I love a good Bible word study! They are great for helping us gain a deeper understanding of what the scriptures are saying.
We are living in times when truth does not like to be defined. Many things that were once considered right or wrong and black and white have now taken on a shade of gray. It’s important for us to know how to discern and search out the truth laid out for us in God’s Word so that we are equipped to identify what is truth and what isn’t as we go about our daily lives.
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Word studies are an important part of how we properly know and study the Bible for ourselves.
What is a Bible Word Study?
A biblical word study is simply taking a deeper look at the meaning of any specific word in the Bible. A basic word study is to look at the transliteration of the word in its original Greek or Hebrew language. While this step is crucial for gaining a true understanding of the specific word, there are a few other steps that I like to include.
How To Study a Word in the Bible?
Understanding how to do word studies in the Bible helps us in our Bible interpretation. Before we can apply God’s word to our lives appropriately, we must first interpret it accurately.
Here are a few steps you can take to do Bible word studies for yourself.
Look up the English Definition of the Word
One simple way is to pay a visit to our good old friend, Webster. Check a dictionary and see what the word means in the English language. There are tons of online dictionaries you can find, such as dictionary.com or merriam-webster.com. Both of these sites are great options for looking up definitions of the word.
Look at Synonyms and Antonyms
Another way to understand a specific word is by looking at synonyms and antonyms. Seeing other related words, plus words that mean the opposite is very helpful for understanding a word’s meaning. I like using Thesaurus.com for doing this step.
Look up the Word in its Original Language
The next thing you want to do is to look at the definition of the word in its original language. I recommend Blue Letter Bible for this. You can watch this video for a quick tutorial on how to use this tool for a Bible word study online or as a Bible word study app.
Some other things you want to note as you look at the word in its original language:
- What part of speech is it? (noun, verb?)
- How many times is that word used in the Bible?
- What are some examples of other related words?
Look at Other Verses in the Bible that Contain the Word
Once you’ve found the definition of the word in its original language, take a look at other verses that contain the same word. Blue Letter Bible will show you this information. Note how the word is used in other passages.
Keep the Bible Word Study In Context
One of the most important principles for all Bible interpretation is to keep everything in context. It’s very easy to take a verse, or even a word, out of its context and make it say what we want. This is dangerous. As you do your word studies, make sure you read a few verses before and after the specific verse that contains the word you are studying. This will help you to get a better idea of the context in which the verse was written.
Pray For Understanding
One of the best ways for us to gain a deeper understanding of the scriptures is by asking God to be our tour guide through His Word. Ask Him to enlighten the eyes of your understanding and reveal Himself as you study.
Example of How to Do A Word Study in the Bible
Here is an example of how to do a word study online from the book of Philippians.
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons – Philippians 1:1
Let’s do a word study of “the servants”.
- English definition: noun a person who serves in bondage; slave; a person bound to service without wages.
- Synonyms: assistant, attendant, helper, slave
- Antonyms: master, instructor, judge
- Original language definition: G1401 doulos – a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency):—bond(-man), servant.
- Verse with the same word: And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant – Matthew 20:27
Which Version of the Bible is Best for Word Studies?
I believe that God can and does speak through the many different versions available to us. However, when doing Bible study I always encourage others to choose a word-for-word translation. I recommend NASB, ESV, or NKJV.
More Resources for Bible Word Studies
Here are some other helpful tools and resources for doing your own Bible word studies.
- Your Bible
- Resources online – Bible Hub, Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible
- Strongs Concordance
- Vines Bible Dictionary
- Here is a Bible word study worksheet pdf that you can use to document multiple word studies on one page
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