Basics of Bible Study 5: How to find the Topic

Bible Study Basics 5:

Exegesis of Argument Part II: Topic

Exegesis = bringing forth the author’s intended meaning from the text along normal literary methods


  • Exegesis of Grammar –
    • Subject Verb and Object…
    • Paragraph breaks
  • Exegesis of Genre and Figurative Language
    • Illustration: Rooms in your house have rules
  • Exegesis of History
    • Who: Author and Recipient
    • Where: Location and geographical considerations
    • When: Important events before and after
  • Exegesis of Argument
    • What is the text about?
    • Why was the text written?
    • How does the argument proceed?
    • The Key of Exegesis = Follow the Argument
    • ***Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

Part Two: How to Determine Topic

  • Key Question: What is the topic of the Text?
  • Why Topic? – because the
  • Most Difficult to Determine because
    • There may be multiple sub-topics under one main topic.
    •  Sometimes a Biblical Author directly states his topic
      • Heb 8:1, “Now the main point is this…” κεφαλαιον, principle subject
      • Luke 1:1-4… “write an orderly account” v. 3 of things accomplished among them (v.1) and the things first preach by ministers (v.2)
      • Most of the Time You must read the entire section or book to get the topic
      • What to Look For-
        • Look for clear statements of topic (if none)
        • Use your History, Genre, and Grammar studies to seek the topic
        • Compare the passage to other surrounding units of thought
        • Break the passage into smaller segments and compare
        • Read as if you’re in the original audiences’ shoes…
        • Illustration: Be Goldilocks… the topic must be “just right…” not too broad, not too narrow
          • Example: John 1:1-18
          • Too Broad: The Divine Logos
          • Too Narrow: How John the Baptist pointed forward to the Divine Logos
          • Just Right: That it was the Divine Logos who took on flesh as Revelation
            • Notice the Segments…
              • Described The Divine Logos 1-4,
              • Described that he took on flesh, 6-15
              • Described him as God’s self-revelation, 5, 16-18
    • Notice the History…
      • No one has ever seen God accept the Son, but now He has made Him known (18)
      • ***Don’t be afraid to go back and amend this once you study the passage more!


Grammar -Title the paragraph and the main subject, verbs, and objects

Genre -Determine the Genre: Epistle, Direct Speech, Law Code for Church

Figures -Determine any Figures of Speech

History -Observe Historical Context= Who, What, When

Argument – Ask: What is the text about?

Tit 3:1-7  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,  (2)  to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.


(3)  For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another,


(4)  but when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, (5) he saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,  (6)  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  (7)  so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


Main Topic: The Ministry Calls for Good Works on a Gospel Basis

Segments:        Paul charged Titus to remind the church to do good works (1-2)

Because of the gracious salvation (4-6)

From sin (3) and death (7)