How to do a Word Study (with Free Printables!)
Words are powerful. They often hold the keys of life or death. They can build us up with gleaming rays of encouragement or tear us down into heaps of defeat. If one word has the ability to wound or heal, then the Word of God certainly has the power to transform entire nations. I will never forget the day one word within the pages of scripture dramatically changed my life.
I was reading the book of Isaiah and came across a verse I never really noticed before. A particular word jumped out at me in a way I’d never previously considered. It was the word was splendor.
Awake, awake, Zion,
clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor,
Jerusalem, the holy city…Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck…
Tears filled my eyes as this truth sank deep into my soul. It were as if God sat down next to me and tenderly said,
My daughter, you have lived in captivity for too long. Rise up, sit enthroned, my precious one! Take off your attire of shame and defeat, and clothe yourself in my strength. Put on your garments of glittering splendor. You are royalty. You are redeemed, and you are free!
That day, I discovered that I am clothed with sparkling spiritual garments of beauty, brilliance, and glory. Before this discovery, I knew that God loved me–but that day I experienced His love like never before. I decided to investigate the meaning of the word splendor even further, and was blown away by what I found. As I studied the definition of splendor and the scriptures throughout the Bible containing this word, I saw a distinct theme.
God Himself is clothed in majesty and splendor, and has removed our tattered clothing of sin and shame. Through Christ, we are now clothed in His righteousness and holiness–in His garments of splendor. I was so blessed by this passage that I started garmentsofsplendor.com a year ago, and now walk in a newfound freedom I found in Christ.
This all occurred because of the power of one word.
One word in scripture has the power to radically transform lives. One word in scripture has the power to radically transform lives. Click To Tweet
I now implement word studies as a regular part of my Bible study and devotion time. A word study is a Bible study method that involves studying a particular word within the context of scripture.
Here are five steps to do your own word study to dive deeper into the life-changing truths of God’s word!
1. Choose a Word
If there is a word you come across while reading your Bible that you would like to study in more depth, write that word down. Many people during the new year like to choose one word to focus on. Words like grace. Hope. Favor. Flourish. There are so many sparkling jewels within scripture to discover!
2. Define the Word
We can often assume we understand the definitions of common words we hear in Christian circles, but there is great value in giving many of these words a second glance. These definitions give us greater understanding of particular passages in scripture, further illuminating God’s messages of love and hope. When you do a word study, write down the full definition of the word you are studying. Use sites like dictionary.com, and write down the synonyms that broaden your insight of the word.
I also like to use blueletterbible.org look up the words in the original Greek or Hebrew. I look up a Bible passage containing the word I am studying, and click on the box that says “tools”. It will give you the English words of each passage in either Greek or Hebrew. (Hebrew if it is an Old Testament passage and Greek if it is a New Testament passage). You can then click on the numbers next to the English word, and it will give you the definitions in Greek or Hebrew. The powerful definitions in the original languages of scripture can give us even greater depth into God’s Word! Here is a screenshot of a passage I looked up in the book of Proverbs.
3. Read the Word
Find other scriptures that contain the word you are studying. I like to go to biblegateway.com to find Bible passages. (For example, if you are doing a word study on the word grace, you can type in that word in the search bar, and you will receive a list of all the scriptures that contain that word.) Choose a few scriptures, and read them each in the full context of the surrounding passages. Choose your favorite translation, and dive in!
4. Write the Word
Write down at least one of the scriptures you have looked up in a journal or notebook. There is great power in writing God’s Word! There is something very meaningful about writing down scripture word-for-word that helps us slow down and digest each word at a time. If you like, highlight each time the word you are studying is mentioned in the passage. After writing down the scripture, feel free to write down any of your observations and reflections.
5. Pray the Word
This is one of my favorite parts of doing a word study. Based on the new insights you have learned doing your word study, write a prayer to God, praising Him and proclaiming His goodness! Praying the Word of God is a wonderful way to draw closer to the heart of God.
Have you done a word study lately? Do you have a word you are focusing on this year? I’d love to hear in the comments below! It’s time to allow God’s Word to penetrate our hearts and permeate our souls in greater depth on 2018. God’s Word is so powerful that we can even be transformed with one single word!
Here is a printable that you can download to do your own word study–just click on the images below!