How to Compile Themes.


There is no question, that building up a list of Bible themes requires work (time and effort).

However, the "pay-back" is that we are less likely to base our faith on a verse that has errors in it.

Collecting all the verses on a given subject, gives us a better picture of what the Bible is saying over all. We can further refine the list by rejecting any verses that contradict any clear instructions spoken by God.

How it happened for me.

I have put together many themes, that I hope to publish in time.  It is a very good prompt to our Bible study when we go looking for themes.  Even without specifically looking, Scriptures with something in common will jump out at us as we are doing our daily Bible reading.  Jot them down before you forget.

I have no doubt that there are many different ways of recording the themes scattered throughout the Bible.  The most basic one would be different sheets of paper with the theme we are chasing written across the top, and then the verses recorded as we come across them, underneath.  This is how it started for me.

However, to tidy things up a bit, and to make it easier to see if I had already picked up a particular verse, I transfered the data to a word processor.  In my case it was OpenOffice, which can be downloaded for free from * (As of 2015, LibreOffice is better).  Other word processors would have the same ability I'm sure.

If you don't have access to a word processor, then you could use a card system. Write one Book/chapter/verse (plus actual verse) to a card, then manually sort them.

The Basic Approach.

You can just start off with one point (book, chapter,verse) in a table (or on a list), and then just add the new points in the correct order. All table programs will let you add a cell "before" or "after", and the list of the books in order will show you where to put the next verse. If it is just a text document, then you can still add them (by pressing "enter" at the start of a line) in the correct order.

A bit more complicated.

I set up a table with three columns - the first two narrower than the last.  The first column is for the "key", the second for the book/verse and the third for the actual Scriptures pasted in. The key is for the sorting process, and can be discarded before printing.  For the key you need to again use the table facility to make a list of all the Bible books.  Using four columns (so it will fit on one page) list out the order of the books of the Bible and give them a double digit number.  For example, 01 Genesis .....  40 Matthew   .....  66 Revelation.  You might want to laminate this sheet as you will be using it for as long as you use the system.

The Key.
The first two digits are the sequence number of the book. The book of Numbers would have 04 (not just 4). The next three digits are the first three letters/number of the book (just to give you visual feedback). The next two digits are the chapter, followed by a colon, and then two digits for the verse.

The exception is when the verse is in the book of Psalms, when you have to use three for the chapter and three for the verse.  Sorting on the key column will ensure that the final list will be in the same order as the Bible.

Some examples.

Ruth 2:2-3                     =    08Rut02:02-03
Psalms 119:4               =   19Psa119:004
1 John 4:11                   =    621Jo04:11

To get the table to sort in OpenOffice, you have to left click on, say, the top left cell of the table, hold the button down and move to the bottom right cell.  Release the button and then select the sort function from the menu.  Just the first column needs to be sorted.  For some reason "select all" doesn't seem to work.

Having sorted the table, I then save it under another name (just add .temp). By deleting the  first and last columns, you can then print off a sheet with all the verses listed.  This becomes the working sheet - you just pencil in new verses as you find them.  If you just delete the first column (the key), and tidy up the column spacing, and then print, you have the list in a final form.

Long Term Program.
In the long term I hope we can have an Internet site that can list all the Themes that people have found. Then everyone can add to and refine those lists so that they become more and more complete.  One subtle comment in the Bible doesn't carry much weight, but when you get a dozen or more all saying the same thing, then it does carry some weight.  Also Satan is not as likely to influence someone to change a subtle point, so they can often be more reliable.

Bob Orchard Sep 2015

While this information is made freely available (Mat 10:8b) , and can be printed out, it is done with the understanding that there will only be fair and honest use of the material, and that it will be copied in full with no alterations.

HOME                                                            INDEX