The Concentric Circles of a Good Bible Word Study

word study

When seeking to determine the contextual meaning of a biblical word, it’s helpful to see where that word is used elsewhere in Scripture. Often times where and how a word is used in other parts of the Bible shed light on its meaning in the passage we’re studying.

When discovering other occurrences of the word we want to think of concentric circles. For example, imagine we’re seeking to discern the contextual meaning of the Greek word for prayer in Philippians 1:4. As a part of our research we ask a series of concentric circle questions such as:

How is this word used in the:

  • Specific passage we’re studying?
  • Biblical book in which our passage is located?
  • Other writings by the same biblical author?
  • Other parts of the Old or New Testament?

So the concentric circles of word usage are:

  • Passage
  • Book
  • Author
  • Testament

Within Logos there’s a very simple feature that makes this investigation a piece of cake. Try this:

  • Open an interlinear English Bible such as the ESV to Philippians 1:4 (A)

word study

  • Right click on the word prayer (B)
  • Select from the right side of the Context menu the Greek lemma (C)
  • Select from the left side of the Context menu Bible Word Study (D)

word study

  • Expand the Translation section which shows how this Greek lemma is translated in the selected Bible in a designated portion of the New Testament (E)
  • Click the Greek lemma in the center of the ring to display the verses in which the lemma appears (F)

word study

  • Select the range drop down list at the top of the Guide (G) to designate the verse range on which the Translation section is based:
    • Type Phil in the Reference range box (H) and select Philippians (I) from the drop down list to see where the lemma is used only in this book (J)
      …..word study
      word study
    • Select Pauline Epistles (K) to see where this lemma is used in all of Paul’s letters (L)
      …..word study
       word study
    • Select New Testament (M) to see where this lemma is used throughout all the books in the New Testament (N)
      …..word studyword study

As the ring changes based on your verse-range selection, you can see how easy it is to narrow your research to just one of the concentric circles of word study!

Morris Proctor
 is a certified trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.

Written by
Morris Proctor

Morris Proctor (1961–2023) was a certified trainer for Logos Bible Software and founder of MP Seminars. Morris trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, and his team continues to provide many training materials.

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Written by Morris Proctor
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