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How to Do a Word Study in the Bible

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Friends – I’m so excited to kick of this word study with you!  Thanks so much for joining on the journey and learning alongside me.  Before we begin, I’ll give you the breakdown of HOW I approached this.  How I wrangled the beast of a very broad topic to create an outline for this month.

1. Hone in on the word.

The word we’re starting with is REST.  And to keep it simple, I’m ignoring both “rested” and “resting”.  Truth be told, it would easier to look at either of those because the instances of them is much smaller than simply “rest”.  And really, that’s just a matter of semantics.  But I do know that I don’t want to learn about past-tense rested.  I want to know how to rest here.  How to rest NOW.  And I cut out the other words because they don’t line up with the ultimate curiosity that sparked what the Bible has to say about rest.

2. Do the tedious research.

There might be a better way of doing this, but this is my chosen way.  I sat down with my computer open to www.blueletterbible.org, and typed in the word “rest” (click on the URL link to see the results).  The search results provided 275 results in 265 verses.  Yikes.  It was time to push up my sleeves and start clicking through each reference individually.  And yes, it took a couple of hours.  But it’s worth putting in the time.  Trust me.

3.  Eliminate certain contexts.

If there is a particular theme you’re looking for, it’s ok to eliminate certain contexts from the list.  In this case, I narrowed down 275 results to 134 simply by ignoring numerical references to “rest” (i.e. and the rest of the people, or the rest of the acts of the king, etc.)

4.  Make a list.

Next comes the tedious work.  I began clicking through each verse and writing down the Hebrew or Greek word that was used for rest.  And then I wrote tally marks next to the words that were repeated.  This is what I discovered, by the numbers:

25 / 10

There are 25 Hebrew words and 10 Greek words for rest in the KJV.  We went from 275 results in 265 verses to a much more manageable 35, that we could easily spend the entire year digging into and chasing down the glorious rabbit trails.  But for this purpose, we’re only going to look at a handful.

5.  Make a plan.

I know that the first time God says something is important.  And I also know that the last time He says something is just as important.  So, for the purpose of this study, I noted both of those instances.  And I also marked verses that are more popular.  The ones that you can recite after reading the first couple of words because they’re tried and true and solid.  Well-known and well-loved.  Finally, I made note of the most popular Hebrew and Greek words.  The ones that were used the most in Scripture.

Now, the next question: what can you expect from this study?

Since the nature of this study is on rest, please know that this will not be a daily thing.  I plan to teach a handful of times per week across this blog, Instagram, and the newsletter (make sure you’re signed up so you don’t miss any of it!).  Check back in a couple of days.  And in the meantime, use the link above (in the tedious research section) to start digging in on your own!

Happy Monday!

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