How I Explore my Word of the Year
I had someone send me a message this week saying she didn’t have a word for the year. The process left her feeling blank, sad. In writing posts like many written at this time of year, I want to say that having a specific word is not the most important thing. I believe with all my heart that God wants a relationship with each one of us and desires to speak, listen, and help us be all we are meant to be. It may or may not be in the form of a specific word for they year.
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…