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Word and Topic Studies

What is the value of a "word study" - especially when it's based on all the passages that contain that specific word (or group of words)? With modern Bible software, it is quite easy to generate such a list.

Normally, there will be a number of verses that are not very relevant to an issue being studied, since words can occur in many types of contexts. On the other hand, going through such a list exposes a person to passages that he might have otherwise overlooked.

A computer doesn't select only the "desirable" passages, but simply lists them all. Because of this, a word study may "force" a person to see passages that he might not want to see - those that go against what he believes. Discovering such "unwanted" passages might be a "painful" experience; and if the person is willing to accept what he finds (without explaining it away), his views and actions may have to change. But in the end, he will be more like the Lord and Savior who gave us the Word; and he will thank God for those changes.

  • The person's choice of words will also influence the value of his study. Though a computer may provide a complete list of verses that contain the word "the" (over 55,000 times, in about 23,200 verses in the NIV translation), not many people will benefit from it!
  • It is often helpful to look at words that are synonyms (since a concept can often be expressed in different ways), as well as words that are opposites (since, instead of opposing each other, they may actually complement each other).
  • A verse-by-verse study of a long passage, or an entire book of the Bible, may also be helpful in accomplishing the same changes in a person's life, if he is normally in the habit of looking only at certain passages that appeal to him.
  • More About Word Studies
About the word studies listed below
It might not be obvious why some of these studies were created. But (believe it or not!), there was some reason for each of them. Those with less-obvious reasons are included here, along with the others, just in case someone somewhere may find some value in them. (After all, it is God's Word. And he sometimes accomplishes good things in strange ways!)
Something from the realm of "trivia"
We study (and benefit from) specific words found in Scripture. But back when Scripture was being written, they did not use this study technique. Why? Because "words," as we know them, didn't exist! Back then, when they wrote things down, they wrote a long line of letters without breaks between groups of letters that we call "words." When they referred to the "Word" of God, it was in reference to the over-all "Message" of God... and they did study that! [If you are really interested in more about this, see: "The Word 'WORD' and the Issue of Manuscript Variations." The information in this article does have technical value, but for the "average" person, it doesn't really matter which way we view it.]

The Canaanites

Why was Israel told to destroy the Canaanites? This article looks at the issues that made it necessary to destroy them.

"Cannot" and "Impossible": "Things That Cannot Be Done; Things That Are Impossible"

People normally don't make word-studies out of words such as "cannot" or "impossible." But there are some very interesting verses that use these words. Some of the verses make demands on how we are to live... and most people would prefer to ignore them! (People who are genuine followers of Jesus can - and will - welcome what they say.)

"Fill With"

This is a short look at passages which mention being "filled with" something. It was made using the New International Version (in the days before I had a computer), and is probably only useable with that translation.  (Other translations will communicate the same things, but may use different words to do so.)

Forbearance, Tolerance - Having an Ability to Endure Something

A character quality that has value in many areas of life.

FOUNDATIONS - Having a Firm Foundation

The concept of "foundation" is used (both literally and symbolically) to teach many spiritual truths.

The word "FUN" in the Bible

The Bible has a lot to say about "fun" - and it is not always what people want to hear.

Image, Likeness, Similarity, etc.

This is a series of word studies that explore the relationship between God, Jesus Christ, and people. (Example: Both Jesus Christ and humans are said to be "in the image of God." But does this mean the same thing in each instance, or are there differences?) Some of the words in this study also lead us to a better understanding of the relationship of Jesus Christ to Moses and the Old Covenant.

Keys, Doors and Gates

These words are often used to teach us about salvation, life in Christ, and the coming judgment.

"Love Is..." - Some of its Characteristics (in 1 Corinthinas 13)

This is a page of links that take you to various word studies related to the characteristics of "love," as described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Musical Instruments of the Old Testament

A look at all the musical instruments mentioned in the Old Testament. In some instances, we can identify what they were; in other instances, we can only guess.

MYSTERY - New Testament "Mysteries" or "Secrets"

These are secrets that have been revealed to us by God. They cover a wide range of topics, such as God's plan, salvation, our relationship to Christ, etc.

"Predetermining" and "Foreknowing" - Aspects of God's Sovereignty

A word study based on some N.T. Greek words that are often translated with these two English words. This study was "inspired" by Acts 2:23, which applies both concepts to what happened to Jesus at his crucifixion. (A total of 4 words are examined.)

"Shadows," patterns, examples, etc.

These words are used to describe the relationship between Jesus Christ (and the New Covenant) and Moses (and the Old Covenant). They are part of a larger study that focuses on the relationship between God, Jesus Christ and people. My recommendation is that you first look at the "Introductory comments" page, and then the Summary/Conclusions page entitled, "PART 2 - Jesus Christ." (Sections "E" and "F") This will show you which of the word studies are most relevant.

To Strive / Struggle / Fight For Something

This word summarizes one of the dimensions of the Christian life. We strive not only against things such as sin and adversaries, but also for things such as spiritual growth, the gospel (good news) about Jesus, etc. (Many people want a life of ease and comfort... but that is not the way Scripture describes the life of a disciple of Jesus.

"Temperature Words" - Hot, Cold, Lukewarm, etc.

These words are directly or indirectly related to several studies on this website. For instance, some words translated as "hot" are related to the concepts of "jealousy" and "zeal." The idea of being "lukewarm" (as well as "hot" and "cold") is related to what Jesus says about the church at Laodicea (in Revelation 3). Since most of these concepts involve only a couple New Testament verses each, they are all grouped here.

What should I Wear? (A New Testament study about clothing and things that are "put on.")

This study does not focus merely on issues related to the "physical" clothes we may wear, but it shows how the concept of "putting on" clothes is used to illustrate some very important spiritual realities.


A comprehensive study on this concept, based on all passages in the New Testament that specifically mention God's will. This study is rather in-depth, and (because of the nature of the topic), explores the relationship between God's sovereignty and human responsibility. JUST A WARNING: Those who are interested in a superficial treatment of this topic will not be interested in this study. [Currently PDF only.]

WORTHY - Being Worthy or Deserving of Something

Based on the New Testament Greek word "axios."

The Bible says...

Every word of God is flawless. (Proverbs 30:5a)