Friday, September 05, 2008

Word Study: Radiant

I promised earlier this week I'd give an example of a word study, so here we are. Say you were studying Psalm 34, and verse 5 really stuck out to you - "Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."

You might notice a couple of different possibilities for word study just in that one verse, but the word "radiant" is an obvious choice. By using E-Sword or BlueLetterBible.org, we find out that the Hebrew word is "nahar" (Strong's #5102). We also find out that it appears only five other times in the Old Testament:
  • Isaiah 2:2 - "all the nations shall flow to it"
  • Isaiah 60:5 - "Then you shall see and be radiant"
  • Jeremiah 31:12 - "they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD"
  • Jeremiah 51:44 - "The nations shall no longer flow to him"
  • Micah 4:1 - "peoples shall flow to it"
As you look at each of those verses and their surrounding context, you start to see two distinct meanings:
  1. some sort of motion toward ("flow" to or "stream" to)
  2. a joyous look

Clearly, the second definition seems to fit in Psalm 34:5. But we haven't merely defined a word. If you look at all of Isaiah 60, Israel is "radiant" because her people who were far off have returned. Verse 5 goes on to say "your heart shall thrill and exult..." So we've gained a picture of a mother who is reunited with children who were lost or far away--imagine the look on her face.

And in Jeremiah 31, it's the people whom God has redeemed that are "radiant"--they "come and sing aloud" about God's goodness to them. So I think a reasonable application would be that when we look away from ourselves and look to God for our salvation, we will be radiant: overjoyed at what He has accomplished on the cross; thrilled at His goodness to us and full of songs of praise to Him.

2 comments:

zz said...

I love the very sound of the word "radiant," don't you? I'm enjoying your little lessons here, Amy.

The Chinlund Family said...

I've never done a word study before, but your example makes me want to! Have you ever thought about teaching? You do a wonderful job :)