“God Speaks on the Reality of Love”
A Topical Bible Study Guide
The topical bible study process is a good method to use when you wish to learn more about what God says on a particular topic. It can be done individually or in small groups.
When doing a topical bible study, first: choose a topic, a fairly general topic (like LOVE) that will give you the opportunity to discover the meaning and significance of a selected topic or word. Using a Bible Concordance and/or a Bible Dictionary, check out the recommended scripture references for your selected topic.
Once you have read through the recommended scripture references, you may want to select 2 or 3, but not more than 5, to dig deeper. Discover key words and their meanings. In each scripture passage, observe what is happening, who are the “actors”, what and/or who is being talked about.
Ask as many “who, what, how, why, where, when…” questions as possible to get you started on your journey of discovery. It is recommended that you write down all of your questions first before trying to seek the answers. If in a group, make sure that everyone participates in the activity by asking questions, writing them down, and reflecting on the scripture passages selected. Never mind if some of the questions seem simple, or silly, or you think you know the answer already, rest assured that as the you/the group answers (or tries to answer) these questions, God will reveal many things.
Lastly, reflect on your questions, your answers, and listen with your heart to what God is telling you.
Some good topics to begin with are: Love. Forgiveness. Faith. Wisdom, Mercy/Compassion.
Here is an example on the topic:The Reality of Love.
Read 1 John 4:4-21. Observe and ask questions.
– How many times is “love” mentioned in this passage? Why so many times?
– I wonder what is the connection between love and spiritual reality and knowledge? Between “love” and “hate/unforgiveness”?
– What is love’s relationship to God?
– What models of love can I find in these verses?- Why does “love” act as it does?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. Observe and ask questions.
– Why are there more characteristics of what love is not, than what love is?
– What is the relationship of spiritual gifts to “love”?
– I wonder why being a “noisy gong” or a “clanging cymbal” is compared to not having love?
– I wonder what Paul meant by “seeing in a mirror dimly”?
– Paul says that both men and angels can speak without love. Is this really possible that angels would not have love?
Dig deeper. Check other Bible verses on LOVE. Compare in other translations.
Reflect and understand.
– In all the Scripture passages I checked, what is the real meaning of LOVE?
– What does Jesus (or God) seem to be saying to me….?
– What do these passages say about God … and about me?
– If I rate my love for God by 1 Cor. 13’s characteristics, I wonder what my score would be?
– What about my relationships with people around me? Am I a channel of God’s love to them?
– If I love with God’s love, what will my life be like? What changes would I need to make in my life to be able to love with God’s love?
Source: Workshop Manual “Scripture Discovery: A Joyful Experience in Discovering God’s Truth in the Scriptures”, edited and arranged for BCBP by Nancy Catan, BCBP Manila.