How to Use a Word Study in Your Quiet Time
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | April 30, 2017
A word study is a unique, detailed way of studying the Bible. This model of study is especially helpful if you tend to “zone out” when reading, particularly on passages you’re very familiar with. By studying the prominent words in Scripture, we come to a deeper understanding of what it means for us.
There are several steps to a word study, and this can be as time consuming as you wish it to be. But whether you are a beginner at Bible study or have been at it for years, a word study is an excellent way to see Scripture with new eyes! Following are some steps to get you studying some of the words in the Word.
1. Select the chapter and verse you plan to study.
You can start your word study anywhere in the Bible, but I find it easiest in the New Testament, particularly the Pauline epistles (letters written by the Apostle Paul). Choose a passage that is a manageable length; too long and you’ll have a lot of work on your hands! If you want to start with just one verse, that’s fine, too!
2. Take note of any words that are repeated in the passage.
Read through the passage. As you read, take note of any words that stand out. Is “grace” repeated several times? Perhaps “love” is the common theme, such as in the letters written by the Apostle John. Circle each word every time it occurs. If more than one word recurs, use different colors for each—blue for grace and red for love, for example.
3. Look up the word in Strong’s Concordance.
Once you’ve determined the words you’ll study, look them up in Strong’s Concordance. If you’re not familiar with Strong’s, this resource is a must-have for any believer—and there is a free version online!
Type the verse you are studying into the search bar. When you click on it, you should see a list of all the words with their Hebrew or Greek spelling next to each, as well as a letter and number combination such as “G3670.” This stands for “Greek3670.” Old Testament verses will have the Hebrew translations; New Testament will have Greek.
Find the word you’re studying and click on the Strong’s letter/number combination. This will lead you to a page that tells you:
- The transliteration
- The pronunciation of the Greek word
- The root word
- The outline of biblical usage for this word
- Other places this word appears in the Bible
This knowledge truly brings to life Bible passages we tend to skim over.
4. Rewrite the passage in your own words.
Once you understand some of the other ways the word is used, rewrite the passage in your own words. Speak it out loud if it helps you understand it more!
5. Look up cross references to learn more about the context of this word.
Finally, read through the list of verses where this word appears. If you have a study Bible, you should have cross references for the passage you’re studying—those verses listed between the two columns of verse on the page of your Bible. Follow the references to get the big picture of this word across redemptive history.
Have you ever tried a word study? If not, start tomorrow! Let us know how it works for you or share your Bible study pictures with us on Instagram at @projectinspired, or with Phylicia at @phyliciadelta.