Even a little knowledge of Hebrew and Greek can enhance your understanding of the scriptures, bringing you closer to comprehending their meaning. There are online tools that offer the chance to dive into a deeper study and potentially learn the original scripture languages in the process.
John Dyer of the Dallas Theological Seminary has created a web app which is both powerful and easy to use. http://www.biblewebapp.com will deposit you right in the scriptures with two panes side-by-side showing the Bible in English and either Greek or Hebrew. The English edition may be changed to the KJV with the pull-down menu in the upper left. Navigating to other verses is easily done in the search box by typing out the reference, or selecting book-chapter-verse.
The amazing thing about the Bible Web App, is that as you hover your mouse over a verse on one side, the verse is dynamically highlighted in gray on both the English and the original language. At the same time, the specific word under your mouse is highlighted yellow along with the corresponding word it is translated from.
Notice the example in the image here. By hovering over the word “replenish” we see the Hebrew word ומלאו highlighted in the opposite panel. In the bottom left corner of the window a definition of the word will appear as well, telling us the word could also mean “fill”. Clicking on the words will bring the definition up in a pop-up window as well as an option to find all occurrences of the word. You’ll notice also in the definition is the Strong’s Number (a number beginning with G or H).
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
As many might not know what a Strong’s Number is, I should explain. Dr. James Strong was a New Jersey professor of theology in the mid 1800s. He set about listing every word in the King James Bible and cataloging the verses for each word–literally every word. You’ll find entries for the words “and”, “the”, “I”, etc. including lists of verses where each is contained. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, as it’s called, is an enormous book invaluably created before computers and published shortly before Dr. Strong died.
In each Strong’s entry, the Hebrew or Greek word is indicated by a Strong’s Number. The number is not a count of how many occurrences there are of the word, but rather, what order that word appears in the Hebrew-to-English and Greek-to-English dictionaries in the back of the Concordance. This is useful because, as with any translation from a foreign language, words don’t usually have a perfect correlation to English. For instance two different Hebrew words, like אָדָם and אִישׁ can both be translated into English as “man”, but it can be valuable to know which one is used. Dr. Strong could have listed אָדָם and אִישׁ but only those familiar with the order of the Hebrew or Greek alphabets would be able to look up the definitions. Instead אָדָם is H120 (H for Hebrew, and 120th word in the dictionary) and אִישׁ is H367.
Strong’s is also online on a number of websites. Possibly the best is blueletterbible.org because you can search by word in the BLB Searches box on the right hand side of the page or you can enter in a Strong’s Number. One of the best things about this site is audio pronunciation for each word. You can listen to the Hebrew word H120 by clicking play in the “Pronunciation” box.
During the early days of the Protestant Reformation people were martyred for giving others the ability to read the Bible in their own language. Eventually, with the aid of the printing press, the Bible was translated into nearly every language. Today we are in the midst of technological advances as revolutionary as the printing press. Computers and the internet now allow everyone access to the Bible’s original languages whether they’ve spent years studying Hebrew and Greek or not.