Last week I finished writing the materials for ABIDE: a mini course on abiding in Christ. One of the things I did as I prepared for the course is a word study. I studied the word “consider” found in Romans 6:11.
Studying that one word was so rich I became convinced everyone needs to know how to do a basic Bible word study! So if you are new to word studies, or just want to know how to do it online using free tools, this post will teach you how to do just that.
When you come across a word in scripture that you wonder about, or a key word is repeated in a chapter, use these steps to do a word study on it. It will deepen your understanding of the passage and draw you closer to the heart of God.
Disclaimer: I do own bible study software that I use to study the scriptures. However, I also use online tools because many things can be done completely free online, including word studies. So today I’ll walk you through 6 simple steps for doing a Bible word study using free online tools.
6 Steps for a Bible Word Study:
1. Look up the English meaning of your word.
Once you have your word chosen, begin by looking it up in a dictionary. Although we want to see the word in the original language, this step will give you a frame of reference for your word and get you thinking a little deeper about it’s meaning. I normally use the Miriam Webster dictionary for this step.
2. Go to biblestudytools.com to search your word.
So here’s where you’re going to get busy. I’ve included screen shots to help you quickly navigate the site.
What you’re going to do is search reference materials to find the original word in Hebrew or Greek, as well as the meaning and intent of your word in the original language.
Not all versions of the Bible are searchable for some of the reference tools (such as Strong’s Concordance or the New Testament Greek Lexicon), so you’ll need to select the New American Standard Bible to do a word study search. Just enter the scripture reference your word appears in and select the New American Standard Bible. Below is an example:
Once you’ve made your selection, hit “Find It!” Your verse will pop up. All the words in blue text are searchable. Simply click on the word you are studying like so:
3. Write down the definitions for your word.
When you click on the blue text, it will pull up a detailed list of the word in it’s original language, the part of speech it is, it’s meaning, where it is found in the Bible, and more.
Go ahead and read through the definitions and write down what it means in your own words.
4. Make observations about the word.
Once you’ve looked at the definition, you’ll want to make some basic observations about the word such as:
>What part of speech it is
>How many times this word is used in Scripture
>What books/writers use this word
>The contexts the word is mentioned in
>Where it first occurred in Scripture
Then, if possible, look up all the verses that contain this word.
To complete this step, jot down your observations about how this word is used in the Bible.
5. Find the root meaning.
The next thing you’ll want to pay attention to is the word origin. This will give further insight into the root word and overall intent/ connotations associated with your word.
For example, when I did my study, I found the root word associated with “consider” is “logos.” This was another rich study in and of itself and I drew several conclusions as to how these words relate and what it means for me as a follower of Christ.
6. Write out an application.
The final step is to make a personal application. Bible study should result in a changed life. Here is where you’ll take everything you found and write out a personal, practical conclusion.
That’s it! Now that you know how to do it, share what word you’re going to study first~ I’d love to hear it!