don't forget about the SMARTLinks™ portion of the NavPanel — these are your shortcuts to all other related information throughout your OneTouch® library, and are invaluable in just about any type of Bible study that you perform.
Use the Concordance to find all of the places in the Bible where any word or phrase that expresses the topic is used. What do these scriptures have in common? Is there a concentration of occurrences? In other words, is the topic primarily addressed in a particular book, in a particular section of books, or in one testament more than the other? Look for patterns. For example, does this topic often occur alongside another topic? Why? What is the relationship between topics?
Finally, use the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge to dig deeper into the scriptures. Basically, you can use any Bible reference that you have encountered (in the Topical Bibles, in the Dictionaries/Encyclopedias, and in the Concordance) as a starting point. In Treasury, use the phrase that most strongly expresses your topic of interest and follow it to other verses. Sometimes these relationships are obvious, sometimes not. When the relationship is not so obvious, slow down, examine the surrounding context, and ask yourself, "What did the author see that I'm missing?" You will discover amazing things through this process!
When appropriate, use one or more of the other study methods to take your Bible study deeper, as detailed in the Help topics listed below.