MAKING BIBLE STUDY EASIER
Study tools help to make Bible Study faster, more meaningful and easier. This page will explain how to use tools to find relevant verses and to look for the original meaning of Bible of words in their original language.
TOOL 1 - USING A CONCORDANCE
A kind of cataloging system
A Concordance is a list of all the words found in the Bible. It links a number to every word, and that number tells you what the original Greek (for the New Testament) or Hebrew word (for the Old Testament), was in the original text. Once we know that catalogue number we can use a Lexicon for the definition of the word. The other useful thing about a Concordance is that it shows us every time a word occurs in the Bible. So if you are doing a study on heaven, for example, a Concordance will show every verse in the Bible which contains that word.
While there are many free, online options to choose from, we will describe using Blue Letter Bible which combines all three study tools in one place. Feel free to use whatever tool suits you best. Or find a link to their site here:
Below is a screen shot of the website. The ovals are simply for us to highlight helpful buttons, they are as follows:
This is where we type in what we are looking for. For Example "John 3" will take us to the 3rd chapter of the gospel of John. Or "promise" will take us to every time that word appears in the Bible.
This shows the Bible version we are busy searching.
Select this button and it will bring up all the Strong's catalogue numbers found in the verses listed below. Note that this button only works when the King James Version (KJV) is being used.
This will take us to the definitions of the original Hebrew/Greek words being searched.
This button offers us access to more study tools related to the verse.
If we were to type the word 'covenant' into the Word/Verse field, we would get the search results shown in our first image, above. Notice how there are a total of 292 appearances of the word 'covenant' found in a total of 272 verses in the King James Version. Underneath that we will find every one of those 272 verses typed out in full. If we were to click on any of the verse numbers, for example Genesis 6:18, that would take us to chapter 6 of Genesis, where we could read the verse in context. If we were to click the "Tools" button instead, then the tools for Genesis 6:18 will pop up. The page will now look like the image below.
A section with 6 tabs will have popped up. We would like to point out 3 of these:
This is the tab that shows up by default first. As we can see in the screen capture above, it offers the root words for the entire verse. You will notice that in our example, the word translated into English as "my covenant", comes from the Hebrew root word "bĕriyth" and has the Strong's catalogue number H1285.
If we were to switch to the "Bibles" tab by clicking the orange tab button, this would bring up only the one verse in question (in this case Genesis 6:18), but it will show us how it has been translated in 15 different English Bibles.
Selecting the purple "Cross-Refs" tab will show us a list of verses with a related theme or message to the one in question. We will discuss this next.
Just these few simple steps opens up the world of Bible study to us. We are now be able to find hundreds of verses on any topic in the Bible, and discover the Strong's catalogue numbers which link them to their root words – all in a mere couple of minutes. We suggest you go to the site and play around until you become familiar and comfortable with using it. For a better explanation of how to do a study once you have found the verses, please refer to our study methods page.
A list of related verses
While the Concordance and Lexicon are based on a science, cross-references are more subjective. They are however an extremely helpful tool when trying to research a theme. They will take a verse and point you to other verses which discuss the same topic. The verse they reference may not use the same words but there will be a connection of theme.
To continue with our example above, if we were now to click on the purple "Cross-Refs" tab, it would bring up a list of related verses, as seen in the image below. In this case the app. has searched for verses related to the two words highlighted in red, namely "establish" and "come." It first lists the verses it has chosen and then displays the full typed-out verses below that.
Sometimes these are extremely helpful results, at other times it can be less so. That is why we suggest using more than one cross-referencing tool (maybe a few online applications and Bibles together). We also suggest you do a concordance search for any words which you think may be related to see what comes up.
A kind of dictionary
A Bible Lexicon is a dictionary of the meaning of ancient Hebrew and koine Greek words. In other words, they give us the definition of the words used in the Bible, as they meant to those who used them thousands of years ago.
To find the definition of a Hebrew or Greek word in our verse, we need to click on the "Tools" button to the left of the verse. Then with the blue "Interlinear" tab selected, we will see the Strong's catalogue numbers of all the words in that specific verse. Next to the word "covenant" (in this case), we will find the number H1285. If we click on that number, it will take us to the definition of the word.
With the Strong's number selected you will see the image shown below. This is the Lexicon portion of the website. You will notice that it tells us the various ways this word has been translated into English. 264 times it was translated as "covenant", 17 times as "league", once as "confederacy", and so forth.
Under that is all the possible meanings of the word. Note that not every meaning is appropriate in every context. It is a part of the Bible study process to discover which meaning is appropriate in the given situation. We describe more of how to use and interpret these definitions in Bible Study Method 2.
BLUE LETTER BIBLE
A Bible Study Recourse
Blue Letter Bible has a vast amount of other study helps, commentaries and tools available for anyone who wants to have a look. We suggest you either use this site or find one that you are comfortable using since it is an invaluable tool for Bible Study purposes and a huge time saver.