~ Bible word studies have a bad rap. But they don’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Just use these 4 simple steps to easily do a biblical word study online. ~
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“Bible word studies aren’t really my thing.”
“Seriously? Why not?”
“Well, I don’t have all the big fat books and even if I did, who has that kind of time? And every time I try to learn, my eyes glaze over because it’s so complicated!”
This is how the conversation usually goes.
Biblical word studies seem to have a bad rap.
But, I have good news for you!
Help me spread the word – word studies do NOT have to be complicated – or time consuming – or involve big fat books.
Not only that – they are downright fun and exciting! Yes, really!
I mean, who doesn’t like a good light bulb moment?
Allow me to demonstrate. Let me show you my simple, easy way to do a word study online in 4 painless steps.
How To Do a Biblical Word-Study
Step 1 – Choose a verse.
Notice I didn’t say choose a word. Pick a verse first, then choose a word in the verse. It is important to look up the word you want to study in its context because some words have different meanings in different verses.
For example, I am going to use Psalm 25:1 since I had a special request to make some note cards with this verse. As always, I started studying the verse before I lettered it, and it turns out that it makes a perfect example to show you.
In reading the verse, I decided to look further into the word “soul.” Well, the word “soul” is defined one way in Psalm 25:1 and another way in Job 30:16. So, to get the correct meaning of that word, I needed to look up the whole verse instead of the word alone.
Step 2 – Check several different Bible versions.
Reading the verse with your word in different Bible versions will allow you to see the different ways Bible scholars have translated it. Sometimes it will be the same in every version and other times they will all be slightly different, as you see in our example today …
Psalm 25:1 (ESV, NASB): To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Psalm 25:1 (NIV): In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
Psalm 25:1 (NLT): O Lord, I give my life to you.
Psalm 25:1 (HCSB): Lord, I turn to You.
I have – and absolutely love – this parallel Bible for reading side by side translations, but you can easily read parallel Bible translations online for free. Try Biblehub.com, blueletterbible.org, or Biblegateway.com.
Step 3 – Check the lexicon tool.
Ok, stick with me. I know I promised to keep this easy – and this will be the only seminary-type term in today’s post. Just think of “lexicon” as a fancy word for a Bible translation dictionary. There are several free lexicon tools online, but my favorite is Biblehub.com.
All you have to do is go to Biblehub.com and type in your verse at the top. Hit Enter and up pops 20+ different versions of that verse.
Easy peasy. Now here’s the fun part.
Click on “lexicon” near the top. Boom. Just like that – there’s the translation. For our example, it lists the English words in the first column, then the Hebrew words, and then the definition.
For this step, we want to use the definition column.
For Psalm 25:1, “I lift” means “to lift, carry, or take.” And “up my soul” means “a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion.”
Now substitute those defining words and see how rich the meaning becomes.
So when you read “O Lord, I lift up my soul,” you can understand that it means: “God, I will carry (or take) to You my being, my life, my desires, my passion, my appetite, my emotion.”
Wow! Now that is a much more descriptive picture!
Do you see why I think this is fun? How cool is that!
Now to see even more nuances …
Step 4 – Use the Online Concordance.
A Concordance will help you find the same word in other verses throughout the Bible. In our example on Biblehub.com, if you are still on the lexicon, you will notice that there is a column named “Strong’s” with numbers underneath. Strong’s is a concordance that has assigned a number to all the Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible. In our Psalm 25 example, the word soul has the number 5315. If you click on the number, it will list all the other occurances in the Bible of that same word. But since I promised to make this easy, we aren’t going to do that today …
Instead, simply go to the top of the page and click on the word “Strong’s.” Bam. They did the hard work for us! All the most relevant cross reference verses will appear (on the right). Read those cross references to get an even clearer picture of the meaning of our word.
Did you notice Psalm 143:8 ESV?
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
So that’s all there is to it.
Bing. Boom. Bam.
Was I right? Word studies don’t have to have a bad rap.
Help me spread the good news by clicking one of the share buttons!
And then go to town with your shiny new skills on how to do a biblical word study!
Want a pretty Worksheet to help with these 4 steps?
I thought so!
*My prayer for you is … that this blog will inspire you to open your Bible every single day to seek God’s face and write His Word on your heart – because HE’S the key to lasting heart change!
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