Morphology, in regards to linguistics, is the the study of the internal structure of words. As a pastor, teacher, or student of God’s Word, word study is an important aspect of Bible study.
What did the author mean when he wrote the words? To find out and understand a text, studying the language, context, author, and audience of the human writers of the Bible can be extremely helpful. (Keep in mind that no translation will ever be perfect, because no two languages are perfectly identical.) While it might seem overwhelming, WORDsearch can help you get started with the Morphology Explorer window.
The Morph Explorer is a powerful window that allows you to query the original Greek of the Bible. Clicking any word in the “Root” list will show you every occurrence of that word in the Bible, regardless of how the word may be conjugated and regardless of how it might be translated in English. Clicking a word in the Form list allows you to query specific grammar parsings, and you have further control using the list boxes at the bottom of the window.
Note: The Morph Explorer feature only works if you have the UBS Greek NT 4th Edition with Friberg Morphology unlocked and installed. Without this book, the feature will not be available and the icon in the main toolbar will also be grayed out.
In order to use the Morph Explorer, you need to open up a Interlinear Bible. For this example, we’ll use the UBS4 Greek Bible with Friberg morphology. First, open it to any given verse. Here, we’ll open it to John 1:1.
When we find a word we’re interested in, (here we’ll study the Greek word for “beginning”) right click on it, and from the menu select “Explore morphology of “αρχή.
To go into even more detail, you can see any occurrence of a specific word form, like a part of speech, gender, person, number, case, or type. For your specific word, it will grey out parts of speech that are not available, but the ones that are in black type, you can click on to see the results. Here, I’ve narrowed my results down to a few specific parts of speech and have seven different results (down from 55 when it was all occurrences above.)
Another quick tip? The display menu allows you to control your search results depending on if you want to see just the Bible text, the original text, or the original text + the gloss. Choose different options to see which you like best.
Do you use the Morph Explorer? Share with us what you’ve learned in the comments!