Survey the passage under study for important words: words
which are theme words, words which are unusual or rare
words, words which are theological words, and words on which
problems determined earlier hinge.
List how these words are translated in various translations.
Look up the meaning of these words in 1) Bible dictionaries,
2) Vine's and Mounce's expository dictionaries, and 3) Greek and Hebrew
lexicons. Do not waste time looking up words in English
dictionaries unless you do not know the meaning of English
words found in the translations. Do not stop with Bible
dictionaries. At least look up the meaning in Vine's. If
you have ability in the original languages, also look up the
meanings in lexicons. If you have trouble finding the form,
use either an analytical lexicon which will give you the
root, or an index to the lexicon (available for BAG and
BDB). The best lexicon for New Testament studies is the one
by Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-[Danker] (Danker from the 2nd
revised edition on; BAG/BAGD). The best lexicons for Old Testament
studies are Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDB) and Koehler & Baumgartner (KB). The BDB is also
available keyed to the numbers in the small Strong's
Look up the words in question in a theological dictionary. The
best for the New Testament is Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament; the best for the Old Testament is Theological
Dictionary of the Old Testament (a large work still in
Use a concordance to study the word in question in its
biblical contexts. Try to determine the range of meaning
that the word has and its specific meaning in each passage.
In English, use an analytical concordance such as Young's
or a complete concordance with original language
numbers such as Strong's.
Next, use a cross language concordance. In the New
Testament, use a Greek-English concordance such as the
Englishman's Greek Concordance. In the Old Testament,
use a Hebrew-English concordance such as the
Englishman's Hebrew Concordance.
If you can, use an original language concordance, such as
Moulton-Gegen, Aland, or Friberg for the New Testament
If your passage is in the New Testament, use a
concordance to the Septuagint to find out how the word
was used in the Greek Old Testament.