How We’re Learning

by Kori Yates

Studying a Specific Topic

Sometimes my life runs in themes. Does yours do that? You know, when you read something in your Bible, a friend mentions the same topic, and the preacher preaches on it the following Sunday – all in a matter of days. It happens to me. And when it does, I try to sit up and take notice. I think I miss lots of what the Lord has done or is doing. But when He repeats Himself, it causes me to pause and notice.

When these themes happen, or even when I have a question about a certain topic, I want to dig. I want to know what the Lord has to say. The best place to find that is Scripture. But with sixty-six books across hundreds of pages, how do I ever find anything?

A friend of mine not long ago showed me a “mind mapping” exercise that helps tremendously in this area and is a great study tool to have.

How to Use Mind Mapping

  1. Write it down: In the center of your page write down the topic (word or phrase) that is on your heart or that the Lord has repeated in your world lately.
  2. Brainstorm: Around your main idea write down other words or phrases that come to mind (think synonyms, antonyms, quotes, etc.). You only need three to five.
  3. Note stories or situations: Here we can think about different stories or situations we know in Scripture that may tie into these words or phrases. There is not a set amount, just see what comes to mind. This is a good time to write down the illustration or story used in the sermon from Sunday or the piece of Scripture you read that originally brought this topic to mind.
  4. Dig: This is the nitty gritty. Take what you have so far and dig into Scripture. Use the index at the back of your Bible or an online platform like or to search for words or references that will tie into your brainstorming. Once some specific references are found, you can go back and follow up with a study of that chapter(s) to understand context, check out a concordance or glossary of Greek or Hebrew words (also found on these sites), and make notes about what you find.

Your Turn

At Planting Roots this year we are looking at being “ALL IN: Obedience and Courage.” If you need a word or topic to try some mind mapping, you could use that! I actually chose courage in particular, as it is what the Lord is repeating in my world lately.  He has been repeating courage to me many times over these past few months.

You can see in the example where the Lord led me here.

I would love to see what your mind mapping exercise looks like and what the Lord teaches you through it! Feel free to share in the comments or share pictures on our social media platforms!


Lord, show me today what you would have me see. Teach me your ways, Lord, allowing Scripture to speak truth and hope into my life today. Use it to change me and make me more like you.

Additional Resources

Two great websites I use are and

Additionally, I like to use my Bible app on my phone. If you don’t have a Bible app (I use YouVersion), you can also use the Planting Roots app to read your Bible! You can even choose different versions, which is sometimes hugely helpful!

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