I still remember the first purchase I made after becoming a Christian and buying a small, NKJV Pocket Bible with a snap flap—Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. I was beginning to hunger for God’s Word and wanted to take my Bible reading and studying a little deeper. But these were the days before Bible software and smartphones. Now this resource is available electronically and is that much easier to work with. This post will show you how Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary can aid your study of God’s Word by working through Colossians 3:16.

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.


Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary is great to use with any translation, whether it is just the English translation or tagged with Strong’s numbers. Since Vine’s includes Strong’s tagging, you can benefit from this system even if you don’t have a Strong’s tagged Bible. Let’s look at the verbs in Colossians 3:16.

The first verb is the word “dwell.” In the app, simply long tap on this word to highlight it. A window will open and present you with a number of options. Since we’re using Vine’s Dictionary, select Lookup and then Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary’s Article on Dwell.

Once the article is open, you’ll see all the Greek (or Hebrew) words translated as dwell, dwellers, or dwelling.

Colossians 3:16 is listed as a reference under the fourth entry, the Greek word ἐνοικέω.

Besides the definition that is provided here, you can learn more about this word by tapping the Strong’s number in parentheses. You can Search by the Strong’s number or Lookup articles on the Greek word in the rest of your Olive Tree Library.

Vine’s lists all of the usages of this word (designated by the paragraph symbol) and remarks that it is used “with a spiritual significance only” stressing a more metaphorical meaning. Hence, we see the word used to describe the indwelling of God, the Holy Spirit, faith, and sin. In the same way in which these shape us, we are to let Christ’s word live in us and shape our character.

Teaching and Admonishing

How is it that the word of Christ gets in us? The verse continues and describes several ways this happens. It happens through “teaching and admonishing one another.” Let’s see what Vine’s has to say about these words.

By looking at these definitions we can see that teaching and admonishing are two different but related types of instruction. Teaching seems to be a more positive approach, stressing instruction in the truths of the faith. Admonishing is a form of warning, perhaps by speaking of the consequences of sin. Interestingly, Paul pairs both these words together in Colossians 1:28 as a sort of summary of his apostolic vocation.


Whereas Paul sees the teaching and warning of his apostolic ministry coming through his preaching of Christ in 1:28, here the teaching and admonishing comes in the form of singing! This is one of the things that is so surprising about this verse. Here’s the Vine’s entry for singing.

In putting all this together we should see how this should transform our understanding of singing in the context of the corporate gathering. Rather than being just a private, individual experience, our singing is a form of teaching and admonishing one another. It is an expression of the grace we’ve received in our hearts, flowing out to the Lord and to one another. This is all the more reason to sing songs of faithful substance in our gatherings. As we sing, we teach and admonish, letting the word of Christ dwelling in us out to shape and transform our brothers and sisters.

Pick Up Your Copy of Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Today!

The adage says, “garbage in, garbage out” and applies to our lives in a variety of ways. Now that we’ve seen how God intends for his Word to shape us, we can see this principle at work in a much more positive way! Continue to unpack discoveries like this by getting yourself a copy of Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary from our store today!

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