Two Important Bible Study Methods. Romans 1:32
“32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” Romans‬ ‭1:32‬
This past weekend I spoke at Men’s Retreat. A few of the new comers mentioned how much they appreciated the way every message was anchored in a full context of Scripture rather than just my own random thoughts or a bunch of stories. I often get the same comments.
Let me take a moment as we work our way through the book of Romans to briefly explain two very different Bible Study tools and approaches to teaching and preaching. Both tools are important to understand and use.
The first is called “Topical Teaching.” This approach takes a certain subject and studies it through the entire Bible. This is very powerful and important. For example, you might be studying the topic of marriage, finances, heaven, salvation or the three persons of the Godhead.
The goal is to look up everything the whole Bible says about the subject and develop a systematic doctrine on that subject. In the process, it is important to keep the Old or New Testament location of the Scripture in mind. Some things were fulfilled or changed by the ministry of Jesus Christ, but vital principles are still present.
The problem with this approach is that some teachers cut corners and resort to what’s called “proof texting” and fail to keep the full context of the verse in mind. When they pull verses out of their context, they can twist the meaning. I have met some masterful topical preachers and I have met some very sloppy topical preachers.
The second approach is called “Expository Teaching.” In this approach, the teacher focuses on one book, chapter or context and seeks to faithfully discover what the author was saying. They let the meaning emerge from the text and are careful not superimpose their thoughts or bias into the text. They let God speak for Himself and try to capture exactly what He was saying the context, even if disagrees with their theological bias.
Another important aspect of expository Bible study or teaching is that the text drives the subject matter. If the text talks about it, then the subject is included in the outline. When a subject comes up in the text, the teacher is then free to resort to some topical principles of cross referencing to see how the whole Bible deals with that theme.
For the new comers to this Daily Bible Commentary, I follow an expository approach in walking through entire books of the Bible. I try to faithfully unpack the meaning within the context and then answer the question; “How does this apply to my life?” I work hard to remain practical and applicable while being faithful to the text.
This approach often exposes false thoughts or notions about God and commonly held idea’s. This post is not argumentative or politically correct. We simply try to stay true to the text and discover what God is saying in the context.
As we unpack Romans chapters 2-3, Paul is going to deal with the wrath, judgment and indignation of God against sin. Get ready for a challenging and thought provocative discussion. Many pastors and teacher blur this topic under the blanket of God’s love, but we must be honest and courageous enough to see what the Bible says about this subject. Keep in mind, you will not be arguing with me or any theological bias, you will be wrestling with God and the Bible.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global