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Bible Word Study

This guide will walk you through the process of doing a word study for various Bible classes.

Instructions for Conducting an Old Testament Word Study

NIV Method

  1. Find the verse and word in an NIV tranlsation. NOTE: the NIV was significantly updated in 2011. Any concordances, dictionaries, or bible tools that are based on the NIV published before 2011 will use the 1984 NIV text (e.g., "sinful nature" in the 1984 NIV is now "flesh" in the 2011 NIV, and there may be other changes in wording).
  2. Look up the word/verse in the Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance (REF 220.2 G626e 1999). 
  3. Find the G-K (Goodrick-Kohlenberger) number on the right side of the word/verse.
  4. Look up the G-K number in the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (REF 221.447 N42v). This will give you a longer definition and etymology.

Other Translations

If you have a translation other than NIV, use one of the other concordances, such as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (REF 220.2 St8). There are several others on the shelf, all of which use the Strong's numerical system. Be careful to look on the cover or inside the book to identify the book using the correct translation.

  1. Look up the word and find the Strong's number on the right.
  2. Now you have to convert that number to a G-K (Goodrick-Kohlenberger) number. 
  3. One place to do this is at the back of the Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance (REF 220.2 G626e).  There are 4 tables at the back; choose one of the tables for Strong's to G-K. (The other two tables go from G-K to Strong's, so you won't need those.)
  4. Look up the G-K number in the Dictionary of OT Theology and Exegesis (5 vols., REF 221.3 N42v). This will give you a longer definition and etymology.

Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

Sometimes students have to look up the word in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT; REF 221.44 T342). This book has its own numbering system, distinct from Strong's or GK. You can find a conversion chart for Strong's to TWOT in the back of the book.

Using the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (TDOT)

Accessing the TDOT

Accessing the articles in the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (TDOT) is tricky if you don't know Hebrew. However, there are a few ways you can use to access this resource. Note that the TDOT does not contain every Hebrew word in the Old Testament, rather it only has a selection of theologically important words.

Accessing the TDOT via the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT):

  • Find the word in TWOT using the method described above.
  • Sometimes the TWOT will have a "Bibliography" section at the end of the entry.
    • And sometimes the corresponding TDOT entry is listed
    • e.g., "TDOT, I, pp. 466-69." which means it's in volume 1, page 466-469.
  • Note that the TWOT only cites volumes 1-3 of TDOT, so the TWOT does not link you to latter volumes.

 

Accessing the TDOT via the Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (TLOT):

  • Locate the Strong's number of the word (see above).
  • Find the Strong's number in the index on pages 1469-1483 in volume 3 of TLOT.
    • Note: TLOT only contains select Hebrew words that are theologically important. It does not have an entry for every Strong's number.
  • Go to the page number in TLOT that corresponds with the Strong's number.
  • The TLOT entry will list where the word can be found in other dictionaries and lexicons.
    • e.g., "S 117; BDB 12a; HALOT 1:13b; TDOT 1:73-74; TWOT 28b; NIDOTTE 129"
    • In the example, the TDOT is listed.
    • Note that the TLOT only lists volumes 1-8 of TDOT, so the TLOT does not link you to latter volumes.

Hebrew Word Study Dictionaries/Lexicons