Before you begin, you need to read: How To Do an English Word Study
As you begin with Hebrew Word Studies, remember that it is not necessary for you to know the Hebrew language, although it would be a great help if you have a basic knowledge and at least are able to read Hebrew.
The following tools are required for a Hebrew Word Study:
(I recommend this concordance. It contains Hebrew listings of words, but has English contexts)
- Theological Dictionaries:
- Other Aids:
When doing your Hebrew Word Study, remember that you are conducting this study exercise in order to do a thorough analysis of the meaning of the word you are researching in order to arrive at a specific meaning in a given passage. You need to understand the use of the word you are studying in:
- General use
- Various different contexts
- In the given passage under review
Method of Study
Step 1: Using your Concordance, find all of the Old Testament occurrences of the word. Remember that you are doing a Hebrew Word Study, so all of the occurrences of the word will have the same Strong’s number. If the Strong’s number differs, then that specific occurrence of the word must use a derivative of the word you are studying.
Step 2: Using your Lexicon, note and record any non-OT usage of the word, and also note cognates in other languages.
Step 3: Examine the biblical usage of the word. Seek to establish a range of meaning for the word you are studying.
Step 4: Examine the distribution of the word. For example, does the word occur mostly in the prophets? Or in Legal Formulas? Or in Poetry?
Step 5: Establish key usages of the word. These key usages must be unambiguous enough to begin to pin down the meaning of the word.
Step 6: Establish the word’s function in the passage you are studying, based on all you have learned about the word so far.
Step 7: Give your own definition of the word based on everything you have done in the study so far.
Step 8: Check out your definition in comparison with your Theological Dictionaries and Word Study Books. Remember that these Dictionaries and Word Study books usually give general usage of the word, and may not bring uniqueness to the passage you are studying.
Download your ‘Hebrew Word Study Sheet’ to help you record you studies. You may print as many copies of this sheet as you like for your own use.