- Religion and Philosophy
How to Find Out What God Thinks About Anything
If you have a Bible, a dictionary (preferably Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language), a notebook, pen, and a bit of time and patience, then you have all you need to know the Lord's thoughts on practically any subject.
Read on to learn how to employ these simple tools to study those ideas and concepts that have had you puzzled!
Identify What You Want to Study
First, identify a subject you would like to know more about. You can take a broad topic, such as faith, love, grace, mercy, or hope, or you can choose a narrower i.e, more specific subject, such as marriage, music, or wealth. Decide what concept or idea you would most like to learn about in depth. For the purpose of this "how to" illustration, I am going to study the word, rage.
Look Up Your Word in the Dictionary
Take your word and look it up in Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. Choose the definition that most closely approximates the aspect of the word you wish to study. Use whichever definitions seem appropriate to your interest, be they nouns, verbs or adjectives. (This is your study!) Write the word and its definition(s) in your notebook.
For rage, the Webster's 1828 Dictionary has this definition for the noun: "Violent anger accompanied with furious words, gestures or agitation; anger excited to fury. Passion sometimes rises to rage." In my notebook, I wrote what seemed relevant to me: "Violent anger excited to fury." For the verb, rage, Webster's had this: "To be furious with anger; to be exasperated to fury; to be violently agitated with passion." I wrote this entire definition in my notebook as it all seemed entirely relevant.
Underline Words in Definition With Meaning
Next, in your notebook, underline the nouns and verbs in the definition(s) you recorded. For rage, I underlined: violent, anger, excited, fury, furious, exasperated, agitated, passion.
Look Up Relevant Definition Words in a Concordance
Now, take each of the above words, and, one by one, look them up in a concordance, which is a book that lists every word in the Bible, and every incidence of that word, as well as references to the Hebrew and Greek words from which it was translated, (should you choose to take your study that far). The most widely known and used concordance in the world is the King James Version of Strong's Concordance.
Find Concordance Specified Verses in the Bible
Look up each of your underlined words in the concordance, and read those verses in the Bible, recording the ones that seem relevant to you in your notebook. You need to use a version of the Bible that matches your concordance to locate the Scripture references, but once you have done so, you can then read them in any version of the Bible you prefer. Looking up the first of my underlined words, violent, gave me ten references in Strong's, 2 Sam. 2:49, Psalm 7:16, Psalm 18:48, etc. I can now read these, meditate upon them, and copy the ones that seem the most significant to me in my notebook. From there, I can go to my next underlined word, and do the same.
Identify Scripture Keywords
After looking up all of your underlined words, take a look at the Scriptures you copied as being the most meaningful to the heart of your study. What are the key words in those Scriptures? Take those words, now, underline them, and look them up in the Webster's 1828 dictionary. Essentially, you now start all over, only you are a layer deeper into the significance and sense of the word.
Gradually, the depth of meaning from God's word as regards the topic you chose will be imparted to you.
This is a method of Bible study is deceptively simple. Don't be surprised if you yourself engrossed in a study that goes on for years.
May you be blessed in your quest for knowledge!