Our editor recently was asked, "How do you do word studies?" We would like to take this article as a way of trying to answer this question. We will not be reviewing one particular book, but rather suggesting that you will need a few books to help you look up words and their meanings. We will also list some guidelines that should be used to help you understand the Word of God.
We would suggest that you need a concordance to be able to look up where words are used. We recommend Strong's as the best. We think that the student should also have a good dictionary and would recommend Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary.
Next, a Greek concordance for the New Testament and we recommend Wigram's. And finally we think that it is necessary to have a Hebrew concordance and recommend The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance. These last two books are keyed to Strong's numbers above the text, which does make the research easier and faster, but are not essential for looking up words.
We also have other Bible translations that can be compared after you get a basic understanding of what you believe the words mean. These other translations are not critical, but are helpful at times with some difficult words. The guidelines to word studies are:
- Using the principle of Right Division (II Timothy 2:15).
- Context, Context, and Context.
- Why, When, Who is the speaker, and to Whom is the speaker addressing?
- Figures of Speech.
- Compare Spiritual Truth with other Spiritual Truth.
- Rule of first usage.
I want to explain what I mean by the use of these guidelines. God wants us to know Him and His thoughts. We need to consider these principles or we will not be approved by Him. Right Division is not mixing up what belongs to Israel with what is ours as Body Members. The whole, immediate and future contexts need to be considered and who is addressed. We want to take words literally, if we can, but not if a figure of speech is being used. Comparing Scripture with Scripture and the rule of first time a word is used does help us to understand what God has recorded for our learning. We pray that God will enlighten your understanding.