Learn to define biblical words in their context. Because the Bible was written in ancient languages from foreign cultures, our English translations can’t always capture the nuances of the original text. Dictionaries may improve our general understanding of words, but they rarely show the context of how the words were used. This collection of Hebrew and Greek word studies, previously published in Bible Study Magazine, shows you the steps taken by expert scholars to analyze important words.
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“Word studies aren’t inherently bad—they’ve just gotten a bad reputation from misuse, and they are challenging to do well. I enjoyed the challenge of contemplating a word’s meaning based not on what the dictionary said it meant but on careful review of how the word was used in context. A good word study consists of more than just a list of words from the dictionary—that’s just raw data. A good word study tells you what the word means in context.” (source)
“The names of God in Genesis emphasize God’s relationship with his people. They show us the connection between the sovereign creator in Genesis 1, and the redeemer who would keep his promises and deliver a nation in Exodus. They tell us who our God is.” (source)
“The biblical notion of hypocrisy doesn’t concern occasional failures. It refers to an ongoing deception in which people pretend to be something they are not and pretend to know God in a way that they do not.” (source)
“Elohim is actually the Hebrew plural of El ‘god’—so a few times it simply refers to ‘gods’ (e.g., Gen 31:30; 35:2, 4) and by extension can be used for divine beings or angels (e.g., Gen 6:2, 4; 23:6; 30:8).” (source)
John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus' Economy, a non-profit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. He also serves as a missionary with Resurrect Church Movement, the domestic division of Jesus' Economy dedicated to equipping U.S. churches to alleviate poverty and plant churches. John is the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary. He has authored or edited over 30 books, including The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, Cutting Ties with Darkness, and the daily devotional Connect the Testaments. John formerly served as founding publisher of Lexham Press and is the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. John speaks internationally on engaging the Bible, poverty, and spreading the gospel.