Topical Bible studies are tricky, because instead of letting a book of the Bible speak, you’re needing scripture to back up your point. A lot of pastors preach mainly topical sermons – and that’s fine – the important thing is that you don’t make scripture absurdly relevant to your current message.
We’ll use Acts 16:25-34 since it was the scripture referenced in this week’s study.
An example of twisting scripture to make your point would look something like this: We are Paul and Silas. We are imprisoned for our Christian faith. However, we know that God is going to send His angel down to break open those prison doors.
Here’s the problem, you and your group are not literally Paul and Silas. And I’m guessing the chance is very slim that y’all are shackled in a first century prison in Philippi. Plus, the troubles you’re experiencing could hang with you to kingdom come.
The key is finding timeless truths. Paul and Silas were experiencing persecution due to the impact they were having on the town for Jesus. They were a light in the dark. God came through for them because He is faithful.
As Christians, the truth is that we will experience forms of darkness. It could be persecution, it could be difficulties in home or work life, or it could be the struggle we face with our own character defects. Whatever it is, the next truth is that we are a light in any darkness because of Jesus. And third truth is that we can have hope because God is faithful. He was faithful to Paul and Silas and He will be faithful to us. It may not look the same. We may not see an angel busting down some prison doors, but we know we can trust God with any circumstance. He knows what He’s doing.
We don’t have to force ourselves into the Bible. We can be amazed by scripture without turning the whole Bible into an allegorical tale. So, when looking for scripture to use for your Bible study, find timeless truths that connect with the truth you’re looking to communicate in your study. You’ll get to share an awesome story and make your point at the same time!