Even if you don’t know biblical Greek or Hebrew, you can do a lot with the original languages, if you understand some basic grammar and have a few good tools.
Most Bible Study software can help you parse a word. When you “parse” a word, you state its part of speech, form, and syntactical relationships in a sentence. Here’s how to parse a word using e-Sword (my favorite software).
Suppose you’re studying 1Corinthians 6:11 and you want to know the tense and form of the verbs “washed,” “sanctified” and justified.”
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. – 1Corinthians 6:11
Using e-Sword, if you haven’t already done so, install an interlinear Greek translation with Strong’s numbering system.
- Open e-Sword,
- select Download from the top menu
- select Bibles from the drop-down
- Scroll to the Greek section in the window that opens
- Download the Free “Greek NT Int+” (Greek New Testament Interlinear with Strong’s Numbers).
Once you have the Greek NT Int+ (or something equivalent), open it and navigate to 1Corinthians 6:11. In e-Sword, the words of each verse appear in a square. Each square contains:
- the word as it appears in the verse
- Strong’s number
- the parsing of the word
- the dictionary form of the word
- an English translation
Click on the parsed form and a window pops up with that explains the abbreviations.
This tells us that all the 3 verbs in 1Corinthians 6:11 are “V-API-2P” or Aorist, Passive, Indicative, 2nd Person Plural.
But remember grammar alone rarely decides an issue. You must always consider the how the word is used in context and the flow of thought.