Concentric Circles of Word Study

When seeking to determine the contextual meaning of a biblical word, it’s helpful to see where that word is used elsewhere in Scripture. Often times where and how a word is used in other parts of the Bible shed light on its meaning in the passage we’re studying.

When discovering other occurrences of the word we want to think of concentric circles. For example, imagine we’re seeking to discern the contextual meaning of the Greek word for prayer in Philippians 1:4. As a part of our research we ask a series of concentric circle questions such as:

How is this word used in the:

  • Specific passage we’re studying?
  • Biblical book in which our passage is located?
  • Other writings by the same biblical author?
  • Other parts of the Old or New Testament?

So the concentric circles of word usage are:

  • Passage
  • Book
  • Author
  • Testament

Within Logos there’s a very simple feature that makes this investigation a piece of cake. Or for you baseball fans, a can of corn. Try this:

  • Open an interlinear English Bible such as the ESV to Philippians 1:4 (A)


  • Right click on the word prayer (B)
  • Select from the right side of the Context menu the Greek lemma (C)
  • Select from the left side of the Context menu Bible Word Study (D)


  • Expand the Translation section which shows how this Greek lemma is translated in the selected Bible in a designated portion of the New Testament (E)
  • Click the Greek lemma in the center of the ring to display the verses in which the lemma appears (F)


  • Select the range drop down list at the top of the Guide (G) to designate the verse range on which the Translation section is based:
    • Type Phil in the Reference range box (H) and select Philippians (I) from the drop down list to see where the lemma is used only in this book (J)
    • Select Pauline Epistles (K) to see where this lemma is used in all of Paul’s letters (L)
      6_1M 7_1M
    • Select New Testament (M) to see where this lemma is used throughout all the books in the New Testament (N)

As the ring changes based on your verse range selection, you can see how easy it is to narrow your research to just one of the concentric circles of word study!

For an in-depth explanation of Bible Word Study and the other guides available in Logos, check out the Logos 6 Training Manual Volumes 1 & 2 Bundle or consider attending a live Camp Logos seminar in Tyler, TX or Columbia, MD.   

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