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Bible Word Study

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

New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis

The most up-to-date and thorough dictionary (or lexicon) devoted to NT words is the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE). This dictionary is available online for UNW students and faculty. It is a different kind of dictionary than most language dictionaries and lexicons. In particular, it focuses on the historical and theological meanings of a word or word-group used in the NT. The entries read more like word histories with interpretations of words in specific NT contexts. Each entry in the NIDNTTE typically follows this pattern:

  1. GL (the word's background in Greek literature before and outside the NT)
  2. JL (the word's background in Jewish literature before and contemporaneous with the NT)
  3. NT (the New Testament's usage of the word)

The NIDNTTE is ordered alphabetically by Greek letter. If you don't know the Greek language, you should learn it. But even if you don't know Greek, this dictionary is still an accessible and valuable resource for English readers. Here's how to find your word or word-group.

 

Step # One: Finding the Strong's number

  1. Find your passage on one of the following Bible study sites
    • These sites all look different, but they all display the Strong's number behind each word in the biblical text.
    • Use whichever site you like best:

Step # Two: Finding the G-K number

  1. Loop up the Strong's number to find the corresponding GK number

Step # Three: Find the entry for the word/word group in NIDNTTE

 

Instructions for Conducting a New 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 number in the NIV Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words (REF 225.3 N641 2000). This will give you a longer definition and etymology.

ESV Method:

  1. Find the passage and your word in the English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament: English Standard Version (REF 225.48 En36 2007).
  2. Locate the Strong's number of your word underneath the English word.
  3. Use the tables in Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance (pages 1607-1647) or the NIV Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words (pages 1514-1544) to find the G-K number that corresponds to the Strong's number.
  4. Look up the G-K number as you would in Step 4 under the NIV Method above.

Other Versions:

If you have a translation other than an NIV or ESV (many students use the NASB or KJV) try to select a concordance that corresponds to that version (e.g., NASB use Strongest NASB Exhaustive Concordance (REF 220.2 N42s). There are several others on the shelf, all of which use the Strong's numerical system. Be sure to choose one that uses your 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. Use the tables in Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance (pages 1607-1647) or the NIV Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words (pages 1514-1544) to find the G-K number that corresponds to the Strong's number.
  3. Then follow Step 4 under the NIV Method above.

NT Word Dictionaries