“Word studies are useless” why and what prompted that, because a word only has value in the context the author is using it and worth if you understand the word in that context. Since I have always done word studies I thought I’d explore just a little with you.
A few examples:
What salvation and from whom or what, what type, kind, or color of shirt, millions of people have this name – which is meant, all or one. Another point: if a writer only uses a word once or twice does this really add more importance to that word, no (not by itself), it may be the only time/s the writer needed that word. The word Grandmother is used once and it is important only in the structure of its sentence and sentence within its surrounding text.
When researching a word in a gospel or letter of scripture start within that to understand how the author uses it in the sentence, in the paragraph, in the subject. Then see how that word is used by others in like matter. A single word can be used in different ways for different meanings (grave – for instance). It can also be unclear requiring one to rely on the words before and after along with a compilation of its usages by other authors in order to build an understanding.
An author can use a simple word that requires digging to learn the culture in eating habits or clothing styles – custom.
When you hear the phrase – the first time a word is used in scripture is important – remember every word in scripture is used the first time at some point. It isn't the word as much as it is the words forming meaning, context, and fluidity, forming a picture, a view of what God is saying and how he wants use to understand what he is saying.
We get to see the people, their thoughts and actions, what is worn and discarded, where they lived and how they buried loved ones all with a clash of cultures to investigate, a world of places to discover and all foreign in thinking, customs, and language.
I think over the years I have made all the mistakes and now and again repeat one or two. The biggest problem I see is people taking things out of context and/or including things into the context that isn't there or just plan not including all that is there.
Something I enjoy about being on this site is the large variety of shared knowledge and understanding.