Bible Study Tips: Using Strong’s Numbers
Olive Tree Bible Software’s BibleReader is probably the most sophisticated Bible study tool you can get for your mobile device, though I admit I’m a little biased. I would like to start a small series of posts on how using the rich feature set of BibleReader can enhance your Bible study. In this first installment, we will take a look at the importance of doing word studies for your Bible study, and how a Strong’s-tagged Bible from Olive Tree makes doing a word study easy, intuitive and enjoyable.
What is a word study? It is a study on a particular word in a passage you are reading, usually going back to the original language to find a richer, fuller meaning. The primary reason this is important for Bible study is that the Bible wasn’t written in English or any other language used today. Even modern Hebrew and Greek are different than the languages used to pen the Bible. Some of the difficulties that a word study can address are: being able to track and sort out one Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic word that is translated in multiple ways, multiple Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic words that are translated into the same word in English (or another modern language), and being able to find all the places a certain Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic word is used. The translators of the versions we all use to read the Bible in our own language have done an excellent job conveying the what the original languages say and mean. However, it is inevitable that some things get lost in the translation.
An example of this can be easily seen in the exchange between Jesus and Peter after the resurrection in John 21:15-17. Without a word study, it just appears that Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him and Peter responds three times that he does, though he is cut to the heart after the third time, likely a parallel to the thrice denial by Peter before the crucifixion. However, a word study on the word “love,” used seven times in the passage, reveals that two different Greek words are being used. Both “agapao” and “phileo” are translated with the word “love” in the passage, yet we lose the sense of what kind of love is being mentioned. Without this word study, we would never know to ask why Peter is using a different word than Jesus, why Jesus changes the word he uses in the third instance of the question, and if Jesus’ word change is why Peter is “cut to the heart” as the passage describes.
A Strong’s-tagged Bible from Olive Tree can greatly aid this type of study. I use it quite a bit in my own personal study and greatly enjoy the ease which the BibleReader brings to this method of study. Olive Tree offers a Strong’s-tagged version of the following Bible versions: KJV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, and Almeida Revista e Atualizada (Portuguese), with hopefully more to come! BibleReader offers you the ability to view Strong’s numbers in the text or to hide them. Hiding them makes each word with a Strong’s number a hyperlink to bring up the dictionary entry for the word in a pop-up with a simple tap. I prefer to hide mine to maintain an visually-pleasing reading experience. You can choose to show or hide the numbers in your settings under “Other Settings -> Show Strong’s Numbers.”
Whether you have chosen to show or hide your Strong’s numbers, a tap is all it takes to bring up the dictionary entry for that word. If you come to a longer dictionary entry, or would like to leave it up while you scroll, you can tap the window icon in the top right corner of the pop-up to open the dictionary, at the current entry, in either the split window (for those platforms that have this feature) or the main window.
As you begin to use the dictionary, you will become accustomed to seeing the code for each word at the beginning of the entry. One of the great features of doing a word study in an Olive Tree Strong’s-tagged Bible is the ability to create an Englishman’s Concordance on the fly. Using our example from above, if you were studying the word “love” and wanted to see all the places in the New Testament where “phileo” is used, no matter how it was translated, BibleReader lets you do it easily. Just take the Strong’s number for the word “phileo,” which is g5368 if you were wondering, and search your Strong’s-tagged Bible for “g5368.” The search result will be a list of every instance of that Strong’s number, no matter how it was translated. Pretty handy!
I hope this brief tutorial of how to enhance your Bible study with a Strong’s-tagged Bible from Olive Tree has been helpful. I hope to do more of these in the future.
-Steven C; Resource Conversion and Formatting