Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014

Over the years I've tried a variety of approaches to Bible study. I've studied the Hebrew names of God, gone through programs where you read the whole Bible in a year, and studied books intermixed with Scripture from authors like John Piper and Beth Moore. This year I've decided to do something different. Sadly, when I've gone through a "Bible in a year"program, I've made it simply a reading that I can check off my "To Do" list rather than an in depth study where I can learn and apply to my life. Using books have been spiritually challenging, but I also wonder if  I've become somewhat lazy--letting someone else guide my personal study, rather than putting in the spiritual elbow grease needed to gain a better understanding of the Scripture so that I can strive to walk more closely in Christ's footsteps.

This year I have decided to do a word study of 52 words (one a week) to gain a better understanding of the God-breathed Scripture. I've always been fascinated by language, and often the meaning of words used by Biblical authors get lost in translation of the Scripture from Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek into English. As an example, in John 21 after Christ's resurrection, Christ asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter replied that yes, he did love Christ. Jesus asked Peter three times, and Peter said yes three times. Christ had the ability to know Peter's sincerity, but lost in the English translation is the fact that Jesus and Peter were using two different Greek words for love. Jesus was using agape, meaning unconditional love, while Peter was using philos, meaning a friendly or brotherly love. Jesus was indicating a deeper, stronger kind of love, but this isn't as clear in the English translation.

Several months ago during a Wednesday night Bible study, one of the ministers at the congregation I'm a part of suggested a website that was extremely helpful for Bible study on multiple levels--the Blue Letter Bible (there is also a very nice app available for iphones). One of the nice features available on both the site and app is a the "LexiConc" a hybrid lexicon concordance that notes the word used in the original Scriptural language, its meaning, and Scriptures where that same word is used. I hope to use this excellent resource throughout 2014 to help me gain a better understanding of Scripture and apply it to my life. Here are the 52 words that I intend to study, in no particular order. They are simply words (or phrases) that I want to understand more completely:
confidence, peace, perseverance, works, humility, compassion, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, pride, self-control, self-discipline, joy, gluttony, sexual immorality, submit, persecution, hospitality, perfect, eager, sincere, fear, justice,purity, worry, wisdom, servant, repent, confess,authority, temptation, disciples, fellowship, character, hope, zeal, gentleness, rights, freedom, generosity, encourage, unity, ambition, contentment, greed, patience, thankful, devotion, jealousy, complain, mercy, and ministry. 
I intend, Lord willing, to write up a summary blog post every two weeks throughout 2014 about the words I've studied over the previous weeks. I certainly do not presume to have the deepest knowledge of Scripture, nor the most discerning mind, but I embark on this journey as prayerfully and humbly as I can. I want to ensure that I am open to the full truth of God's Word and that anything I share--be it face-to-face or in cyberspace-- is in line with the Scripture.

God bless!

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