A word study can be part of Bible study (using specialised books and resources) BUT by using basic resources (like a dictionary or thesaurus) you can meditate on scriptures.
This will help you gain a deeper understanding, as well as improve your Bible memorisation.
In the Word Emphasis Meditation technique, individual words were looked at and thought about. Synonyms to words were explored. This takes that one step further.
- Using a dictionary and/or thesaurus lookup meanings for the word you are thinking about or that appear in the scripture you are looking at.
- Do they extend your understanding of the word or passage?
- What would happen of a word meaning the opposite (an antonym) was put into part of the scripture?
I am the good shepherd.
- What is a shepherd?
- What does a good shepherd do?
- What would a bad shepherd do?
- Why doesn’t God act like a bad shepherd?
Jesus used negative pictures to contrast positive examples of God. In the example below the positive is in green and the negative in blue: John 10:11-13 Feel free to print out bits of scripture and high light them – it really helps meditation.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
He also used multiple pictures to compare and contrast
1“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. a They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Using a dictionary and the images given we can summarise:
Sheep know him
They hear his voice
Sheep are fed
|Sheep run away
Sheep are abandoned
Sheep are destroyed
Killed and robbed
|Gives not takes|
Protects not runs
Lays down his life, not a coward
Known, not a stranger
Cares, not indifferent like a hired hand
Goes ahead to prepare the way, doesn't leave them alone to be scattered
|Values own life above the sheep lives
Cowardly, runs and lets wolves destroy instead of defending with his life
Steals - is not known
Sneaks in rather than comes boldly through the gate, Illegitimate not the proper owner
Kills, robs and destroys rather than giving life
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