Unlike the topical study, which delves into a subject, the word study takes an in-depth look at the origin, uses, definition of, and other translations of, a particular word used in Scripture. The purpose is to learn as completely as possible what the writer meant when he used the word. Word studies often unlock beautiful and deep truths in seemingly familiar passages and make suddenly clear portions of the Bible that were long believed by the student to be incomprehensible.

Word Study

Tools you will need (see Bible study tools for explanations)

  • A study Bible

  • Different translations, excluding paraphrases

  • A Bible dictionary

  • List of word study suggestions, or a predetermined topic

  • English dictionary

  • Concordance

  • Greek and Hebrew lexicons




Step One: Selection

  • You may have already decided on a word from your own study, or you may have always wondered about the meaning of a particular word. Choose something in which you are interested, or choose one from the list above.


Step Two: Record Occurrences

  • Using a concordance, find passages that use this word and record them.


Step Three: Trace the root

  • For each of the references listed above, and using a lexicon, look up the original Greek or Hebrew word.

  • Write down the different possible definitions of the original word(s).


Step Four: Dig in

  • Again using a lexicon, find other places in Scripture this same root word was used.

  • Look up the passages and note how the word is translated.

  • Read the verse(s) in other translations.

  • Consider the following questions:

    • How did other writers use this same word?

    • How else does this same writer use the word?

    • What is the most frequent use of the word?

    • What additional meanings does it have?


Step Five: Apply

  • Up to this point, this may have seemed like an academic exercise, but keep in mind the goal for the Bible student is always sanctification. Using Asking Good Questions as a guide, write out an application by asking yourself, “How can knowing this information make me more like Christ?”


Step Six: Disciple

  • Now that God has revealed something about Himself or about you, share His insight with someone else in grace.

Word study suggestions