How To Make Your Own Topical Bible Study Outlines
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How To Make Your Own Topical Bible Study Outlines

Finding Topics For a Bible Study

As a pastor, coming up with Bible study topics comes as second nature to me. I have been doing it for years. I sometimes forget that just because I know how to do it, and because it comes as second nature to me, does not mean that everyone knows how to do it, or even knows which tools to use to make their own topical Bible study outlines.

So I decided to write an article teaching you how to come up with Bible study topics, rather than to keep doing it for you.

In this article, I hope to show you how to make Bible discussion lessons for…..

  • Small groups
  • Adults
  • Youth
  • Sunday school classes
  • Simple sermons

I believe that every Christian is capable of making a topical Bible study and if they do so, God will give them the opportunity to use it in their church, Sunday school class, small group or home Bible study. Where God guides, He provides.

study the bible like your pastor featured image

4 Steps For Making Your Own Topical Bible Study Outlines

Step 1: Pray Before You Choose Your Bible Study Themes

Before you rush out and decide what Bible study theme you need to research and do a Bible study about, it might be a good idea to get God’s thoughts on it.

Many times what we think our group or family needs is not what God thinks.

Start the process by opening up your heart and letting Him lead you by His Spirit. Whether or not you are doing the topical Bible study lesson for yourself, or if you are preparing one to present to a group, without prayer, and the guidance of the Lord all you will accomplish is head knowledge and not heart knowledge.

Step 2: Do The Work Yourself

In our world of microwave dinners and instant access to information, we have both the temptation and culture that would cause you to think just finding someone else’s Bible study and parroting what they say is acceptable.

Honestly, it is not. This short-circuits a critical process in doing an excellent topical Bible study.

The principle is this. “You cannot give out what you have not received.”

The work involved in putting together your own Bible study has the fruit of God revealing personally to you things that you are supposed to share, not someone else’s experience.

When you do the work yourself, insight and knowledge are imparted to you.

Until you have these things given to you, you are doing nothing more than teaching head knowledge, and it does not produce life.

Step 3 Use Tools To Help You with Your Bible Study Lesson To Get the Big Picture

Many people are unaware that there are some great tools out there to help them choose and research their Bible study topics. That they do not have to rely on their memory or just the concordance in the back of their Bible.

I am going to give you some ideas on what tools to use. I have used all of these tools at one point or another in my life, and some will fit your personality and others won’t.

That is okay.

I started out with the hard print tools that you can put on your bookshelves, and they are great tools, but over the years I have progressed and became comfortable with all the modern tools as well that use your computer.

Hard print tools used in researching subjects for your Bible study.

  • A good study Bible. If you are going to be a serious student of the world of God, then you need to have a good study Bible. One that has a good concordance and references with the verses you are studying. Many times I have been doing a Bible study, saw a reference and spent hours researching a side topic to the main topic, and that has been a source of great insight into the subject. There are many good study bibles out there, but I recommend the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, NKJV Edition
  • The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. This is a must have for any serious student of the Word. It is a complete concordance referencing every word in the bible. It is based on the King James Version of the Bible or the New International Version. It also allows you to research what the Greek and Hebrew meanings of the words are without needing to learn Greek and Hebrew. You can get it by following this link. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
  • Nave’s Topical Bible. This tool has over 100,000 scriptures indexed into 20,000 topics. It has been around for 80 years, and any serious student of the Bible uses it. Billy Graham says, “Outside of the Bible this is the book I depend on more than any other.” I highly recommend you get your copy today. Nave’s Topical Bible

Computer Bible study tools

  • Bibles on your Computer. There are many software programs out there to put a Bible on your computer. Many are free, and many are for purchase. I have tried both. Although the free programs are a blessing to those that cannot afford to purchase software such as those that live in 3rd world countries, they come with their drawbacks. Many of them are limited in what they can do and what resources they have. Some come with advertising, and some require you to pay for upgrades to use all the functions of the software. Because of this, I recommend that you bite the bullet and pay for a good computer software program. Any good program will come with all of the resource material I listed above and with many others. It also makes it much easier to produce a printable copy of your Bible study for others to follow if the program is already on the computer. You can copy the verses or reference and paste it into your Bible study.

Step 4 Let Your Topic Brew.

Don’t just whip out your Bible study right away. Let it brew for a bit.

Let a day or 2 go by for you to think about it and for God to speak to you about the things you learned before you print it out or share it. Give it time to germinate and grow into a beautiful plant.

I have found that many times God will have me experience things or think of things that correlate with what I have been studying. So please give it a couple of days before you put it all down on paper.

image of topical Bible study notes

I always know one week in advance what I am going to speak on the following Sunday if not farther in advance. It gives me time to put together an excellent topical Bible study rather than a Saturday night special.

Remember, God has to work His truth in you before He can use you to work it in others.

I hope this article has helped you to learn how to make your own Bible study and find interesting Bible study topics. I think you will see that you will love creating your own topical Bible study outlines.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.