Enjoying a good word study

Word studies are hard. And dry. And time-consuming. At least that’s how some people see it. Even the title makes me chortle. Who ever heard of such a thing as actually being fun? Well, everything we do for our kids’ education can be something we enjoy. If not all of it, then at least some part.

You may not know what a word study is. Or you may avoid them. Or you may do them and not know them by that name. Whatever category you fit in, I think you can see word studies not as a necessary evil, but as an important tool in your home educating process. Any home educator can implement word studies, no matter what approach or curriculum is in use. It’s a powerful way to bring a subject alive for teacher and student.

…Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom,  and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach…   Daniel 1:4 KJV

A word study is simple and straightforward. One way to do one is as follows:

  1. Choose a key word from your study in any subject.
  2. Define the word from Webster’s 1828 dictionary.
  3. Underline key words in the definition and look those up in the 1828.
  4. When you feel you have defined it sufficiently, begin to find the words you underlined in a Bible concordance. Write down any scripture you deem relevant to the words and definitions.
  5. Using all this information, write your own definition of the word.
  6. Using the information you have gathered, deduce the Biblical principle from the study.

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. Jer. 15:16 NIV

Now who wouldn’t like to do that? Seriously, there is something really exciting about learning something new about a word you assumed you knew the definition of. And it’s even more exciting to see what God has to say about that word. Or with that word.  Why do I want to do a word study?

  • To understand the English language better.
  • To have mastery over a topic/subject so I can teach it better.
  • To deepen my understanding.
  • To learn God’s thoughts on a matter.
  • To improve my scholarship.
  • To increase in wisdom.
  • To discover the Biblical principles on a matter.
  • As a springboard for a new/deeper study (AKA “rabbit trail”).

Some tips to enjoy your word study more:

  • Don’t do it when you are tired. Nothing is fun then.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Do it in chunks even.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment. Then expect amazing things to happen because God will show up right in the middle of your study.
  • Get your kids involved. Let them be your research assistants. Make it a family affair. (read: don’t be a martyr, studying alone for hours on end with frequent sighing and complaining.)
  • Don’t do them all the time. They are not necessary every week.
  • Don’t give independent word study assignments to young kids. This is a bad idea. When your kids are younger the word studies are for you to digest and give to them on their level. As they get older you can introduce the idea and start walking them through the process in small doses.
  • If you don’t like them, ask God to change your heart. Things you hate to do can actually become joyful times with the Lord. It is always delightful to spend time in His word.
  • Share what you learn with your spouse and anyone else who will listen. Don’t become obnoxious, but share what you learn liberally with others. They probably can use something you learned.
  • Reward yourself when you are done. (Ooooh, I hear M&M’s and a bubble bath calling me, but I digress…)
  • Invest in quality tools. A nice pen, clean paper, a Strong’s concordance will make you more willing to get the job done. And who doesn’t enjoy a nice writing pen?
  • Be willing to stop and enjoy what you are learning. Take a breath, sit back and Selah–think on these things.

Comments

  1. Good job Anna-Marie!
    Makes me want to go do one. :-)
    Actually, so far this week our word has been Nationalism, which is not in 1828, and doesn’t go much further in 1913. Thus had to turn to modern dictionary. Haven’t done Bible looking up on it yet.

    We are getting into all the -isms of the 20th Century, things Noah didn’t define, but surely knew under other names or at least descriptions. There is nothing new under the sun.

    I’ll post a link back at my L.E.D. blog.

  2. I’m really good at the rabbit trail part you mentioned. ;) I enjoy doing word studies, and I’m hoping it rubs off of my kids. Bug no longer groans when we pull out the Webster’s 1828, so we’re getting somewhere. :D

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