Identify Biblical Themes with Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Today’s post is written by Gary H. Everett, author of Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. Gary received his MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is currently pursuing his doctorate. He has served as a missionary in Kampala, Uganda, pastored, and taught in Bible colleges.

A Unique Approach to Bible Study

Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures is designed to guide readers into the biblical text using proposed thematic schemes that follow the redemptive structure of the Holy Bible. This way, readers know what a passage of Scripture is saying in respect to the overall theme, or message, of that particular book. These thematic schemes serve as a key unlocking the meaning of the Scriptures in a magnificent way. An accumulation of 30 years of Bible study, Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures is a 7,981-page* resource especially designed to aid the preacher and teacher by helping them navigate through a sermon/teaching series so that there is a cohesive unity throughout a series of messages on a book of the Bible, guiding the listeners along a spiritual journey with a clearly defined destination, transforming each person to become more like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Identify the Central Theme of the Text

Every week a preacher wrestles with the central idea of the text. Sometimes he identifies it, and sometimes he is sidetracked by a secondary theme of interest. There is never-ending effort to identify the theme and preach the text correctly, and commentaries and other reference books offer little assistance in this area. I believe that the themes of each book of the Holy Bible can be established by following a procedure called composition criticism. Composition criticism is a relatively new and undeveloped field of biblical criticism. Historical-grammatical studies, textual criticism, and various forms of higher criticism have been used by scholars and pastors for centuries, but none of these has successfully “extracted” recognizable themes from each book of the Bible. Composition criticism has been of tremendous value in my efforts to identify biblical themes.

Amazingly, as one identifies and compares the themes of each biblical book, it becomes clear that the Bible is intricately woven into harmonious unity. We conclude that the themes and arrangements of these books were orchestrated by God Himself guiding approximately forty authors over 1,600 years of its writing and composition.

Don’t get bogged down in minutia before you grasp the big picture; let Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures help you follow the arc of the biblical story by helping you identify its themes. Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures is currently on Pre-Pub. Pre-order now and add nearly 6,000 pages worth of valuable study material to your Logos resources.

*The page count on the product page says 5,755. We are working with Gary to update this number.


  1. Archie Jonathan Pinkney says

    I don’t usually enter these discussions, but I am also a Baptist and some of the comments (in the PDS’s) of these samples are UN-beleivable!

    I am a big fan of St. John’s Gospel. In this sample of John [XI. Literary Structure] the author states “It is important to note that such a breakdown of this book … was not NECESSARILY INTENTED by the original author” [caps used by me for emphysis]. If one is not following the intent of the author, is one not “reading INTO scripture” rather thsn EXEGETING. In the outline, he uses the chapter 1 verses 1 through 18 “Prologue” version. He should go back two days (4-24-12 logostalk) to The New International Commentary treatment of St. John by J. Ramsey Michael’s discussion starting on sample page 1 of Prologue vs. Preamble. I have long been in the “PREAMBLE” camp that reads “κατέλαβεν” as understood because each chapter has the darkness not understanding the light … until Jesus reveals it. Although I like the “λόγος” idea, that was not John’s focus.

    I just thought it was time to say one could be evangelical and still EXEGETE scripture.

    • Gary Everett says

      “Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures” offers a conservative, evangelical approach to biblical exegesis. The unique feature of these study notes is its application of three thematic schemes in searching for the literary structure of the books of the Bible: (1) the Father-Son-Holy Spirit motif (1 Pet 1:2), (2) the spirit-soul-body of man motif (Deut 6:5), (3) and the predestination-calling-justification-glorification plan of redemption motif (Rom 8:29-30). The author does not claim that these motifs were intentionally designed by the biblical authors; rather, he believes these motifs serve as an aid in navigating through the biblical text. The introductory material of Study Notes offers an extensive discussion on the themes and literary structure of the books of the Holy Scriptures, ending with a summary outline so that a pastor/teacher can more clearly navigate through a preaching/teaching series with a congregation so that the teachings join together as a cohesive unit to reach a clear destination, in an effort to overcome the challenge of delivering disjointed messages when preaching/teaching through the books of the Holy Scriptures.

      Out of respect for the views of other biblical scholars, the author does not claim to have discovered the biblical author’s intended literary structure; rather, he has given his best efforts to achieve that goal, leaving this accomplishment to other Bible scholars to evaluate and modify this literary structure, since biblical scholarship on any topic is actually a community discussion that takes place over the years with contributions from everyone.

      Many of us appreciate Archie’s zeal for evangelical scholarship. I have spent my career in the mission fields of sub-Sahara Africa, working together with and supporting missionaries of many different denominations, being a part of evangelical crusades as well as Bible conferences. I, too, as well as you, have seen God work in my life and that of my loved ones, answering prayers, and transforming nations through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      Gary Everett