We recently posted about using Nave’s Topical Bible for topical Scripture study. Another powerful tool for this kind of study that’s probably less well known than Nave’s is Martin Manser’s Dictionary of Bible Themes.
The Dictionary of Bible Themes is fundamentally similar to Nave’s in that it arranges Bible verses together under topical headings. What makes it distinct, though, is that the topics are arranged thematically rather than alphabetically.
For example, if you look up “envy” in the Dictionary of Bible Themes, like we did with Nave’s, you see that it’s grouped with other “Threats to the life of faith,” which is part of the theme “The life of the believer.”
This thematic arrangement means that when you look up a topic, it’s easy to browse nearby topics for related themes. Near “envy,” for instance, you find other vices and obstacles to the believer:
In addition, the list of references under each topic is further broken down and grouped in subtopics. The verses for “envy,” for instance, are broken down into causes, examples, and results of envy and verses forbidding envy:
These themes are all keyed to a numbering system that makes it easy to use the cross-references and indexes in the print, but of course, Logos makes all this automatic. The extensive cross-references given in the topics are all hyperlinked. To find a topic, just start typing it into the active reference box at the top of the resource panel:
Where the topics in Dictionary of Bible Themes overlap with Nave’s or other books with topical headwords, you can use the parallel resources button to quickly switch between resources. For instance, from this article, parallel resources lets you quickly jump to “envy” in Nave’s, the glossary of the Catechism, or several other dictionaries and reference works:
To find what themes are associated with a particular verse, use the Basic search. Enter the Bible reference and change the options at the top to limit the search to Dictionary of Bible Themes instead of “Entire Library”:
The search results will give you a list of all the themes this verse appears under:
From there, you can explore the themes for that verse and find thematically related verses. For instance, this search turned up the theme of divine promises for 2 Corinthians 1:20; specifically, it groups this verse with other references demonstrating that God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ:
Thus, just like we did with Nave’s, you can use the Dictionary of Bible Themes to find verses related to a particular topic or to find topics related to the verse you’re studying. From there, you can use the cross-references and neighboring themes to easily broaden your study to related areas.
Navigate the Bible through its ideas, not its verse numbers. Get the Dictionary of Bible Themes in any of three Logos Catholic Libraries.