How To Use BibleHub To Grow In God’s Word
by: Patricia Tice | January 24, 2018
Have you ever wanted to be able to dig deep into a Bible passage and really learn more? It used to take years of study to be able to dig out the meaning in the original language. Today, online Bible tools can give you a good approximation of what the Greek or Hebrew words mean and you don’t have to spend years studying to get some really good information.
Let me introduce you to some tools that will help get you started. Let’s start with one of the verses that Pastor Chris Ogden used in the sermon this week: Ephesians 3:20.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
If you google Ephesians 3:20 or “Bible more than ask or think” you’re likely to get a result that includes several Bible sites. If you’re going to read the context of the verse or lots of different versions, BibleGateway.com is a great choice, but if you’re going to do some serious digging (and don’t have a BibleGateway paid membership), go straight to the BibleHub.com listing.
If you look up Ephesians 3:20 in Biblehub.com it will look something like this:
As you can see, first it pulls up about a dozen different versions for the verse. The ESV that Pastor David Uth likes is the third one down.
I like going through each one to get an idea of how lots of different scholars have translated the same verse. For instance, I see phrases like “immeasurably more,” “infinitely more,” “exceedingly above,” and “exceedingly abundantly above.”
Since we see it translated in lots of different ways, it looks like the translators are reaching for a word or phrase that’s hard to translate into English.
To get to the Greek, the next thing I click is (surprise) “Greek” in the pale blue menu bar above the verse. That pulls up a table that looks like this:
The first column is the Strong’s number. Dr. James Strong was a Biblical theologian who worked creating a concordance of the Bible—which is something like an index. When Strong published his concordance in 1890, he assigned a number to every Hebrew and Greek word used in the Bible. That was helpful at the time, but today it makes Bible searches so much easier for us than Dr. Strong could ever have imagined.
The second column shows an English “transliteration” of the word—basically it gives you an idea of how to pronounce the word. Of course, the actual Greek word comes next (in Greek), followed by a literal translation of the word into English.
The final column shows grammatical information for how that word is being used. If you really want to geek out, you can dig further into Greek and Hebrew Grammar here:
Since we’ve already seen that the translators are struggling to get a good word for “exceedingly above” let’s look at that one. Click on the transliteration, “hyperekperissou” (in blue), and you get:
That’s not bad—it shows me the 3 verses that use this word in exactly the same way grammatically. In the right hand column is a listing of the other ways that the base word (Strong’s Greek Number 5228) is used and the number of times it occurs in the Bible, 155 times. (Did you ever wonder how David knows how many times a word is used? The secret is out!!)
This is ok, but there’s an even better page. If you click on the word “Summary” in the menu bar, this comes up:
This is where the gold is!! At the top of the page you can see the number 5228 and the word, “huper.” That’s Strong’s number for the word “over, beyond” and the base form of the word. The Strong’s summary comes first on the left, showing the base definition for huper: “over, beyond.”
It also shows the connotation that it’s over and beyond on behalf of, for the sake of, or concerning someone. We can also see that it’s a preposition, and the short definition means in behalf of, above.
The Helps Word-Studies section adds another piece to the puzzle: It says that hyper (same as huper) means to extend benefit that reaches beyond the present situation, to my advantage, and has an interest in me for my betterment. Scrolling down gives me:
This shows me that it’s a primitive preposition—which means it doesn’t come from another set of words. Sometimes this section will show what base words were used to make up the word I’m studying. If we had looked at the word “nooumen” which is translated “think” we would find that this word comes from the word “nous”, which means the mind, understanding, or reason.
Back to our own word, huper, we find that in the NASB, forms of this word were translated into a bunch of other words, which fills in more of the potential meaning—words like concerning, exceed, more than, or sake.
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon gets into some more detail. This shows us different verses that contain different forms of that word. A bunch of this will look strange and not very helpful, but you can begin to see highlighted phrases as you scroll down like, “over, above, beyond, across” or even farther down, “for, i.e. for one’s safety, for one’s advantage or benefit,” and then later, “to be for one, i.e. to be on one’s side, to favor and further one’s cause.” Sometimes they’re followed by even more definitions and explanations. There’s even one in there that indicates “(more) than the brightness of the sun!”
The right hand column includes a handful of verses that use this word from multiple versions for each verse so you can get even closer to the idea that the author intended.
So what did we get from all of this? We found out that the idea the translators are struggling to get across is that God wants to do things for us over, above, and beyond—and He wants to do them for us, on our behalf, for our sake and on our side.
Yes, there is much more to understanding Greek and Hebrew, but this can be a huge help in understanding what God is trying to tell you.
Sometimes I’ll go through a verse that I want to unpack and write the English words down the center of a page in one color, and then write the Greek or Hebrew words out to the sides in a different color—drawing a line to it and circling the English word.
Then I’ll go through the Summary page and write down (in a third color) the words or phrases that jump out and help me understand the context and meaning of that word.
I always find that God is able to show me far more abundantly (huper) than I could ask or think, according to His power that is at work within me!