Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: dispensational | Seminary: none

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A review of grammar… assembling words together
to communicate ideas and concepts…

The principles of communication vary little among the different languages of the world. How the words are put together form the means by which ideas are conveyed. Let's examine some of those principles.

What is the form of the word or term?

The form of a word describes how it is put together. Examples:

1) "Just," is an adjective, which means, "righteous, honorable and fair in dealing or action, valid within the law."

2) "Justify" is a verb, which means, "To show or prove valid, absolve, to declare free of blame."

WARNING: Root words can help reveal the meaning of a word; however, few words retain their original meaning. In other words, this is a useful tool but not a definitive one. Example: "atone", which means, "to make amends for one’s sin", is derived from "at" "one", which means, "in agreement." "At one God" is the equivalent phrase to "atone."

What is the function of the word or term?

The function of a word pertains to its use in a phrase; this specifically refers to the nouns (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and prepositions) and verbs (verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, and interjections). Examples:

1) Verbs indicate the action, mood, or tense of nouns or pronouns. Notice the following moods and tenses.

-Please pray. He is praying. Did he pray? He prayed. Pray!

2) Modifiers such as Adjectives modify a noun or pronoun and reveal a quality such as "forgiving God (Ps 99:8)" or Adverbs modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb and reveal a quality such as "pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17)."

3) Prepositions used with a noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb, reveals a relationship such "by, from, with, over, against, according, etc."

-"…pray to your Father who is in secret,… (Matt 6:6)" conveys a relationship or direction.

-"…pray at all times… (Eph 6:18)" conveys a relationship of time.

-"…, but in everything by prayer… (Phil 4:6)" conveys a relationship of method.

-"…joyful in My house of prayer (Isa 56:7)" conveys a relationship of origin.

4) Conjunctions are used to connect words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. Often overlooked, these can be road signs that tell you what you must observe to understand the word, term, or phrase in context.

-"but" indicates a contrast and tells you read the phrase or sentence before it.

-"and" or "also" indicates an addition.

-"because" or "for" indicates a reason.

-"as" indicates a correlation.

-"therefore" or "then" or "consequently" indicates a result or conclusion.

-"when" or "until" indicates time.

-"that" indicates purpose.

Example of conjunctions: Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, (what does this mean?)

But you shall meditate on it day and night, (but-contrast)

so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; (so that-purpose)

for then you make your way prosperous, (for then-result)

and then you will have success (and-addition).

5) Interjections are exclamatory words that can stand on their own such as "why? Oh! etc."

It is clear that the principles of grammar affect the meaning of words; however, instead of focusing on the form or function of the word as this note summarized, understand how the word, term, or phrase is used within the context of the sentence. Challenging at first, the discipline of improving your observation skills will become a reflex with practice and result in a more satisfying Bible study.


1. Look for relationships of the word or term.

2. Look for a pattern. Anything repeated? A sequence or order? A cause and effect? A question and an answer?

For more information on a grammatical analysis in Bible study, read Roy Zuck’s book, Basic Bible Interpretation.

Return to Systematic Study: Skill Builder

Identify the Parts of Speech

Related subject:

Topical Index: Bible>Hermeneutics

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