With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful if I shared the basic ways I explore a word, whether it is my Word of the Year or any word I want to explore, study etc. I’ve been using this method since before the internet, with these books: a good dictionary, Strong’s Concordance, the Biblical Cyclopedic Index (like a concordance) that is in the KJV Bible I got when I was 12 years old, and various Bible translations. The internet has sped up the process immensely. What I love about this process is that it applies to whatever I am studying, seeking, or thinking about. I approach it like a tool that I can choose to use or not. It frees me up to try new things while providing a structure that is workable and consistently provides insight. I record my findings in my journal so I have a record and reference for my exploration.
Here is my process for exploring a word:
- I type the word in the internet search box in a new tab on my computer, and put “definition” after the word. Press return of click on the magnifying glass icon.
- I peruse through the definitions and write in my journal (and sometimes in a text document) the definitions, sources, and any thoughts i have about the word.
- I go to Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/ and in the “Enter key word, passage or topic” box, I type my word (or passage of Scripture if that is what I am exploring). I check the translation and if I want a different one, I click on the down arrow and then on any translation I prefer. Then I press enter/return or click on the magnifying glass icon.
- A list of verses come up that have the word and I look through them. Sometimes I revise my search if it is too big or if nothing comes up. I might switch translations too.
- When I find a Scripture that resonates, I click on it and then click “Add parallel” which is the far right, brownish red icon that looks like a page of the bible. Another translation of the same text will pop up next to the first one. By reading more than one version, I usually get further insight and it helps me personalize the text.
- I write the Scripture passage in my journal.
- If I want to go deeper at this point, I open a new tab and go to Blue Letter Bible https://www.blueletterbible.org/search.cfm and put the Scripture passage in the box at the top near the center which says, “verse or word(s).” Then I click on the version I want by clicking on the down arrow and choosing the version I want. Then I press enter/return on my computer.
- The verse will come up and “tools” will appear in a box. I click on “tools” and all the words in that verse will come up with the Strong’s Concordance definitions to click on to show the definitions in the original language.
- I write down any new things I learn about the word/s and the context.
- I ask God what He has to say to me about it and write anything that comes to mind down. It often takes the form of a prayer.
- I write all this down in my calendar journal I use throughout the year, so I can refer to it. From this process, I have other Scripture passages to look up as I feel led throughout the year.
- The process usually brings about a visual response, since that is a language I use often. I consider what lines and colors and imagery reflect and represent the word. I search on Pinterest, sometimes Google images to get inspiration. Then I close my computer, turn on inspirational music and bring my word for visual exploration with the Holy Spirit to the drawing board…