How To Do A Bible Word Study
[I realize that many of my readers are not Christians and do not read the Bible, but for those of you that do read it, you might find this method of Bible study enlightening.]
Sometimes when I am reading the Bible, I am curious to know exactly what a word means in the verse that I am reading. While I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar (the languages that the Bible was originally written in), I have found it helpful to look up the meanings of words in the original Greek or Hebrew to gain more insight into a passage I am reading.
The Strong’s Concordance is a reference book which correlates every word in the Old and New Testament with a description in English of it’s meaning. Words in the Old Testament were given numbers starting with an H for Hebrew. Words in the New Testament were given a number with G in front of it for Greek.
You can now access this large volume using online tools. Here is a breakdown of what I do when I want to do a word study of a Bible verse:
(Please Note: Use of these links does not imply my endorsement of other material on these sites. I have simply found these tools to be useful.)
1. Go here and select the chapter and verse(s) that you want to research. Check the “Show Strong’s Number” box. Click “Get Verses”.
2.Find the Strong’s Concordance number at the end of the word(s) you want to research.
Words from the New Testament will have a number starting with “G” for Greek (the language in which the New Testament was written). Words from the Old Testament will have a number starting with “H” for Hebrew (the language in which the Old Testament was written).
For example, the word “love” in this passage is number G25. The number 5656 in parenthesis is a modifier (a word that further describes the first word), so you will need to look up both words to get the full intended meaning.
Note: The verse will come up in the King James version because that is the version of the Bible that Strong used when writing the concordance. If you would like to compare your verse in different versions of the Bible, go here and enter the chapter and verse, then select the version of the Bible you would like to read the verse in.
3. Go here and enter the Strong’s number without the “G” or “H”. Then select Greek if the number had a “G” in front of it, or Hebrew if the number had an “H” in front of it.
In our example, you would enter 25 and select Greek.
4. Read the definition. You can see that agapao is the Greek word and it means “to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly“.
In our example, we also need to look up the modifying word, which is number 5656 ōphelimos. The root word of this is ophello which means to heap up, i.e. accumulate or benefit. In this verse the word “love” can actually be translated as “heaps of love” or “accumulated amounts of love”.
5. Rewrite the verse in your own words. After I find the original meaning of the words I prayerfully rewrite the verse in a way that encompasses what I have learned.
For our example verse I would write something like this:
For God so dearly loved (with great heaps of love) and felt so fondly of the world …
This gives me insight into the fact that God doesn’t just love me, He has abundant heaps of love toward me (and the rest of the people in the world).
There you have it. It may seem like a long process, but I have found that as I dig into the treasures of God’s Word, I become closer to Him and I learn secrets about life that I never knew before. I don’t want to just read the words of the Bible, I want them to change my life.
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