Stop Doing Word Studies

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Bert Perry's picture

Perhaps I'm defining word study a bit differently than the author, but I find a tremendous benefit in them, because there is a benefit to be had, IMO, for going back to root words, ranges of usage, and the like.  No doubt you need to narrow things down for the particular cultural milieu, but there are yet nuances in usage that can be discovered.

Probably the biggest way one can go astray in word studies is to read into the word's definitions--really the opposite of what you're supposed to do with a word study--and then proceed to ignore and downplay the other textual hints about what the word means in context. But that said, I love word studies because it gives us a great picture of how the ancients actually thought.  Things like "the word for anger is also the word for nose in Hebrew" (imagine a horse snorting to get the picture), how the root word of "shalom" shows up all kinds of unexpected places in the OT, and the like. 

We might say that the big danger of word studies is to use them in isolation while ignoring other facets of exegesis and hermeneutics.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.