Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.This is such a little verse with such large implications. How does a person who is not a Bible scholar learn more about a verse like this. Here are some of the things I use to get a deeper understanding of a verse. The sky is the limit. There are so many resources with the advent of the internet and the computer. I will share some of the things I have used to get you started.
- Let me introduce you to a free Bible study program on the internet. The basic program is free. If you want to add translations and Bible helps that are under copyright, you will need to pay for those parts but overall, what you get for free is more than enough to get started. The down-loadable basic program can be found at http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html. It takes a bit of time to download all the free stuff offered, but you won't regret it if you love to study the Bible.
- Once the program is downloaded on your computer, you are ready to go. I love one Bible version in particular. It is the "King James Version with Strong's Numbers." The King James version of the Bible is an old version that many times does not have copyright restrictions. It is written in old English which means the average person does not speak like this anymore BUT there is a way to understand it when it is combined with the "Strong's Numbers." NOTE: There are many versions or translations of the Bible because the words in Hebrew and Greek translate differently in English and many times the original text has a far greater meaning than just one word in English. It is sometimes helpful to use various translations like New International Version (NIV), Amplified Version (AMP), New Living Translation (NLT), to name just a few.
- What in the world are "Strong's Numbers." These are reference numbers that come from a book named "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible." Concordance is simply a dictionary of word meanings.
- When you use this book, you must make sure that it is compatible with the version of the Bible that you are using or it can become very confusing very quickly. So if you are using a King James Version of the Bible make sure you are using a "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible" that is keyed to the King James Version.
- The Bible is basically written in two different languages. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the New Testament is written in Greek. This concordance shows what a word looks like in the original language (Hebrew or Greek) depending if the word appears in the Old Testament (first half of the Bible or the New Testament (the last half of the Bible).
- When you use the above listed version ("King James Version with Strong's Numbers") it is all there for you instead of having to get out a huge book and figure out how to use it. All you have to do is put your mouse cursor on the green numbers and you instantly have a box pop up with all the information on the word just before the number. So let's get started on what words are defined in the above verse.
A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): - X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.
How to read the above definition:
- (H1288) is the reference number that if you had the book in front of you you would be using to look up the word. "H" stands for Hebrew and you need to go to the Hebrew section of the concordance. If the number had a "G" in front of it, you would go to the Greek section of the concordance and then find the number in that section to find the meaning of the word you are looking for. Lucky for you you already get it all when you get it on line.
- (בּרך) this is how the word looks in the Hebrew Language. The beauty of this reference book is that you don't have to know Hebrew in order to look the word up. When you use this reference in e-sword, you will see different lettering. This is because my computer translated this into the modern Hebrew letters. The e-sword version uses an older form of the Hebrew letters. This is another fascinating subject for another article.
- (bârak) this is how the Hebrew word would look in English so that you can get an idea what the word would look like if you do not understand the Hebrew squiggles.
- (baw-rak') this is how you would say this word in English. I bet you didn't know that you would be able to speak Hebrew, but here it is.
- Now comes the main part of the whole thing that you may have wanted to know from the beginning. What in the world does this word mean. So here is the definition. NOTE: Because I have my own copy of the Concordance (Dictionary) I can look up what all the "X" symbols are in the definition next to the words. So here is the definition of the "X" - (multiplication) denotes a rendering in the Authorized Version that results from an idiom peculiar to the Hebrew. Now I'm stuck. What in the world is the "Authorized Version" and "idiom." (FIRST) I googled "meaning of 'authorized version'" and got a definition from http://www.answers.com/topic/king-james-version-of-the-bible The definition is: "n. (n. stands for noun which is just a word that is a person, place, or thing) An English translation of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek published in 1611 under the auspices of James I. Also called Authorized Version, King James Version." So Authorized Version is just another way of saying "King James Version" of the Bible in this case. (SECOND) I googled "meaning of 'idiom'" and got a definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiom This is important because an idiom can be something like "kick the bucket" in English. When you know English and read that you know it is talking about death and not literally kicking a bucket. Now you can begin to see how the Bible can be mistranslated.
Does this mean that you have to go through all this every time you read the Bible. Absolutely not! The Bible was meant to be read and enjoyed but if you get a feeling as you ask God to show you what His Word means, that something isn't right or doesn't seem to be logical, here is a way that you can get a basic idea on a verse on your own. It's just a beginning but it will help you to not be lead down a wrong path just because the person speaking on the subject seems to know what they are saying.