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preaching article 7 Ways to Do a BAD Word Study

7 Ways to Do a BAD Word Study

based on 7 ratings
Apr 26, 2013
Scripture: none
(Suggest Scripture)

My guess is, you’ve encountered some sort of word study in the last couple of months: a Bible study, a sermon, a commentary, a quip about agape love or a defense of a biblical viewpoint you’re not sure of. But sometimes it’s hard to wade through the muck and know when you’re being short-changed.

How can a lay person (or pastor) know whether a word study is legitimate? Here are some bad ways to do a word study, courtesy of Dr. Jennings of Gordon Conwell and Dr. Grant Osborne of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School:

1. The Root Word Fallacy

You’ve heard this: “The word ekklesia is a Greek word for the church that literally means 'called out ones.' ” Technically, this isn’t true. While combining the two root words (“called out from”) does indeed create something like “called out ones,” the truth is, the word ekklesia is never used that way in the New Testament or its contemporaries.

In fact, ekklesia was used to refer to a group of philosophers, mathematicians or any other kind of assembly in the Greco-Roman world. So unless we’re supposing that actors and gladiators were called to a holy lifestyle by assembling together, we can’t create a relationship between holiness and ekklesia necessarily.

While it’s true that the church is composed of “called out” ones — that’s not the particular point of this word. It just means “assembly” or “gathering.”

2. The Origin Fallacy

If a commentary ever drives you back 50–100 or more years to find the origin of a particular word, steer clear. 

Fifty years ago, “gay” meant something totally different in America than it does today. I would hope someone living 300 years from now wouldn’t pick up a newspaper and say, “Aha! The debate about gay marriage in the early 2000s is, in fact, a debate about whether marriage ought to be ‘happy.’ Just look at the word’s origin!”

The meaning of a word can change very quickly over time, so any legitimate word study won’t find much help by going back to the “origin” of a word, or even looking too far to the future.

3. The “Everything” Fallacy

John writes, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son.” The word “world,” or “kosmos,” is one of John’s favorites. But the word kosmos has a flexible meaning — it can mean man, mankind, humankind, world, universe or dirt.

So which meaning did John intend?

We can be sure of this: John did not intend all the meanings. In other words, John didn’t mean to say, “God so loved not just sinful mankind, but the entire creation, even the dirt we walk on!” No — John uses the word “kosmos” in a very particular way in all of his writing, and by knowing John’s writing we know that he meant “the sinful world,” not “all of the above.”

While certain Bible translations might lead you to believe that we can pick and choose any one among a number of alternate meanings (ahem … maybe just one translation) this is a recipe for a Bible that means whatever we want it to mean.

4. The Lexical Fallacy

While it might be tempting, pointing to the lexical definition of a Greek word doesn’t tell you what the word means in a particular context.

Consider this sentence: “I know a pilot who likes to fly, who went camping and put a fly over his tent, went fly fishing, then realized he was late for a plane and had to fly to an airport, where he realized he didn’t look very fly because his fly was undone, and just at that moment a fly landed on his nose (Thank you, Dr. Jennings!).”

There’s one word used seven times in seven different ways, and my guess is you had no question what I meant each time I used it. Words have meaning only in relationship to other words; for this reason, a lexicon can only tell you potential meaning, not actual meaning.

5. The Word-Argument Fallacy

No matter what anyone tells you, don’t suppose that the definition of one word can solve a theological argument.

As a general rule, resorting to the meaning of a particular word to make a theological point is unhelpful at best, destructive at worst. If I need to appeal to the meaning of a word in a certain verse to settle a theological debate, I’ve already lost.

Don’t get me wrong — sometimes word studies are great aids to good theology. But if my whole argument hinges on one flexible word, I’m probably off.

6. The Authorless Fallacy

Not every author speaks the same way. James doesn’t use the word “justify” the same way Paul uses the word “justify.”

By the same token, the same author usually speaks the same way. So when Jesus says to Peter, "Do you agape me?" or "Do you phileo me?" is he making a giant distinction between selfless love and brotherly love that can only be seen in the Greek? Actually, no. John uses the words phileo and agape interchangeably in his narrative to refer to Jesus’ love for his disciples, their love for them, etc. To make a credible case, we’re going to need to cite the same author’s use of the same word to justify its definition.

7. The “Webster’s Dictionary” Fallacy

First, Noah Webster didn’t write the Bible.

Second, taking a Greek word like “Dunamai” (I have power or authority) and saying, “This is where we get our word for 'Dynamite,' which Webster defines as 'a high explosive, originally consisting of nitroglycerin mixed with an absorbent substance, now with ammonium nitrate usually replacing the nitroglycerin,'" is just plain abusive. It's a backward way of defining a term. Just because we borrow from the Greek doesn’t mean there’s a univocal relationship between root words and modern terms.  

Nicholas McDonald is husband to lovely Brenna, father to Owen and Caleb, M.Div student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and youth/assistant teaching pastor at Carlisle Congregational Church. He graduated with his Bachelors in Communication from Olivet Nazarene University, studied literature and creative writing at Oxford University, and has spoken internationally at camps, youth retreats, graduations, etc. He blogs about writing, preaching and the arts at www.Scribblepreach.com, which has been featured on The Gospel Coalition, Knowlovelive.org and Challies.com. He currently resides in South Hamilton, MA.

Talk about it...

Robert Bravo avatar
Robert Bravo
0 days ago
Well put thanks...very enlightening. I will be sure to be careful.
Frankie Crum avatar
Frankie Crum
0 days ago
Well put, but now give me resources and better ways to do a BETTER word search!! I teach a small group and this really hit home as just last week I told my sg that I would start giving a word or two that we could encounter for a word search and true meaning. Thanks and appreciate your efforts!
Manuel Parcon avatar
Manuel Parcon
0 days ago
Great read. But I respectfully disagree with your point #2 and somehow disagree with your other points. Sure the meaning of a word can change quickly. But to understand the meaning of a verse, one must know the meaning of the word that was used to the writer and it's recipients. I am in the opinion that if I am reading a letter between husband and wife in the 18th Century, I must know their relationship, what's going in the relationship during the time the letter was written etc. But it is so important to me too to know how they use the words and what is the meaning of these words to them, both the writer and reader.
Stephen Belokur avatar
Stephen Belokur
0 days ago
Thank you for these insights. The only comment that I would humbly make is that the agape / phileo usage is significant in the one particular passage you chose as a demonstration for two reasons. One, it is the exact quotation of a conversation between our Lord and Peter so John did not randomly choose which words to insert and second, there is a definite pattern that is established in the conversation and the Lord actually alters His question in order to match Peter's response. This was definitely not a case of "well, I like both words so I'll just use them interchangeably in this case." There was clearly intent and purpose to the selection of words used by Jesus and Peter. Thank you for your helpful words of advice.
Rick Ross avatar
Rick Ross
0 days ago
Good tools. Actually, if John were directly quoting the conversation between Jesus and Peter, it would have been in Aramaic, not Greek.
Stephen Belokur avatar
Stephen Belokur
0 days ago
While it is true, of course, that the original conversation took place in Aramaic, John must have heard some tone or witnessed some emotion which caused him to choose those specific words in that case. And, was not the Holy Spirit guiding him when he wrote the passage and wrote those words? I have to believe so ...
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
I'm going to have to agree with the author and Rick. In my own study of John, as well as in discussions I've had with Bible scholars who know Greek, John does appear to use the two words interchangeably. That's one of the point the author is making: just because certain words are capable of communicating certain nuances, does not mean they ALWAYS communicate those nuances. Also, the fact that the Holy Spirit guided John as he wrote does not mean the Holy Spirit chose those exact words.
Zachary Bartels avatar
Zachary Bartels
0 days ago
Very, VERY good article! Please, SermonCentral, give us more from this author. (One minor gripe, which actually makes the authors point: "gay" meant effeminate long before it meant "happy," then it went back toward its original meaning.
Zachary Bartels avatar
Zachary Bartels
0 days ago
(And as to the phileo/agapao discussion, John could easily just be going for variety, i.e. a stylistic choice as he recounts an Aramaic conversation in koine Greek. We do this frequently in writing today to avoid awkard phrasings.)
Dean Johnson avatar
Dean Johnson
0 days ago
Good stuff! Thanks. I used to be enamored with word studies, until I realized that the Bible usually makes its arguments in paragraphs. I made many of the above mistakes along the way!
Stephen Belokur avatar
Stephen Belokur
0 days ago
I apologize. I just must be simple minded, but, I truly believe that John, with close guidance from the Holy Spirit, chose those particular forms of the word we translate as love for a particular reason. They are in such close proximity and carry such a (dis)continuity of thought and passion in the conversation that it is impossible for me to believe that they were randomly chosen for stylistic purposes or variety. If the Scripture says it in such a way, why would we want to deconstruct it to take away the meaning that seems to have been intentionally placed in the passage? What is the advantage of such a deconstruction? Who benefits? I guess we all have an opinion as to how closely the Holy Spirit guided the writers of the Scriptures. Once again, I apologize if for any reason I seemed to portray myself as some sort of authority for I am not. Grace and peace to you all as you serve our Savior.
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@Stephen, I appreciate your humility, and I don't think you're simple-minded at all. I do think, however, that sometimes we unintentionally read things into the text that are simply not there. Your question about why one would want to deconstruct a certain meaning from the text assumes that that certain meaning is already there, and it assumes it because in some contexts, those words communicate certain nuances. But like it has been stated, that is not always the case. The meaning that some assume is in that passage may not actually be there to deconstruct! As to your question, Who benefits from such a deconstruction, one could reply that the main concern should not be who benefits from a certain interpretation, but rather what does the text intend to communicate? Having said that, if there are people who do believe John used those words with the intention of highlight the nuances, I can respect that, as long as you base that interpretation on solid, contextual evidence. My personal study of John just hasn't yielded such evidence. It does appear to me that John uses the two words interchangeably throughout the book. Thank you for your contribution to the discussion! Have a great weekend!
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@Dean, good point. Word studies have their place in Bible study, of course. But they can easily be taken to an extreme. The precise definition of any word in a given passage is based primarily on evidence from the immediate context of that passage.
Robert Bravo avatar
Robert Bravo
0 days ago
Here is a thought...Why do we assume that John or any author of the gospels or any epistle chose their words carefully? As if they were thinking that people thousands of years later were going to be studying the deep meaning of each of these words? Sometimes I have seen preachers use word studies that seem uncover some a deep hidden meaning the author was trying to hide. I tend to lean more towards the fact that the other authors just wrote and used whatever words they thought of. Just like when I wrote this comment. I chose what I was trying to convey but I didn't carefully select the individual words I was using. Trust me I don't expect someone to do word studies with the words to figure out what I was trying to say. And I am kind of feeling that the authors of scripture didn't either. Just a thought..I could be wrong.
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@Robert, good thoughts, and it certainly does give perspective. Still, I don't think word studies are entirely without merit, and here's why: one significant difference between the comment you just posted and the Scriptures is that your comment was written in the 21st century English that (I'm assuming) most of us are fluent in; while the Scriptures were written in three languages which are no longer spoken and have not been spoken for centuries. It takes considerably less effort to understand what you intended to communicate (although, unless you're a regular reader of the comments sections on this site, you'd be surprised how often we misunderstand each other!). Reading and interpreting Scripture properly takes some more work. The proper role of word studies is not to give us precise meaning; that, we determine from the immediate context. The proper role of word studies is to give us a foundation of the broader historical context, to show us the different ways in which words were used in that culture. Having said that, I believe you make a good point. Certainly, one can hardly imagine Paul being too intentional with his words when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 1 that he was glad that he hadn't baptized any of them, and then changed his mind when he remembered that he HAD baptized some of them, and finally concluded that he didn't remember whom he had baptized, and that that wasn't his point anyway! On the other hand, sometimes Paul, as well as others, WAS more careful with his words. This is the reason why ultimately, context is king. The context should determine how careful the author is being with his words in a given text, as well as what he means by the words he uses.
Jb Bryant avatar
Jb Bryant
0 days ago
@Robert Bravo - You said "I have seen preachers use word studies." The word "seen" in English means "to observe with the eyes" and the word "preachers" in English means "people who communicate Bible lessons to crowds on Sunday." Therefore, Robert saying that he has "seen preachers do word studies" proves that Robert is deaf and receives his sermons using sign language. :-) I thought you would appreciate that illustration of your point (but don't misuse my choice of the word "illustration").
Japhe Jean Claude avatar
Japhe Jean Claude
0 days ago
I think one of the biggest problems we have in interpreting the ?Word? is that we base our interpretation on intellectual or educational knowledge. In other words we philosophy too much. We tend to agree with one and disagree with the other. If any of you believed that the ?word? is a revelation of God Himself to men, then you would know that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you what you need to know and communicate to other as you seek His guidance and direction. To me it is a matter of deep rooted personal relationship with God. No matter what one can think there is always some that are going to remain babes and would not be able to digest solid food. I honestly think if we were to focus too much on the context of a word when it was spoken, none of it would make sense today ? it is a totally different era. The truth is only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us what He meant then and how we can apply it in today?s world. God bless you all.
Tim Secrist avatar
Tim Secrist
0 days ago
Shouldn't this article be titled, "7 bad ways to do a word study?" I suspect most of us don't want to study bad words. Just asking.
Jb Bryant avatar
Jb Bryant
0 days ago
@ Tim Secrist - Hah! Good one. Can't believe it slipped by me! Misplaced modifier. Mrs. Rowe (7th grade) would be ashamed that I didn't catch it.
Sandra Leightner avatar
Sandra Leightner
0 days ago
Excellent and well stated
Robert Bravo avatar
Robert Bravo
0 days ago
@JB Bryant.. Great way of making my point better then I did...Great job...thanks...Very quick witted and observant..
John Grusendorf avatar
John Grusendorf
0 days ago
I most certainly agree with the premise of point 6 however it is the context of a conversation that helps us decide if a change in word usage has meaning not simply weather or not an author uses words interchangeably elsewhere. Peters emotional response to Christs change of wording would seem to indicate he understood a varied meaning. Peter after his denial could only see himself loving like a brother and I believe he saw that as a limiter upon his service. Christ was saying to Peter even if all you can do is love me like a brother serve me just the same. To read this any other way reduces Peters emotional response to feeling like he is being badgered (He was sad that Christ had to ask him three times. Really?) I believe Christ choose his words carefully and John recorded them accurately.
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@John, I, too agree that Christ chose his words carefully. But remember, this conversation between Jesus and Peter was not spoken in Greek, it was spoken--most likely--in Aramaic. Peter's emotional response was not due to "Christ's change of wording," because Christ did not "change" wording in the original conversation. Rather, the text clearly says that Peter's emotional response was "because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?'? (John 21:17). In other words, it was the repeated asking of the question, rather than a change of word in a later translation of their original conversation, that caused Peter to feel hurt. You asked, "He was sad that Christ had to ask him three times. Really?" Well, yes, that is what the text specifically says. Now, this does not necessarily mean that Paul felt badgered, or that Jesus was intending to badger him. There are other inferences one could legitimately make. But there is no reason to try to read into the words John used meanings that are not there and cannot be supported by the immediate context--and are even contradicted by the immediate context--, simply because one is uncomfortable by the possible implications of the context.
Jb Bryant avatar
Jb Bryant
0 days ago
@Bill Williams - I follow your logic except for one part of it. If Jesus used exactly the same word for love in John 21:17 as He did in vv.15-16, why would John (or whoever translated Aramaic into Greek) choose to use different words? It doesn't seem that the "Jesus didn't speak in Greek" observation explains this but the "Jesus used different words" approach does seem to. Can you explain further?
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@JB, you ask some good questions. Thank you for the opportunity to elaborate. A few thoughts: first, Jesus didn't speak Greek, whether or not that explains anything. That's just historical fact. Second, "Jesus used different words" doesn't explain anything, because he DIDN'T use different words, because, again, the conversation was most likely not in Greek. So, any explanation as to why different Greek words are used in John's account need to take into account these two facts--that the conversation was most likely not in Greek, and that Jesus therefore most likely did not use these two Greek words himself. So, the main question: why did John uses different Greek words for love in relating this conversation? I think Zachary gives the best likely answer in comment #9: John was likely doing it for the sake of variety. This is done often in writing today, so it is not something impossible to imagine. In my own study of John's Gospel, and from conversations I've had with Bible scholars who actually know Greek, it seems that he uses these two Greek words interchangeably. Sure, there are contexts in which the nuances of the words are intended to be communicated, but that is not always the case. And I don't see any evidence in the immediate context to indicate that it would be the case here.
Jb Bryant avatar
Jb Bryant
0 days ago
@Bill - Respectfully, I think you are making a logical jump because of a pre-formed conclusion. I understand Jesus didn't speak Greek. John was translating Aramaic into Greek. But doesn't it seem more likely that He chose two Greek words because He was translating two Aramaic words?
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@JB, you believe that I am "making a logical jump because of a pre-formed conclusion." Well, to be fair, the same could be said of yourself and of others who share your interpretation. So, why don't we let the text speak for itself? It is your position that John was translating two separate Aramaic words. Let me ask you this question, then: what do you believe those two separate Aramaic words were, and what evidence is there in the context to suggest that those separate Aramaic words were used? Because if you cannot answer that, then you cannot validate your position, and it would be you who is making the logical jump because of a pre-formed conclusion. However, if you CAN answer the question, I would be more than happy to examine the evidence you provide, and I have no problem whatsoever changing my mind if the evidence proves to be conclusive. After all, I have no vested interest either way. The only interest that I have is that we not read more into the Bible than is actually there. I look forward to your response. Blessings to you!
Jb Bryant avatar
Jb Bryant
0 days ago
@Bill - If I have in any way come across as argumentative, please forgive me. I'm not particularly passionate about interpreting this passage one way or another, and I certainly haven't given it much thought in the past. I only meant to make some observations. I'm just thinking it through as I go along. That said, it seems to me that if we were native Greek speakers reading the text for the first time and knew that the original words were spoken in Aramaic, our natural assumption would be that Jesus changed words on the third time in the Aramaic. Imagine you are eavesdropping on a conversation between my wife and me. She says "JB, do you adore me" and I say "I love you." Then she says again "JB do you adore me?" and I again say "Honey, I love you." And finally she says "JB, do you love me?" You would probably draw certain assumptions about the exchange - probably that JB is thick headed and that his wife made a concession on the last attempt. Now imagine the same conversation is really taking place in a Spanish-language movie between Pedro and Bonita and that you don't know any Spanish. The movie is sub-titled in English and you read the exchange above. When you saw the English subtitle choose a different word from Bonita on the third time, wouldn't your most reasonable assumption be that she used a different word the third time in Spanish?
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@JB, don't worry, you haven't come across as argumentative at all, and my comments have not been intended that way either. Whenever I feel someone is becoming argumentative, I'll point it out specifically and offer the person the chance to clarify. Now, back to your point. You ended your example by asking the question, "When you saw the English subtitle choose a different word from Bonita on the third time, wouldn't your most reasonable assumption be that she used a different word the third time in Spanish?" My answer is no, not if throughout the movie, I had seen those two different words used interchangeably. And that is what we see in the Gospel of John, as I have pointed out repeatedly. You need to stop focusing on that one specific story for a moment and look at the Gospel of John as a whole, to see how HE uses language, and specifically those two Greek words we translate as "love." Let me give you an example. John 11 relates the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. At the beginning of the story, the two sisters send a message in v. 3 that the one whom Jesus loved was ill. Later on, in v. 5, John confirms that Jesus loved Lazarus, along with his sisters Martha and Mary. Guess what? In those two verses, two different Greek words are used for the English word "love." They are "agapao" and "phileo"--the SAME two different words that appear in the conversation between Jesus and Peter in John 21. Are we to believe there is some deep meaning behind the use of those two different words in John 11? If there is, I have never heard anyone suggest it. It appears obvious that John is using these two words as synonyms. There are other examples. Do a word study on "love" in the Gospel of John, and you will see that all throughout, he uses the Greek words "agapao" and "phileo" interchangeably. That's the conclusion I reached (it wasn't pre-formed at all!) when I studied it for myself, and I don't even know Greek. I used a Bible study computer software that gives me the underlying Greek words behind the English words. And then I checked my study with some commentaries, as well as with my pastor, and with some other Bible scholars I happen to know who do know Greek. Only after I went through this process did I conclude that there was nothing to suggest that John used these two Greek words in John 21 to communicate a specific nuance. When I began this study, I had nothing to lose or to gain either way. I had no agenda, and no reason to "pre-form" any conclusions. I just wanted the text to speak for itself, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't reading anything into the text that wasn't there. Because what matters is not what one can "reasonably assume," but rather what one can legitimately infer from the evidence of the text. Now, I have given you specific evidence from the text for why I believe that your "reasonable assumption" would be wrong in this case. Like I said earlier, if you have specific evidence from the text to support your reasonable assumption, I would be more than happy to consider it. I hope you have a great day! Blessings to you!
Stephen Belokur avatar
Stephen Belokur
0 days ago
As I read through the Agape/Philio discussion I am bewildered by the seeming absence of any consideration being given to the influence of God Himself in the choice of the words used not just in this passage but throughout the Holy Scriptures. Am I archaic in believing that the Holy Spirit had a direct hand in the Written Word of God? Am I uneducated to think that the word choices were of utmost importance to God Himself and not left up to the stylistic tendencies of the human author? Was God just a ?prompter? nudging John or Peter or Paul or Luke? Did He just suggest that they write something, point them in the right direction and turn them loose? Or, was it more closely akin to the words of Christ Himself (or in some cases the words of an angel) in Revelation where John was instructed to write, ?To the angel of the church in ______ write ?? (ch 2, various verses) or ?do not write it down? (10:4) or ?Write this? (14:13, 19:9, 21:5). These are foundational questions for me. Please help me to understand. I know what I believe but is this line of thought totally absent from those preaching? Is the Bible the Word of God or the thoughts of man? Wrestling ?
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@Stephen, you bring up some excellent questions. Dennis Cocks and I are beginning to discuss the nature of language and of inspiration in the comments section under the article dealing with the Trinity that was published here a couple of weeks ago. You may be interested in joining the discussion, or at least listening in, if you'd like to delve into this in more detail. Dennis and I hold different views on this topic. Dennis consistently does an excellent job at supporting his positions, and I'd like to think I hold my own, as well. For the moment, though, here are some of my thoughts regarding the questions you asked. "Am I archaic in believing that the Holy Spirit had a direct hand in the Written Word of God?" Not at all. I believe most of us here, including myself, will affirm what the Bible says about itself, that it was inspired by God. Having said that, I would question the assumption that having a "direct hand" necessarily implies "direction dictation," which many do assume. I will speak more to that below. "Am I uneducated to think that the word choices were of utmost importance to God Himself and not left up to the stylistic tendencies of the human author?" I don't think you are uneducated, and I do agree that the word choices were of utmost importance to God himself, to the extent that those word choices accurately communicated what God intended to communicate. See, what many fail to recognize is that the purpose of words is to communicate meaning. Furthermore, not only is it possible to communicate the same meaning using different words, it happens all the time. I can say, "Look at that car," and you can say, "Behold that automobile," and we would both mean the exact same thing. No one would assume we meant different things because we used different words. And as far as stylistic tendencies of the human authors, they exist. There is no question about it. Look at the Gospels. Mark reads noticeably differently than Matthew or Luke, and John read significantly different than the latter three. If God was directly dictating to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, how do you account for the stylistic differences among them? How do you account for the stylistic difference among different authors even when they are writing in the same genre (e.g. Paul and James both writing epistles)? "Or, was it more closely akin to the words of Christ Himself (or in some cases the words of an angel) in Revelation where John was instructed to write, ?To the angel of the church in ______ write..." Yes, in many cases we read that an author was specifically instructed to write something down, and in those cases obviously we would agree that the words were dictated. However, that is not always the case. Consider the opening verses of Luke, for example. In it Luke clearly says that he wrote his account to Theophilus "after investigating everything carefully from the very first." If God was directly dictating to Luke, why would he need to investigate everything clearly? All he would've had to have done is simply sit down with ink and parchment and write down the specific words God placed in his mind. But he didn't do that. He had to do research, and the content of his Gospel is based on that research. Yes, the Holy Spirit guided him in this process, in order to ensure that he accurately communicated what God intended. But the process of inspiration did not exempt him from having to do research, as well as from using language to the best of his ability.
Bill Williams avatar
Bill Williams
0 days ago
@Stephen, Part 2: "Is the Bible the Word of God or the thoughts of man?" It is both the Word of God and the Thoughts of God. And this affirmation is not negated by the position that God did not dictate every specific word. You are right, these are foundational issues. I am glad that you are wrestling with this issue and that you are seeking understanding. Continue to do so, and the same Holy Spirit that inspired the Biblical authors will give you understanding as well. I hope my thoughts have been helpful. Have a wonderful day!

So, what did you think?


Thank you.