Investigation into the meaning or use of an individual word across a specific Biblical text or collection. This can include etymology, morphology, and usage as the word appears in text. This should not be exhaustive for all uses through the entire Bible or testament for frequently used words.
Word study questions on this site should only be asked about a particular text unit, not the whole Bible, for example: the use of a word within one book of the Bible, or the use of a word within the books of one author (such as Paul's letters.)
Particular "lexemes"1 are often of interest to interpreters of the Bible. Some major publishing projects represent this kind of interest. Some of the best known in English are:
- Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament
- Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
- Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament
- Theological Lexicon of the New Testament
- New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis
- New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis
Those interested in such studies should consult the following resources to avoid common pitfalls:
- Mark Strauss, "Word Studies" - a brief and reliable article outlining some methodological issues to be aware of in carrying out a "word study"
- Moisés Silva, Biblical Words and Their Meaning (2nd edition; Zondervan, 1995) - a full guide to biblical lexical semantics; also has a Google Books preview
- Although definitions of terms are often debated by professional linguists, for the purposes of this wiki, a "lexeme" may be understood as the "basic" form of a word: e.g., "ride" would be the "lexeme" which also represents "riding", "ridden", "rode", etc.