How to Do a Bible Word Study
Have you ever wondered how to do a Bible word Study? Maybe you’re looking for a new study method, are uncertain where to start, or simply aren’t sure what a word study is–let alone how to approach and complete one! Read on, my friend. There’s a method here for you.
But be warned. A Bible word study will not only deepen your knowledge of the Bible, but God might use it to help grow your faith–in a most unexpected way 🙂
What is a Bible Word Study?
This type of study focuses on a single word found in the Bible. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is!
Others may handle their studies differently, but I typically focus on the Greek and/or Hebrew meaning, and dive into Bible verses containing the focus word. I’ll often also use a dictionary and Bible concordances.
What Study Resources Do I Need?
The list below contains several resources needed to complete a Bible word study. Not all are must-haves, but the more resources we use, the better understanding we often gather. And the great part? Many of these remain free to use online. If you prefer to flip pages and hold them in your hands, never fear. They’re widely available as well.
- Chosen Word (You decide, isn’t that great?)
- Notebook and Paper
- Concordance (Strong’s, back-of-the-Bible versions)
- Dictionary (Vine’s Bible Dictionary, Webster’s 1828)
- Online Resources (BlueletterBible.org, BibleStudyTools.com, BibleGateway.com)
How to Do a Bible Word Study
Below, I’ve listed my approach to study Bible words. If you have other steps, we’d love to hear them. Feel free to add them in the comments below.
1. Identify Your Word
Ever wondered how to handle anger, worry, or discouragement? Maybe a verse containing love popped out one day. At the surface, its meaning seemed evident, but what if there’s more than one meaning? (There is, by the way.) Here are three ways of identifying your word:
- It causes you to pause when reading this word in the Bible.
- It centers around subject matter you’re wrestling with in real life: jealousy, anger, worry, envy, courage, fear, and so forth.
- You simply want to know more about a word in the Bible. These are perfect words for a study.
2. Use a Concordance
Many Bibles house a concordance in their back pages. Not all contain this tool, but the ones that do will typically advertise it on the packaging or in the table of contents. It’s a handy resource.
Concordances list words alphabetically and provide a record of verses containing the focus word. Bible versions typically don’t include every scripture involving the focus word–they simply don’t have space–but this is an excellent place to begin. Read through the verses listed. Note the ones that speak to you.
In lieu of a concordance, open a browser and search for “Bible verses about ________.” (I used courage in the sample link.) Sometimes the verses listed online contain different ones than your Bible’s concordance.
3. Refer to Strong’s Concordance
This big book (really big!) contains thousands of words. There’s a reason it’s called The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. It’s a read for word nerds and students like you and me because inside awaits a wealth of information.
|The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Large-Print Edition|
This tool alphabetizes the words and verses containing them, but it displays a number as part of the equation, too. This number corresponds to either a Greek or Hebrew word found further back in the book. (Or, there’s a free online version at BlueLetterBible.org.) The numbers then designate a definition. This helps us better understand the correct usage of, for example, love.
4. Read a Bible
With a definition and listing of verses in hand, dive into the Bible. Read the various passages and see how the unit of language is used. What circumstances surround its usage? Who are the people using it? Are there similar situations or tag-along words noticed?
Try reading several Bible versions. Different ones explain the text in a variety of ways–and some may be easier to understand than others.
5. Ask God
This one should probably be in the #1 position. Our Father gives wisdom. Pray, asking Him for understanding, insight, and wisdom from Above. He’s wonderful at giving the insight we need.
Which Bible Should I Use?
Investigate several Bible translations to find the one(s) that work best for you. I either read from or use the ones listed below for comparison:
- NIV (everyday language, word-for-word translation
|NIV Woman’s Study Bible, Leathersoft Rich Rose|
- AMP (LOVE this one for expanding words and further understanding without pulling out all the other resources)
- KJV (correlates to Strong’s Concordance well & is in the public domain)
- NLT (easy to read)
|NLT Abundant Life Bible|
- MSG (easy-to-read and modern paraphrase)
|Message Slimline Bible–soft leather-look, brown/pink|
- WEB (public domain)
Available Bible Word Studies
Releasing TODAY (9/24/19) is a Bible word study birthed after the Holy Spirit launched one word into my atmosphere. That word? Believe.
In late 2018, God dropped an unexpected word into my thoughts, and it churned for quite some time. That word? Believe. I thought I understood its meaning and application. I was wrong.
I began investigating this word and how it intersected—truly intersected—my life. What did I believe and under what circumstances? Did I trust God and His promises during the good but not the bad? Why and why not? As time passed, He began to unfold a newer, deeper understanding.
What if God desires to reconstruct or dig a deeper foundation on what and how you believe as well? If you’re interested in pursuing God’s insight and will in this area, make sure to visit this page to learn more about the study or here to purchase it.
As a bonus for September, this downloadable word study will be $2 off the normal price–just $4.99 versus $6.99. Grab your copy now!
(PS KristiWoods.net subscribers received an opportunity earlier in the month to win a free copy. Don’t miss out on future opportunities. Join now.)
***The winner of the free copy of Created to Believe is Marissa K. Marissa, I’ll be emailing you soon. Congratulations!
How to Study the Bible by Topic?
Interested in how to study the Bible by topic? See my guest post over at Susan B. Mead’s site to find helpful information for your Bible study endeavors.
Vine’s and Other Dictionaries
I also use Vine’s Bible Dictionary (available in print or at BlueLetterBible.org), commentaries (also available at BlueLetterBible.org), and Webster’s 1828 Dictionary for further helpful insight. (As a young Christian, Joyce Meyer often recommended the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. I found it helpful and am passing it along in case you do as well.)
|Vine’s Concise Dictionary of the Bible|
|Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 Edition|
And so we have it — how to do a Bible word study. Let us know in the comments below how God impacted you through a word study.
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Sometimes we need some hands on resources to get us where we want to go.
Bless you for providing direction today!
Hello, my friend! I had you on the mind just last week…and had plans to stop by your site BUT a shiney object distracted me. Gah! No more, though. I’ll be over just as soon as I’m finished reading here. And yes–love those hands-on resources. They are helpful, aren’t they? Blessings!
Thanks for these tips, Kristi. I love that last one: ask God! Sometimes I forget that part. Lol.
I’ll be pinning this to share and save for later.
Blessings to you!
Sometimes I forget it, too, Marva. 😉
This is such a great guide. You’ve broken down the concept of a biblical word study into such practical steps- makes it feel so much less overwhelming! This is a great resource to pass along, as I’m sure you’re “Believe” Bible study will be as well. I also love to read from several translations- it always seems to help clarify a given passage if you read it phrased several ways. Thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful “how to”!
A hearty “yes” to those multiple Bible translations, Katie. I’m so thankful we have a variety from which to choose. Have a wonderful weekend.
Love these easy to follow steps on how to do a word study. Thank you for making it easy and applicable!
Absolutely, Melissa. Thanks for stopping by! Come on back next week. 😉
I love word studies. They are so much fun to do! It is such a great way to connect so many dots across scripture and get a clearer picture of how things work together. Thank you for sharing.
So true, Anne! I like the analogy of connecting the dots.
Great word study guidance, Kristi! I utilize all the resources you recommended. I remember when I discovered Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828. It made a sweet addition to my library; cool, too! I also “Amen” your inclusion of “time” in your list of needed resources. True! Some word studies take much time, but they are so rewarding 🙂
Fun that you utilize these resources, too, Charla! Word studies are rewarding. I hope your next one is especially so.
This is an amazing resource to practically learn how to study a topic or word in the Bible well. I typically study books of Bible in their entirety but have wanted to try some topic Bible studies just to have something different. Thank you for all the practical advice to make that possible!
Glad to help, Amber! Best wishes as you dive into the Bible in new ways. May His Word dance to life like never before!
Love this! Sometimes we just need to approach the word of God from a different angle. All the resources included are helpful, especially to anyone who has never attempted a personal Bible Study. Excellent!
I agree with you, Maureen, different angles are good. New things come to life often that way.
Thank you for writing this Kristi! I’ve been thinking of starting a word study and this has been really helpful!
So glad to hear it, Shante. Blessings as you dig into God’s Word.
I love how you broke it down for your reader to get the message in a very easy manner . Studying the Bible is one of the most needful thing for a believer and I am glad you are explaining it well
Yessss….that the Bible is one of the most needful things for believers, Diana. With you all the way, my friend.
I love this practical, easy-to-follow approach, Kristi. I do word studies on a regular basis, though I haven’t ever really thought through my process. I’ll be sharing your post with my followers!
Sounds like you love word studies, too, Jana. I hope this helps your followers as well! Thanks for sharing.
This is an amazing website and we really enjoyed reading it.