While many have lamented the thought of having to learn the original languages in Bible college or seminary, I relished the idea. I saw it as an opportunity to unlock a new world of Bible study that would give me greater insight for Bible interpretation. After several years of study I learned something very important: my English Bible was often enough. Yes, there were times when knowing Greek and Hebrew proved useful; but, for the most part, I found Bible translators had done a great job in conveying the thoughts of the Bible’s authors. If true, that begs the question. How do I use the original languages in my Bible study? Usually I’m doing word studies, which I want to show you how to do in Bible+.
Find a Word to Study
A few years ago I taught through 1 Thessalonians at my church. In 1 Thessalonians 2:4 I came across a phrase that made me want to dig deeper. In the Complete Word Study Bible the phrase reads as “we were allowed of God.” The word “allowed” felt a bit awkward to me, so I decided to investigate.
With the CWSB open, I tapped on “allowed” in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, which gave me some quick information from the CWSB Dictionary. I see that I’m dealing with the Greek word δοκιμάζω (dokimazō), which is Strong’s number G1381. Here I get the parsing, and as I scroll down the pop-up I get a definition. This information is useful, but that doesn’t satisfy my curiosity.
Finding All Occurrences
The next step in the process is to check all the occurrences of this word in the New Testament. This provides a wider grasp for how dokimazō is translated and its meaning(s). Bible+ makes this step really easy. All I have to do is tap the “Search for g1381” button and it’ll search the CWSB for every occurrence of dokimazō based on its Strong’s number.
What I found is that dokimazō has a lot to do with the idea of examining or testing something. The majority of the usage comes from Paul and refers to examining one’s self. That’s an interesting observation. And, in the case of 1 Thessalonians 2:4 it’s interesting to see how God is the one approving or examining Paul and his co-laborers for the work of ministry.
It’s also worth noting that dokimazō occurs twice in this verse, which I wouldn’t have noticed from the English alone, since the second instance is translated as “trieth.” This data further improves my understanding of the original phrase in question.
Digging Deeper with Lexicons and Dictionaries
At this point, I have a good grasp on the lexical range of dokimazō, at least how it’s used in the New Testament. But, I don’t want to leave my study at that because I may be missing something. What can I do to go further? Simple, I’ll go back and tap the “Lookup δοκιμάζω” button from my Strong’s popup & search my dictionaries. Of the ones where I have hits, of particular interest to me is Vine’s Dictionary. There are two things I like about this dictionary: 1) the entry is based on the English word, so I can get a quick glance at any related original language words, and 2) it links to other ways the word is translated into English and provides some theological discussion on the word’s use.
After some reading, I find my understanding of dokimazō to be on par with what the dictionaries say. As it relates to our verse, not only does God test, like on the day of judgment (1 Cor. 3:13), but he is currently testing our hearts, specifically as it relates to our usefulness in ministry.
Get the Resources You Need
While it takes some time to read through all the material, a word study is really that easy with Bible+. Everything you need to do a word study is at your fingertips! Many of the resources you need to perform a word study, such as the two used above, are currently discounted in our current sale! Pick them up today while they’re at these low prices!