There are a lot of reasons to do a word study in the Bible. It may be to dig deeper into a key word in a passage you are studying. It may be to understand a new word that you come across while reading. Maybe you just wonder what the Bible says about a particular word or topic. Regardless of the reason, here are some basic steps to conduct your own biblical word study.
So, grab your journal or fire up your favorite note-taking app because we’re going to run through how to do a word study in four easy steps.
Pray and ask that God would reveal Himself to you through the Bible and that He would help you be teachable.
Wonder, “Where else does this word appear?”
- A simple search on the Bible app or BibleGateway will list everywhere that word appears in Scripture.
- Read some or all of the passages, jotting down any nuance or insight that adds to your understanding of the word.
- If it is a major concept word, like love. Take particular note of where it appears first and what the context is. For example, did you know the first place the word “love” shows up in scripture is in Gen. 22:2? It is used to describe the feeling a father (Abraham) has for his only son (Isaac) as they journeyed to make a costly sacrifice. Hmm that sounds familiar.
Dig deeper. But you say, “I don’t know Greek and Hebrew.” That’s ok. Strong’s Concordance has done the heavy lifting. It is an index of every word in the King James and New American Standard Versions of the Bible and their correlating Hebrew and Greek meanings.
- Websites such as BibleHub.com offer tools that will help you research the origin of your word and give you insights that come from the original language.
Synthesize what you’ve discovered.
- How do I now interpret this word?
- What insight did I gain to better understand who God is and who He calls us to be?
- Share what you learned with a friend.
You may not always have time to fit a word study into your normal devotional routine. But that’s okay. Change up your rhythm and clear some space in the day to try it out.