Writing a paper on a biblical word can feel overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to. We’ve outlined essential steps for writing a paper that demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of a Greek or Hebrew word—and its significance for biblical interpretation.
This overview is based on the Word Study (Original Languages) Workflow that is built right into Logos Bible Software.Learn more
Research Biblical Word Usage
Once you’ve chosen a word for your word study, you need to examine word usage. There are three steps you’ll need to take to accomplish this:
As Faithlife’s own Dr. Mark Ward often says, word studies are both a gold mine and a minefield. It’s so tempting to attribute too much significance to your interpretation of a biblical word. D. A. Carson’s classic resources will help you avoid the mines and get to the gold.Learn more
Consult Commentaries for Lemma Discussion
Commentaries often discuss key terms or important words in the context of the passage where they occur. Since these discussions are focused on a specific passage, they may provide useful, in-depth information on how the word is used in that passage.
You can find where commentaries discuss your word in one of two ways:
D. A. Carson called one volume in this series the best technical commentary on Ephesians. That’s high praise from the guy who literally wrote the book on avoiding exegetical fallacies! You could do worse than stocking your digital commentary shelf with this set. It’s filled to the brim with in-depth discussions on the original languages.Learn more
Compare Early Extrabiblical Sources
Ancient believers weren’t the only ones to write Greek and Hebrew. That’s why if you want to truly understand the significance of Greek and Hebrew words, you have to go outside the Bible to other contemporary literature. For example, comparing usages of your word in ancient Greek resources by the Apostlic Fathers will give you a much better sense of the word’s range of meanings.
This book has been hugely influential on a generation of scholars and Bible expositors. And if you’re taking your study of original languages seriously, it isn’t optional reading. It includes a helpful discussion on the benefits of comparing extrabiblical sources.Learn more
Record and Share Observations
Naturally, you’ll be recording notes and keeping track of your source material for when you build your bibliography. Some students prefer paper notes, while others rely on digital note apps for this step in the process. Logos comes with a built-in note-taking system that was created with studying the Bible in mind. Notes stick to the passage or word your studying so you always know where to find it. Logos will even build your bibliography for you.
A distinguished professor demystifies the process of writing exegetical papers. He breaks it all down into seven stages which you’ll find yourself following to again and again, whether you go into ministry or academia.Learn more
There’s lots more that goes into writing an effective paper on a biblical word. But if you follow the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to writing a paper that not only helps you better understand God’s Word—it also might just earn you an A, too.