As most of my regular readers know, I am a Bible study leader for Precept Upon Precept studies. And I am passionate about inductive study. And I cannot express how exciting it is to really understand what the Word of God not only says, but means! And one of the most important tools in our tool box for Bible study is word studies. This is so vital to truly understanding what God said and what He meant when He said it.
But getting started with word study can seem a bit overwhelming. So, I thought I would make it easy on you and tell you the resources you need, how to use the resources for accurate Biblical word study and encouragement for getting started with word studies during your private study.
Up first, is the resources you will need for your word study. You can get them a little at a time, ask for them for birthday or holiday gifts, or search them out in a thrift store. But they are all invaluable in Biblical word study. If you are planning on getting them one at a time, I would start at the top of the list and go down.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
This is a resource similar to the concordance found in the back of many Bibles. But an exhaustive concordance will include EVERY word in the Old Testament (your Hebrew and Aramaic study tool) and New Testament (your Greek study tool), making sure you have the right resource no matter what word you are looking up. Make sure that you are getting a) an exhaustive concordance and b) a concordance in your preferred translation of the Bible (mine is NASB, but you can get it in other versions).
Vine’s Expository Dictionary
This resource is similar to an encyclopedia but is formatted like a dictionary. It is not exhaustive, like Strong’s Concordance; but it includes many of the key words of both the Old and New Testaments. If you compare your word study to a stretch of dirt, the Strong’s Concordance will be the topsoil and Vine’s Expository Dictionary would be the next layer down. You will be getting more information and start to get a fuller understanding of what the word you are researching means (using the Greek or Hebrew).
Word Study from Zodhiates
This is a multi-volume set of books covering every word of the Old and New Testaments. Depending on what you purchase, you can also get a New Testament or Old Testament with word study tools included in the text. If you are interested in buying the entire set, the place to get it is Christian Book Distributors – they have the best price for the whole set. You can get it through this link.
If you are looking to add these resources one at a time, I recommend purchasing the Word Study Dictionaries for the Old Testament and the New Testament first. These two resources will give you the expanded definitions of the words you are interested in studying. The Word Study Dictionaries will have full and detailed definitions of all the words of each testament coded to Strong’s Concordance numbers. So once you have the Strong’s Number (found by using Strong’s Concordance), you will be able to use these dictionaries to get broader understanding of the words you are looking up.
Then you can add the Word Study Old and New Testaments. These resources will give you more information about the words you are studying, like mood, tense, and voice (for the Greek) and tense (for the Hebrew/Aramaic). They will also provide for exhaustive cross-referencing of the words you are studying.
Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament
This resource is so precious to me! I just love reading it! Though it is one of my very favorite Biblical resources, I list it last on the list because it comes closest to being a commentary of any of the word study resources. If you are interested in only what does the word mean, you need to use the other resources on this list. If you are interested in just a tiny bit of commentary along with the definitions, you need to read Wuest! I usually do my word study of a word and get a FULL understanding of what it means and then go to Wuest to tie it all together.
Sadly, this is not an exhaustive resource. Wuest only provided Greek study tools for studying the New Testament. And it can be a little random in its ordering – meaning the books are not in order of the Biblical canon. So it can kind of be like playing the lottery to find out if Wuest has included the book you are looking for in his work.
But in case you write it off as unnecessary because of its incomplete study, please consider it because this volume set includes an expanded translation of the entire New Testament. This alone is worth the price you pay for the entire set (and then you have the other volumes, to boot!) as it helps Bible students understand the mood, tense, and voice of the words in a seamless translation. I have been reading the chapter translations aloud with my Bible study students as we finish the study of each chapter and they have enthusiastically enjoyed it!
A Word about Biblical Word Study
This list of Biblical Word Study resources is by no means exhaustive, but I believe these are a wonderful start for the lay-student.
You, too, can know what the individual words of the Bible mean through your own study.
You, too can work through and understand the Bible in a new and exciting way. And you don’t have to do it in a sermon or classroom setting!
You can worship the Lord more accurately because of your new understanding of what He meant when He breathed His word into men, who were faithful to write it down.
I welcome your questions about Biblical Word Study (it is a topic about which I am passionate)! I would love to help you discover how to study the Bible for yourself whether you are in a formal Bible study or are studying on your own. i would love to show you more tools for studying the Bible that will bless you for a lifetime! Please leave any questions in the comments and check the box to be notified of any response to your comments, so we can begin a discussion.
Blessings to you as you study the words of the Word.