Growing as a Christian requires believers to feed their spirit with the spiritual food that is the word of God. Studying the Bible is not a difficult thing to do, but it is true that there are many ways to study and some people may prefer certain styles to others. The only way for a person to determine which method of study is preferred is to try several! Regardless which style ends up being the one that works best, the important thing is to study.
The tools needed for an efficient Bible study are pretty universal. The first thing is a Bible, of course, in your preferred translation. Some people may choose to have several translations available for comparison. You will also want a good concordance and a dictionary. Some may want both a Bible dictionary and a standard English dictionary, especially for this type of study. A notebook and a writing implement for keeping track of what is learned are also a good thing to have on hand. A three-ring binder and loose-leaf paper may be a better option, since the pages can more easily be added or rearranged, allowing the words studied to be sorted into alphabetical order for future review.
To begin, choose a word to study. Remember that the original word may be translated differently in different verses when translated into English; this is why a good concordance is essential for this type of study. A concordance such as Strong’s will tell where the original word shows up regardless of how it is translated. Write the selected word at the top of the notebook page.
Look up the word in an English dictionary and write the definition(s). Some words are simple with only one definition, but some words may have several. Consider highlighting the definition that fits best with the use of the word, if there is one that fits more than the others.
If you are using more than one translation of the Bible, compare how the word is translated in each of them. This may lend some additional insight. Additional words can be written on a separate page for future word studies.
Write down the definition of the original word. This will usually be listed in the concordance, but you may be able to find it in a Bible dictionary, also. The original words are either Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek.
Find all the verses where the word is used and make a list. Also write how often the word appears, which books contain it, which book has it the most times, where does the word appear first, and which writers used it. Make notes for each appearance of the word.
Examine the etymology of the word: its original meaning, its common usage when it first showed up in the world – how it was used in the general culture. Consider how the word is used in the Bible, and how the intended audience of the time would have understood it. Be sure to consider the context – the surrounding words, phrases, and concepts – when studying the word.
Once the word has been examined, consider how the information can apply to your daily life. Write down the application so it will be possible to evaluate your success in following weeks. If there are several potential applications, write them all down, but choose one at a time to being working on in your own life.
When you are finished with the above steps, consider comparing your results with others who have studied the words. It is possible that others have insights that did not occur to you, and vice versa. It is good to learn from one another.
Where to Buy
To make it easier for believers to get started in study, some useful resources are listed below.
Obviously other languages are different from English. The languages used in the Bible are ancient, on top of that, making it even more of a challenge to determine the proper definition of the words used. Dictionaries can give a static definition, but it cannot examine the context, culture, and history involved in the word choices. This book examines the words in the light of these and teaches readers to follow the steps to analyze words in proper context so even words not included in the book can be properly studied.
This is a devotional word study book. Unlike the word-study dictionaries, this book takes a more explanatory approach that goes in depth and includes practical, useful applications. The author is an expert in Biblical languages and covers definitions, origins, cultural uses in general language and idioms, and context based on the author’s use and apparent emotions. Ninety key words are clearly examined in this book.
These study Bibles come in several translations. The key words from the original languages are identified in these Bibles along with specific explanations of the meaning and usage. The Bible text pages have wider than average margins. The key words have Strong’s numbers associated. They have the words of Jesus Christ in red letters.
Dictionaries & Concordances
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index
Over 6,000 Biblical words are explained in this classic reference. The comprehensive topical index in the back is brand new and encourages deeper study.
This thorough alphabetical guide to the English translations of the Greek and Hebrew words used throughout the Bible includes thousands of alphabetically arranged articles that are coded to Strong’s numbers. Each word includes its meaning(s), transliteration, translation, and commentary. It is cross-referenced for ease in finding related themes and words.
This dictionary explains every word in the Greek New Testament, including comprehensive context usage and Strong’s numbers. The scholar Dr. Spiros Zodhiates has written commentary to go along with each word’s basic definition.