An important part of studying and understanding the Scriptures is doing Word Studies. The Bible contains approximately 31 000 verses, with over 13 000 different words. It is vitally important to understand what a specific word means in the context of the verse or passage you are studying, and also to understand the meaning that the author of the passage gives to the word, as well as the author’s usage of the specific word.
To begin, you will need the following Tools:
- Your Bible
- A Concordance (we will be using Strong’s Concordance in this article)
- Prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit
“The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen.” (John 16:13 – CEV)
What is a Concordance?
A Concordance is a reference book that lists each occurrence of a word in both the Old and New Testament. I recommend that you purchase one (or even both) of the following for your studies:
(You can follow the links above to purchase these books from Amazon)
Remember always that you need to study with the desire to be a good steward of the Word.
Step 1: Select the word (or phrase) that you wish to study.
Step 2: Using your Concordance, list all the references in the Bible where that word occurs. Make sure that you note the Hebrew and Greek word numbers with each reference. These numbers refer to the original Hebrew or Greek word. These ‘Strong’s Numbers’ have become the standard in Biblical Studies, and many researchers, theologians and writers regularly refer to these ‘Strong’s Numbers’.
Note: You will obviously have noted that different Strong’s Numbers refer to different Hebrew or Greek words. For example, if you are studying the word ‘Word’ from John chapter 1, you will notice in your research in Strong’s Concordance that there are two main words that are translated ‘Word’ in the New Testament:
- Logos (Strong’s Number 3056 – the word used by John in John 1:1)
- Rhema (Strong’s Number 4487)
There is even a third Greek word used in Matthew 2:8 and also Matthew 28:8 – apangello (Strong’s Number 518)
Step 3: Look up all of the references listed in the Concordance, beginning with the Epistles, Acts, Gospels, Psalms, then the rest of the Old Testament.
Step 4: Divide all of the references into categories:
Step 5: Define the word
Step 6: Analyse and draw conclusions based on your work above.
Step 7: Personalize the verse or passage, and define life principles or examples for you to follow.
I have included a blank ‘English Word Study Sheet’ template for you to download and use in your word studies. You are welcome to print out as many of these sheets as you need.