While many have lamented the thought of having to learn the original languages in Bible college or seminary, I relished the idea. I saw it as an opportunity to unlock a new world of Bible study that would give me greater insight for Bible interpretation.

Although this dream did come true, I realized that my English Bible was usually enough. Pulling out a Greek or Hebrew Bible every single day just wasn’t going to happen. But then, there are still times where I need something in-between: a little more context than the English provides, but less overwhelming than opening up the BHS.

So, I got really good at fast, useful word. studies. Here’s how.

This post is written by one of our Content Engineers, LaRosa Johnson.

Find a Word for Bible Word Studies

A few years ago I was teaching through 1 Thessalonians at my church. As I was reading through the second chapter I encountered a phrase in verse 4 that made me pause, “we have been approved by God.” The word “approved” felt a bit awkward to me, so I decided to investigate. To get started, I switched from my standard ESV Bible to the ESV with Strong’s tagging.

I then tapped on “approved” in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, which gave me some quick information from the Strong’s dictionary. I see that I’m dealing with the Greek word δοκιμάζω (dokimazō), which is Strong’s number G1381. The glosses are helpful in showing me how the word is translated, but that doesn’t satisfy my curiosity.

How To Do A Word Study

Finding All Occurrences

The next step in the process is to check all the occurrences of this word in the New Testament. This provides a wider grasp for how dokimazō is translated and its meaning(s). The Olive Tree Bible App makes this step really easy. All I have to do is tap the “Search for g1381” button and it’ll search my ESV Strong’s Bible for every occurrence of dokimazō based on its Strong’s number.

What I found is that dokimazō has a lot to do with the idea of examining or testing something. The majority of the usage comes from Paul and refers to examining one’s self. That’s an interesting observation. And, in the case of 1 Thessalonians 2:4 it’s interesting to see how God is the one approving or examining Paul and his co-laborers for the work of ministry.

It’s also worth noting that dokimazō occurs twice in this verse, which I wouldn’t have noticed from the English alone, since the second instance is translated as “tests.” This data further improves my understanding of the original phrase in question. This wraps up step one of our Bible word study.

How To Do A Word Study

Digging Deeper with Lexicons and Dictionaries

At this point, I have a good grasp on the lexical range of dokimazō, at least how it’s used in the New Testament. But, I don’t want to leave my study at that because I may be missing something. What can I do to go further? Simple, I’ll go back and tap the “Lookup δοκιμάζω” button from my Strong’s popup & search my dictionaries.

Of the ones where I have hits, of particular interest to me is the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. There are two things I like about this dictionary: 1) the entry provides a list of related words that I may want to study further, and 2) it looks at the word’s usage and how it is theologically relevant, instead of just giving me a list of ways it can be translated into English.

How To Do A Word Study

After some reading, I find my understanding of dokimazō to be on par with what the dictionaries say. As it relates to our verse, not only does God test, like on the day of judgment (1 Cor. 3:13), but he is currently testing our hearts, specifically as it relates to our usefulness in ministry.

Get the Tools You Need

While it takes some time to read through all the material, a Bible word study is really that easy. Everything you need to do a Bible word study is at your fingertips! Many of the resources you need to perform a Bible word study are listed in our store.


  1. Peter Shaw Reply


    How do you search for a Greek word in particular voice?

    for example: How do search for καταλαμβανω in just the aorist?



    • LaRosa Johnson Reply

      Peter, the easiest way to do this in our app is to use one of our parsed texts (such as the NA28 or Interlinear resources). When you tap on a word, within the popup there is an option to “Search xxx in this form” or “Search all words in this form” which will achieve what you’re looking to do.

  2. Bryce Percival Reply

    When using the CWSB how can you tell when your using the hebrew dictionary. What process if at all possible then comparing greek with hebrew meanings.


    This much interesting, i would like to know and translate the word of God, for am the minister of the gospel, i have learnt something from your teaching thank you so much, i need more of the teaching sir.

    God bless you JOHN Lupenga

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