Word Studies

The Study of Words: Introduction

The study of words in the Bible is foundational to accurate exegesis and crucial for rich exposition.  Much is available but often the expositors are unaware of the correct procedure and best tools.

 

It is doubtful that a complete word study has ever, or will ever be done.  There are books on individual words, but even these do not include all the data.  Periodicals, word study books, and commentaries are all helpful in gathering materials; but it all must be carefully evaluated.  One must be satisfied that studying words will be a continuing process.  Nevertheless, with a few good tools and a little practice the expositor will be able to study words easily and quickly to be able to understand and explain their meanings and theirs uses.

 

There are three areas to be studied in this process: tracing the usage of a word, researching its etymology, and surveying its translations in the ancient versions.  Most word study books will give the etymology first, and then deal with usage and the versions; but we will work with usage first, because it will be the step most frequently used by students of the Bible.    The study of etymology is the most difficult, but since it is necessary for studying the many rare and problematic words in Scripture, it cannot be avoided.  The study of how a word is used is the least complicated; and it is how we proceed on the common theological words.  The study of how a word was translated in the ancient versions (and modern versions) is also a little complicated because it involves languages; but because the commentaries and expositions use them so much, we must know how to use them correctly.

 

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