Another important part of effective Bible study is to let the Bible’s usage of a word determine what that word means rather than allowing it to be defined by modern, secular, Hebrew, or Greek definitions. By its very nature the Bible is the word of God recorded in literature, therefore the words God used and the meanings they had when he gave them, have a major effect on what he intended to convey. Luckily we have many resources to help find what those terms of usage and definitions are. We will also need to take slightly different approaches to our etymology depending if we are reading from the Old or the New Testament. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the Jews strictly kept the words accurate from one copy to the next. The words used are from the original Hebrew Moses used. An exhaustive concordance will show the verses where each word is used and its intended usage, helping to ascertain its proper meaning. Some Hebrew words have been translated into English several different ways, providing different interpretations than originally designated. The New Testament differs in that it does not record the actual words spoken by the people or Jesus at the time. They were a multilingual society where Jesus probably spoke mostly in Aramahic, which is a Semitic language similar to the Hebrew used in Galilee and Judea. Apart from a few Aramahic words Jesus used that were recorded verbatim, we do not have his exact words because the New Testament was written in the prevailing Greek language. When completing a Greek word search we have to keep in mind that the Greek language originated from a pagan polytheistic culture. Greek words will only supply the essence of what is meant, all the various pagan beliefs associated with the word will not necessarily apply for the intended understanding. Not having the exact words of Jesus or the Apostles has led many to believe the overall prevailing message was more important than the exact words used in the New Testament. How can those who only heard about Jesus and never having read the Bible experience the love of God? Can you think of an Old Testament word that has taken on a new meaning from what God had originally intended? Will that change make a substantial difference to your beliefs? What is God’s desire for humans and the main message of Jesus?
1 Corinthians 2:10,16 Easy-to-Read Version
10 But God has shown us these things through the Spirit. The Spirit knows all things. The Spirit even knows the deep secrets of God. 16 As the Scriptures say, “Who can know what is on the Lord’s mind? Who is able to give him advice?” But we have been given Christ’s way of thinking.
John 3:15-17 Good News Translation
15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.