The New Topical Textbook
20,000 Topics and Sub-topics
30,000 Bible References
Methods of Bible Study
Fundamental Doctrines Outline
By R. A. Torrey
Public Domain -- Copy Freely
These topical references are from R. A. Torrey's New Topical Textbook
published by Sword of the Lord Publishers, P.O. Box 1099,
Murfreesboro, TN, 37133. No copyright notice appears on the book, and
it is a reprint of the original edition which is out of copyright.
The current format has been designed for programatic reference;
placing 50 topics in a file; preceeding each topic with $$topic_number
and surrounding the topic-name with back-slashes. Within each topic
(prior to next $$t marker) there are one to many topical references
preceeded by ' ' and terminated by ' '.
The 'Major Doctrines' appendix from the Textbook has been included in
the ttt-doc.zip file as an additional topic file with seperate .idx
file. Like the topics, this appendix has been formatted for
programatic reference following the same guidlines mentioned above.
The most current and correct copies of these files can be obtained
from the following. If any errors are located, please ensure you have
the latest files, and if so, we would appreciate being informed of the
Bible Foundation, http://www.bf.org
Or by contacting:
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METHODS OF BIBLE STUDY
by Rev. R. A. Torrey
First of all make up your mind that you will put some
time _every day_ into the study of the Word of God. That is an
easy resolution to make, and not a very difficult one to keep;
if the one who makes it is in earnest. It is one of the most
fruitful resolutions that any Christian ever made. The forming
of that resolution and the holding faithfully to it, has been
the turning point in many a life. Many a life that has been
barren and unsatisfactory has become rich and useful through the
introduction into it of regular, persevering, daily study of the
Bible. This study may not be very interesting at first, the
results may not be very encouraging; but, if one will keep
pegging away, it will soon begin to count as nothing else has
ever counted in the development of character, and in the
enrichment of the whole life. Nothing short of absolute
physical inability should be allowed to interfere with this
It is impossible to make a rule that will apply to everyone
as to the amount of time that shall be given each day to the
study of the Word. I know many busy people, including not a few
labouring men and women, who give an hour a day to Bible study,
but if one cannot give more than fifteen minutes a great deal
can be accomplished. Wherever it is possible the time set apart
for the work should be in the daylight hours. The very best time
is in the early morning hours. If possible lock yourself in
with God alone.
2. Make up your mind to _study_ the Bible. It is astounding
how much heedless reading of the Bible is done. Men seem to
think that there is some magic power in the book, and that, if
they will but open its pages and skim over its words, they will
get good out of it. The Bible is good only because of the truth
that is in it, and to see this truth demands close attention. A
verse must often-times be read and re-read and read again before
the wondrous message of love and power that God has put into it
begins to appear. Words must be turned over and over in the mind
before their full force and beauty takes possession of us. One
must look a long time at the great masterpieces of art to
appreciate their beauty and understand their meaning, and so one
must look a long time at the great verses of the Bible to
appreciate their beauty and understand their meaning. When you
read a verse in the Bible ask yourself, What does this verse
mean? Then ask: What does it mean for me? When that is answered
ask yourself again: Is that all it means? and do not leave it
until you are quite sure that is all it means for the present.
You may come back at some future time and find it means yet a
great deal more. If there are any important words in the verse
weigh them, look up other passages where they are used, and try
to get their full significance. God pronounces that man blessed
who "meditates" on the Word of God "day and night." Ps 1:2,3.
An indolent skimming over a few verses or many chapters in the
Bible is not meditation, and there is not much blessing in it.
Jeremiah said: "Thy words were found and I did eat them." (Jer
15:16). Nothing is more important in eating than chewing. If
one does not properly chew his food, he is quite as likely to
get dyspepsia as nourishment. Don't let anyone chew your
spiritual food for you. Insist on doing it for yourself. Any
one can be a student who makes up his mind to. It is hard at
first but it soon becomes easy. I have seen very dull minds
become keen by holding them right down to the grindstone.
3. _Study the Bible topically_. Take up the various
subjects treated in the Bible, one by one, and go through the
Bible and find what it has to say on these subjects. It may be
important to know what the great men have to say on important
subjects; it is far more important to know what God has to say
on these subjects. It is important also to know all that God has
to say. A great many people know a part of what God has to
say--and usually a very small part--and so their ideas are very
imperfect and one-sided. If they only knew all God had to say
on the subject, it would be far better for them and for their
friends. The only way to know all God has to say on any subject
is to go through the Bible on that subject. To do this it is
not necessary to read every verse in the Bible from Genesis to
Revelation. It would be slow work, if we had to do that on
every subject we took up. This would be necessary were it not
for Textbooks and Concordances. But in these we have the results
of the hard work of many minds. Here we have the various
passages that bear on any subject brought together and
classified for use, so that now we can do in a few hours what
would otherwise take months or years. The topical method of
Bible study is simplest, most fascinating and yields the largest
immediate results. It is not the only method of Bible study,
and the one who pursues it exclusively will miss much of the
blessing God has for him in the Bible. [*] But it is a very
interesting and fruitful method of study. It was Mr. Moody's
favourite method. It fills one's mind very full on any subject
studied. Mr. Moody once gave several days to the study of
"Grace." When he had finished he was so full of the subject
that he rushed out on the street and going up to the first man
he met he said: "Do you know anything about Grace?" "Grace
who," the man asked. "The Grace of God that bringeth
salvation." And then Mr. Moody poured out upon that man the
rich treasures he had dug out of the Word of God. That is the
way to master any subject and get full of it. Go through the
Bible and see what it has to say on this subject. This is easily
done. Take your Textbook and turn to the subject. Suppose the
subject you desire to study is "Prayer." On pages 201-204
will be found a long list of the various passages of
Scripture that bear on this subject. Look them up one after
another and study them carefully and see just what their
teaching is. When you have gone through them you will know far
more about prayer than you ever knew before, and far more than
you could learn by reading any books that men have written about
prayer, profitable as many of these books are. Sometimes it will
be necessary to look up other subjects that are closely related
to the one in hand. For example, you wish to study what the
teaching of God's Word is regarding the atonement. In this case
you will not only look under the head "Atonement" on page 36,
but also under the head "Blood" on page 43, and under the head
"Death of Christ," on page 71. To do this work a concordance is
not necessary but it is often very helpful. For example, if you
are studying the subject "Prayer" you can look up from the
concordance the passages that contain the words "pray,"
"prayer," "cry," "ask," "call," "supplication," "intercession,"
etc. But the Textbook will give most of the passages on any
subject regardless of what the words used in the passage may be.
Other passages will be found in the section on Bible Doctrines
under their proper headings.
There are four important suggestions to make regarding
Topical Study of the Bible.
First: _Be systematic_. Do not take up subjects for
study at random. Have a carefully prepared list of the subjects
you wish to know about, and need to know about, and take them up
one by one, in order. If you do not do this, the probability is
that you will have a few pet topics and will be studying these
over and over until you get to be a crank about them, and
possibly a nuisance. You will know much about these subjects,
but about many other subjects equally important you will know
nothing. You will be a one-sided Christian.
Second: _Be thorough_. When you take up a subject do
not be content to study a few passages on this subject, but find
just as far as possible every passage in the Bible on this
subject. If you find the Textbook incomplete make additions of
your own to it.
Third: _Be exact_. Find the exact meaning of every
passage given in the Textbook on any subject. The way to do
this is simple. In the first place note the exact words used. In
the next place get the exact meaning of the words used. This is
done by finding how the word is used in the Bible. The Bible
usage of the word is not always the common use of today. For
example, the Bible use of the words "sanctification" and
"justification" is not the same as the common use. Then notice
what goes before and what comes after the verse. This will
oftentimes settle the meaning of a verse when it appears
doubtful. Finally see if there are any parallel passages. The
meaning of many of the most difficult passages in the Bible is
made perfectly plain by some other passages that throws light
upon them. Then parallel passages are given in the margin of a
good reference Bible and still more fully in "The Treasury of
Scripture Knowledge," a volume worthy of a place in the library
of every Bible student.
Fourth: Arrange the results of your topical study in an
orderly way and write them down. One should constantly use pen
and paper in Bible study. When one has gone through the
Textbook on any subject, he will have a large amount of
material, but he will want to get it into usable shape. The
various passages given on any topic in the Textbook are
classified, but the classification is not always just the one
best adapted to our individual use. Take for example the
subject "Prayer." The classification of texts in the topic is
very suggestive, but a better one for some purposes would be:
1. Who Can Pray so that God Will Hear?
2. To Whom to Pray.
3. For Whom to Pray.
4. When to Pray.
5. Where to Pray.
6. For what to Pray.
7. How to Pray.
8. Hindrances to Prayer.
9. The Results of Prayer.
The passages given in the Textbook would come under these heads.
It is well to make a trial division of the subject before taking
up the individual passages given and to arrange each passage as
we take it up under the appropriate head. We may have to add to
the divisions with which we began as we find new passages. The
best classification of passages for any individual is the one he
makes for himself, although he will get helpful suggestions from
There are some subjects that every Christian should
study and study as soon as possible. We give a list of these:
The Atonement (of the Blood of Christ)
The New Birth
To Jesus Christ
To all men
The Future Destiny of Believers
The Future Destiny of the Wicked:
Punishment of the Wicked
Death of the Wicked
The Character of Christ
The Resurrection of Christ
The Ascension of Christ
The Second Coming of Christ: The fact,
the manner, the purpose, the results,
The Reign of Christ
The Holy Spirit
What He is;
4. _Study the Bible by chapters_. This method of Bible
study is not beyond any person of average intelligence who has
fifteen minutes or more a day to put into Bible Study. It will
take, however, more than one day to the study a chapter if only
fifteen minutes a day are set apart for the work.
First: Select the chapters you wish to study. It is
well to take a whole book and study the chapters in their order.
The Acts of the Apostles (or the Gospel of John) is a good book
to begin with. In time one may take up every chapter in the
Bible, but it would not be wise to begin with Genesis.
Second: Read the chapter for today's study five times.
It is well to read it aloud at least once. The writer sees many
things when he reads the Bible aloud that he does not see when
he reads silently. Each new reading will bring out some new
Third: Divide the chapters into their natural divisions
and find headings for them that describe in the most striking
way their contents. For example, suppose the chapter studied is
1Jo 5. You might divide in this way:
1. vs 1-3 The Believer's Noble Parentage
2. vs 4,5 The Believer's Glorious Victory
3. vs 6-10 The Believer's Sure Ground of Faith
4. vs 11,12 The Believer's Priceless Possession
5. v 13 The Believer's Blessed Assurance
6. vs 14,15 The Believer's Unquestioning Confidence
7. vs 16,17 The Believer's Great Power and Responsibility
8. vs 18,19 The Believer's Perfect Security
9. v 20 The Believer's Precious Knowledge
10. v 21 The Believer's Constant Duty
In many cases the natural divisions will be longer than in this
Fourth: Note the important differences between the
Authorized Version and the Revised and write them in the margin
of your Bible.
Fifth: Write down the leading facts of the chapter in
their proper order.
Sixth: Make a note of the persons mentioned in the
chapter and of any light thrown upon their character. For
example, your chapter is Ac 16. The persons mentioned are:
The brethren at Lystra and Iconium
The Jews of Lystra and Iconium
The apostles and elders at Jerusalem
A man of Macedonia
Some women of Philippi
The household of Lydia
A certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination
The masters of this damsel
The praetors of Philippi
The Philippian mob
The jailor of Philippi
The prisoners in the Philippian jail
The household of the jailor
The lictors of Philippi
The brethren in Philippi
What light does the chapter throw upon the character of each?
Seventh: Note the principal lessons of the chapter. It
would be well to classify these: e.g., lessons about God,
Christ, the Holy Spirit, etc., etc.
Eighth: The Central Truth of the chapter.
Ninth: The key verse of the chapter if there is one.
Tenth: The best verse in the chapter. Opinions will
differ widely here. But the question is, which is the best
verse to you at this present reading? Mark it and memorize it.
Eleventh: Note the verses that are usable as texts for
sermons or talks or Bible readings. If you have time make an
analysis of the thought of these verses and write it in the
margin, or on the opposite leaf if you have an interleaved
Twelfth: Name the chapter. For example, Acts 1 might be
called The Ascension Chapter; Acts 2, The Day of Pentecost
Chapter; Acts 3, The Lame Man's Chapter; etc. Give your own
names to the chapters. Give the name that sets forth the most
important and characteristic feature of the chapter.
Thirteenth: Note subjects for further study. For
example, you are studying Acts 1. Subjects suggested for
further study are, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit; The
Ascension; The Second Coming of Christ.
Fourteenth: Words and phrases for further study. For
example you are studying Joh 3, you should look up words and
expressions such as, "Eternal life," "Born again," "Water,"
"Believer," "The Kingdom of God."
Fifteenth: Write down what new truth you have learned
from the chapter. If you have learned none, you had better go
over it again.
Sixteenth: What truth already known has come to you with
Seventeenth: What definite thing have you resolved to do
as a result of studying this chapter? A permanent record should
be kept of the results of the study of each chapter. It is well
to have an interleaved Bible and keep the most important results
5. _Study the Bible as the Word of God_. The Bible is
the Word of God, and we get the most good out of any book by
studying it as what it really is. It is often said that we
should study the Bible just as we study any other book. That
principle contains a truth, but it also contains a great error.
The Bible, it is true, is a book as other books are books, the
same laws of grammatical and literary construction and
interpretation hold here as hold in other books. But the Bible
is an entirely unique book. It is what no other book is--The
Word of God. This can be easily proven to any candid man. The
Bible ought then to be studied as no other book is. It should
be studied as the Word of God. (1Th 2:13). This involves five
First: A greater eagerness and more careful and candid
study to find out just what it teaches than is bestowed upon any
other book or upon all other books. We must know the mind of
God; here it is revealed.
Second: A prompt and unquestioning acceptance of and
submission to its teachings when definitely ascertained, even
when these teachings appear to us unreasonable or impossible. If
this book is the Word of God how foolish to submit its teachings
to the criticism of our finite reason. The little boy who
discredits his wise father's statements because to his infant
mind they appear unreasonable, is not a philosopher but a fool.
When we are once satisfied that the Bible is the Word of God,
its clear teachings must be the end of all controversy and
Third: Absolute reliance upon all its promises in all
their length and breadth and depth and height. The one who
studies the Bible as the Word of God will say of every promise
no matter how vast and beyond belief it appears, "God who cannot
lie has promised this, so I claim it for myself." Mark the
promises you thus claim. Look each day for some new promise
from your infinite Father. He has put "His riches in glory" at
your disposal. (Php 4:19).
Fourth: Obedience--prompt, exact, unquestioning, joyous
obedience--to every command that is evident from the context
applies to you. Be on the lookout for new orders from the King.
Blessing lies in the direction of obedience to them. God's
commands are but signboards that mark the road to present
success and blessedness and to eternal glory.
Fifth: Studying the Bible as the Word of God, involves
studying it as His own voice speaking directly to you. When
you open the Bible to study it realize that you have come into
the very presence of God and that now He is going to speak to
you. Every hour thus spent in Bible study will be an hour's
walk and talk with God.
Sixth: _Study the Bible prayerfully_. The author of the
book is willing to act as interpreter of it. He does so when we
ask Him to. The one who prays with earnestness and faith, the
Psalmist's prayer, "Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold
wondrous things out of Thy law," will get his eyes opened to see
beauties and wonders in the Word that he never dreamed of
before. Be very definite about this. Each time you open the
Bible to study it for a few minutes or many, ask God to give you
the open and discerning eye, and expect Him to do it. Every
time you come to a difficulty lay it before God and ask an
explanation and expect it. How often we think as we puzzle over
hard passages, "Oh if I only had so and so here to explain
this." God is always present. Take it to Him.
Seventh: _Look for "the things concerning Christ" "in
all the Scriptures_." Christ is everywhere in the Bible (Lu
24:27). Be on the lookout for Him and mark His presence when you
Eighth: _Improve spare moments in Bible study_. In
almost every man's life many minutes each day are lost; while
waiting for meals or trains, while riding in the car, etc. Carry
a pocket Bible or Testament with you and save these golden
minutes by putting them to the very best use listening to the
voice of God. The Textbook can easily be carried in the pocket
as a help in your work.
Ninth: _Store away the Scripture in your mind and
heart_. It will keep you from sin (Ps 119:11 R.V.), from false
doctrine (Ac 20:29,30,32; 2Ti 3:13-15), it will fill you heart
with joy (Jer 15:16), and peace (Ps 85:8), it will give you the
victory over the Evil One (1Jo 2:14), it will give you power in
prayer (Joh 15:7), it will make you wiser than the aged and your
enemies (Ps 119:100,98,130) it will make you "complete,
furnished completely unto every good work." (2Ti 3:16,17 R.V.).
Try it. Do not memorize at random but memorize Scripture in a
connected way. Memorize texts bearing on various subjects in
proper order. Memorize by chapter and verse that you may know
where to put your finger upon the text if anyone disputes it.
[*] A full description and illustration of various profitable
methods of Bible study will be found in Mr. Torrey's book on
"How to Study the Bible for Greatest Profit."