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Bible & Theology Research

Criteria for a Word Study

In Gordon D. Fee (New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors [Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1983], 32) identifies two criteria for what constitutes being worthy of a word study:

  1. That which needs explaing; that which is not obvious.
  2. Key words and wordings.

Significant Resources

See the sources mentioned under "For Those Who Don't Know Hebrew or Greek," as well as the following:

Guide: For a guide to New Testament (Greek) word studies, see Gordon Fee's New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1983), pp. 83-93. Mcuh in this guide will prove helpful for Old Testament word studies as well.


  • Ref PJ4833 .G48 1996 The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon
  • Ref BS 440 .N438 1996 New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis
  • Ref BS 440 .B5713 1977 Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament


  • Ref PA881 .B38 2000 A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature
  • Ref PA 881 .T4713 Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

A Guide for Those Who Don't Know Hebrew or Greek

  1. Use Goodrick and Kohlenberger’s The NIV Exhaustive Concordance (Ref BS 425 G62 1990) to look up the English word as it’s found in the NIV Bible. Under the English word you will find a list of all the occurrences of that word in the NIV Bible, in canonical order. To the right of each verse you’ll see a number. This is the G/K number as assigned by the editors. It is a new numbering system designed to replace the old Strong numbering system, which you’ll find in the old Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. G/K numbers from OT verses are for Hebrew words, and NT for Greek. In the back one can look up the number in either the Hebrew to English Index-Lexicon or Greek to English Index-Lexicon, as appropriate, for the Hebrew or Greek word behind the English one.
  2. To do a Hebrew word study, use the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Ref BS 440 T49). Now, to get from the G/K numbers to the TWOT numbers is tricky. In the very back of the NIV Exhaustive Concordance, there is an index of G/K numbers to Strong numbers. So you’ll start with a G/K number and convert it to a Strong number. In the very back of vol. 2 of the TWOT is an index of Strong to TWOT numbers. Once one has the TWOT number, one can find it numerically in either vol. 1 or 2 of TWOT.
  3. To do a Greek word study, simply use the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (ed. Colin Brown; Ref BS 2312 N48 1975; 3 vols.). This set is organized by the English word, so it is much easier to look up words in this resource.
  4. A Concordance can also be used to find other references to a specific word in Scripture. Just make sure the G/K numbers are the same for those verses, as different Greek and Hebrew words can be used for the same English translation.
  5. To research the intended meaning by the author, one should consult the commentaries, or appropriate Bible dictionaries. See "Bible and Theological Reference Tools" guide for information about such resources.