I am excited for tomorrow and a new year of learning from God’s Word!
As we begin, please note under “link index” in the sidebar, the helpful list of Bible study tools – even wonderful free Bible study software which works just as well as the expensive programs!
God has embedded amazing teaching tools within His Word, which I will be referring to often in the Bible study posts. God is a great communicator and He wants to be understood! He has given us teaching tools to help us “get” the message He is trying to convey. The most important teaching tool has to be the Hebrew language itself, and how it has been uniquely designed by God to reveal His heart, and the exact meaning of His Words.
Ancient Hebrew is the original language, the language in which God spoke, “Let there be light!” and there was light; the language that God gave to Adam; the language from which all other languages have been derived.
One problem with modern English as a vehicle to convey meaning, is that abstract concepts, such as faith, are defined by other abstract concepts. To have faith is to believe. But what does to believe mean? It is another abstract concept, an ethereal something that is difficult to grasp.
Hebrew, however, is a concrete language. Its letters came from pictographs, symbols for concrete objects which anyone can look out of their window and see and experience and understand — even five- year- olds. Its letters stand for things like houses, families, water, sons, baskets, heads, oxen, seeds.
For example, the Hebrew word for “unity” – an abstract concept – comes from a three- letter root. The three letters are aleph – chet – dalet (almost all Hebrew words come from three- letter roots that together tell the story of its essential meaning. Three letters to provide a single essential meaning. Even the nature of the Hebrew language reveals theological truths. It is just so fascinating!)
Remember that the letters in Hebrew have their own meanings, because they began as pictographs depicting something concrete. The aleph, in ancient Hebrew, was the pictograph of an ox. The meaning of aleph is strong, leader, or first (the ox is in front of the plow).
The next letter in “unity” is the chet. This is the pictograph of a fence, so it can also mean outside, divide, or half. The third letter is a dalet, the pictograph of a door, so it can also mean, to move (through a doorway), to hang (as a curtain in a doorway), or to enter.
The concrete meaning, therefore, of unity, the meaning that even five- year- olds could understand, when looking at aleph – chet – dalet, is “to strongly fence the door.” This is the concrete, original, pure meaning of the word “unity” in Hebrew.
Let’s say you are in a theater and a fire breaks out. What is the first thing you do? Head for the door. EXIT! But what if you are in a theater, and a fire breaks out, and there is no door? Then your only option is to put out the fire. Many many people, when a fire breaks out in their marriage, head for the exit! But the Scriptures reveal to us from Hebrew, that the man and his wife are united — i.e., the door has been strongly fenced. So what do you do when a fire breaks out when the door is strongly fenced? You put out the fire!
That is one example of how a Hebrew three- letter root tells a story which allows us to concretely grasp the abstract meanings of God’s original intent. It is really beautiful! (I learned this example from Living Word Pictures by Dr. Frank Seekins, which my Hebrew teacher, Brad Scott of Wildbranch Ministry, recommended.)
The Blue Letter Bible (from the Bible study tools link) contains the Strong’s Concordance definitions with the three- letter roots of Hebrew words.