Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bible word studies - how ?

   Helpful hints
Use a Bible with English you understand. For those words that may have gone out of common usage, use a good dictionary. e.g. 'Redeem'  - to buy back, recover by expenditure. (Oxford dictionary).

The use of a computer is good - more on  that another day.
     To trace a particular word in the Bible, I use a Strong's concordance  For example to track the word 'love' in the gospel of John, I look up the word 'love' in the concordance.  There I find listed every occurrence in the KJV Bible. I need to check for other similar words  i.e. 'loved',    or a better way is to note on the right hand side a number which represents the original Greek word (25)  I then use this number to find 'love ' in  the Englishmans Greek concordance of the New Testament.  This book lists all the occurrences of the Greek word (in English). This brings together variant translations of the  same original word (Agape). By following through the verses listed, I find much help:
eg       John 3:16   God so loved the world
           John 3:35 the Father loves the Son
            John 13:1 Jesus loved His own
             John 17:26 The Lord Jesus prays for God's love to be in us!!

Of course it would be helpful to see what good commentaries have to say about these verse, but just to see the settings of the word is delightful. Further study is to use the same number (25) to discover in a word dictionary that 'agape'  is a special kind of love as distinct from  others. This kind of  love is to show mercy and grace in spite of any goodness or worth of those loved.  Digging a little deeper will reveal other significant words for love.

     In word study we need to often pause and ask questions  ??
        Who is it that loves?
          Who is it that God loves?
             What is the Bible context and time frame?
                Is it relevant for today?
                  What are the outcomes of this love?

To a prayerful searcher, the Holy Spirit will be a wonderful teacher. In searching the scriptures we must check our motives - is it just for knowledge, or to produce a sermon, or hoping for a shot for the day. These may be OK but are inferior to the best motive  -  to know HIM and to love HIM. True Bible study should lead to worship and love of the God revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

      Many other helps are useful eg    a Bible dictionary to help understand detail of places, people and culture etc. Other translations can shed light on word meanings.

      May God bless you as you search the sacred scriptures

John McKee

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