Bible study is a very important aspect of the Christian’s walk. Second Timothy 2:15 states the following: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” As Christians we should strive daily to learn more about God and His commandments through the reading of His Word. In fact, in Acts 17:11, the Bible says that the Berean Christians were “more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily.”
Starting your own personal Bible study can be a very intimidating task. It can be very difficult to decide the type of study, where to start, how to study, how much to study, and what to study. Over the next few weeks I will discuss each aspect of personal Bible study in more detail. This entry will focus on two types of study: sequential and topical.
Sequential versus Topical
Although you might be familiar with the differences between a topical and sequential study, I want to explain exactly what I mean by each of these terms. In the broadest sense, in a sequential Bible study you would begin studying in Genesis and finish studying in Revelation. A more specific type of sequential study would be studying the book of James straight through. In a topical Bible study you would select a topic, such as sacrifice, and try to study all the different passages throughout the Bible on the subject of sacrifice.
There are benefits to both types of study. In a sequential study you are able to read scriptures within the context they were written. In a topical study you may be able to see what the Bible has to say in an overall sense regarding a particular subject. A sequential study will require less preparation work in the sense that you will already have a set course of study; however, the preparation work involved in a topical study will help you learn to search the scriptures more efficiently. Both types of study can lead to a greater understanding of the scriptures you are covering.
Which type of study is right for you? If you are a beginner to Bible study you might want to start with the sequential style of study or if you are struggling with a particular issue in your life, you might want to do a topical study on that issue. For instance, you may choose to read through the gospel of Matthew or you may choose to do a study of the church. I encourage doing both types of study throughout your lifetime of studying the Bible because both will be valuable in strengthening your Biblical knowledge.