If you desire to dig deep beneath the surface of Scripture, Bible Gateway Plus offers you a unique way to do this. With Bible dictionaries, such as Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, you can gain greater insight into the meaning of biblical words to enhance your Bible study—even if you have little to no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew!
Having a good understanding of the roots of a particular word in the Bible and how it’s used throughout can light your way to understanding deeper concepts in Scripture. You can perform word studies in English on its own, but this won’t give you a complete picture of certain words because the same Greek (or Hebrew) word can be translated to multiple different English words; and the same English word may translate to different Greek or Hebrew words. What you want to do is observe a text with a trusted resource that sheds light on its original language.
For our example, let’s use the Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary notes in the Bible Gateway Plus sidebar to walk through the uses of the word love in the New Testament. Here’s a basic introduction to the way this resource is set up in Bible Gateway Plus:
First, look up a passage. For our purposes, let’s navigate to 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Next, open the Bible Gateway Plus sidebar resource. You’ll find Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary under the Dictionaries section of the Study This sidebar. Clicking the title reveals four word study choices when you’ve searched Bible Gateway for the verse, 1 Corinthians 13:13. If you have your Bible Gateway Plus account open (you can sign up for a free 30-day trial here and walk through this now), click or tap on the link that reads “Love” as the image below depicts.
Opening this link in Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary brings you to a lengthy article organized into two main sections. At the top is the Old Testament section, but, for the purposes of this particular study, let’s scroll down to where you see the New Testament section.
Below that, the explanation of the word being defined is gathered into groups of word types—in this case, Verb and Noun sub-headers.
Take some time to walk through the way the concept of “love” is explained in its cultural and original language roots. You might be surprised to discover, for instance, how the secular Greeks employed the word. Meditate on how the authors of the Bible have changed your understanding of the word “love” by its definition as the foremost character of God.
As you study the word “love” in the Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary study notes, open and read each of the verse references, and see how “love” is woven into the fabric of the Bible. This particular word study serves as a sort of guide to the Gospel message, culminating in the following note:
Toward the end of Mounce’s New Testament tour of the word “love,” you’ll come finally to its specific use in our starting verse: 1 Corinthians 13:13.
Further examination of 1 Cor. 13 reveals an inseparable relationship between faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13), yet the apostle affirms the supremacy of love.
You can read the full word study essay and couple it with other references in Bible Gateway Plus by signing up here.
Remember, the main purpose and value of Bible study is to help deepen our relationship with the Lord and to be more and more transformed into the likeness of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). God utilizes the Scriptures to lead us to salvation, train us for righteousness, and equip us to do good works (2 Tim. 3:15-17).