I read the Topical Bible in conjunction with my study Bible. I would read a verse, and if it wasn't familiar to me, I would go to my study Bible and look for more information and read more of the text, as needed for a comprehensive understanding. I cross-referenced the material oftentimes, as I felt led to do so. This method made a very interesting and informative Bible study. I took my time, meditating and praying over the verses. It took me 34 months of almost daily study.
I really like the idea behind this book. A Bible concordance is nice, but it doesn't list all the relevant scriptures because they might not contain a specific "key word." So the idea of a topical guide is great. Why not list all the scriptures that talk about suffering, even if thy don't use the specific word "suffering?"
However, I find this book falls short in two important respects. First, it is difficult to find the right topic heading. For example, I wanted to explore the idea that God is impartial (Rom. 2:11). So I looked for "partiality, impartiality, respecter, and favoritism" and none of those appear. Maybe the impartiality of God is not important enough? So while it is 1592 pages and claims to have 20,000 topics, I would not consider it comprehensive by any means.
Secondly, it would be nice to just list the scriptures chronologically and let the reader come to his own conclusions. Instead, MacArthur adds headings that lean on a single Evangelical interpretation. For example, under the topic of Salvation, he doesn't just list all the scriptures talking about salvation. He writes "the Confession of Christ necessary for Salvation" and then quotes Romans 10:10. It would be nice just to list them and then let me come to my own conclusions.
It should almost be called "A Handbook for scriptures that support Evangelical doctrine." Now that might be a good thing for you. I just wanted to make it clear that it isn't an objective listing of scriptures like what you might get from a search engine.
The MacArthur Topical Bible arrived damaged. It is a large book (9.67 X 7 X 3) and needs a better binding. The text block was separating from the cover at the hinge and end papers. I think that it needs to be made into two volumes if the publisher continues to use the same binding.
I was also disappointed in the book's content. The first four words I looked up weren't included in the list of topics. They are commonly and not infrequently used words in the Bible, so I was surprised to find them missing. I wouldn't recommend this Topical Bible to anyone except to someone new to the Bible. It is definitely not a book for Bible scholars.