Word Study

"examine the scriptures"

"The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."

-Acts 17:11

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

For this level of meditation, you will need a good concordance. If you have one in the back of your Bible, that's fine to start, but as you grow and seek deeper understanding, it won't be as comprehensive as you'll need. I personally use a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance that includes the Vine's dictionary, but there is a good ​​ selection for your need and price point. I also have an Interlinear Bible which is a word-for-word translation of the Hebrew and Greek. The Strong's reference numbers are included above the Hebrew and Greek words to make referencing easier. The speech-language pathologist in me loves seeing the differences in structure and wording of each language. 
     Read the verse.

     What is God saying in the verse?

     Pick a word that strikes you and research it.

     What is God saying with that word?

     Read the verse again, but with the new or

     expanded knowledge of the word study.

     What is God saying in the verse?

     Finally, what is God saying to me in the verse?

In my first book, ​​ The Paths We Walk: Trails , my four characters are each assigned a verse and complete a word study. Let's look at Anne's verse:

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
- 1 John 5:14 NKJV

In the book I selected confidence, will, and hears for her to study, but feel free to select your own words. (And if you have a different Bible translation, your version of the verse may have different English words.)  For this example, we'll study only the word, confidence. 

Using the questions in the box, let's begin...
What is God saying in this verse?
     We can be assured that God hears our prayers when we ask for things that are in his will. So, that means, if I pray for him to make me a millionare and that's not in his will or plan for my life, then that prayer will be ignored. (Notice we won't be getting into a discussion of how to know God's will ... that's a different topic!)

Now, since we've already chosen to study the word confidence, let's look it up.
     According to Strong's, confidence is from the Greek word, parrhesia, meaning the "absence of fear, cheerful courage, boldness."

So, now that we know the substance of the word, confidence, what is God saying with that word?
    Confidence the absence of one thing--fear, in this case--and the presence of others, courage and boldness. But don't miss the adjective here: cheerful. Our courage  should not be desperate, but positive, happy, filled with delight. 

Reread the verse with the new understanding of what John and the translators mean when they use the word, confidence.
   Now this is the confidence (the absence of fear, the cheerful courage and boldness) that we have in Him that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

In light of this new information, what is God saying in this verse?   
    God wants us to view our relationship with him in a postive and hopeful rather than negative or fearful light.

What is God saying to me in this verse? 
   My relationship with God should be without fear and with a light heart, courageous and bold. I am to be confident that I am loved and accepted by him (through salvation). 

And that revelation leads me into pondering what my relationship with him actually is and how I look at it ... Am I bold and courageous when I act because I believe that he loves me and has accepted me? Or do I follow and worship him out of fear or second-guessing my salvation and value to him? I would love to say that I have always been confident of his love and acceptance, but that is not true (and I've been a Christian since I was a child). I can say that I am now more secure in his love and acceptance than I've ever been. 

So you might ask, are there right and wrong answers in this practice? Yes and no. Obviously, there are when it comes to accurate translations of the words being studied. But the application will be individual and personal. God loves us individually and uniquely and what ministers to one person won't necessarily minister on the same level to another. But know and trust he will never contradict his word or himself. 

Now, this type of meditation requires much more committment in terms of time and focus. So, if you're new to Christian meditation and are doing great just carving a few minutes out of your day for the activity, I wouldn't start with the word study. Give yourself grace and something to grow into doing. There's no deadline. There's no requirement that you practice all types. It is about growing your peace and ultimately, your relationship with God. 

Ready to try it for yourself, but don't know where to begin? Check out the verses below:

Hebrews 11:1
Ephesians 4:1-3
Psalm 3:3-4
Psalm 27:13-14     

On Your Own