Monday, February 1, 2010


Here's something most of you may not know about me...I began to study Hebrew, mostly Biblical Hebrew, a few years ago (a slow, and easy...just for me pace). I think the language is so beautiful and I especially wanted to understand the Old Testament, or the Torah, Prophets and Psalms in a deeper way. I have also loved learning to write Hebrew because it is simply beautiful-like art! Something else that I have loved as I discovered Hebrew is the word pictures...for example...
my name means "grace"... "the Hebrew word for grace or favor is chen. The word picture created is to fence or protect life (like a fence that surrounds a garden.)" (Hebrew Word Pictures-How Does The Hebrew Alphabet Reveal Prophetic Truths? ... a book I have really enjoyed). Isn't it cool that my name means the very work I do every day as a mother to 11?

(picture taken in London when Kalyn and I were on our way to Uganda...I had fun editing this.)
Soooo, Jace (our oldest) called today and asked me to look up faith and grace in Hebrew for something he is doing. I loved it so much that I must share what I found today for faith. One thing that has been insightful to me is that so many Hebrew words are really "verbs"... action words. Our English translated words can easily miss the weight and meaning in the original text. And I believe that faith is one of those.
Emunah (say "eh-moo-NAH") is the Hebrew word for faith (sorry, I can't show you the word in Hebrew...I haven't installed the language to my computer, because, after all, I can't even read it without serious help - LOL). Two sites that I love to visit for my studies are Ancient Hebrew Research Center and Hebrew for Christians.
There are several Hebrew words for faith depending on their "action" or meaning, but I chose emunah because in Romans 1:17, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 "the righteous shall live by his faith." The Hebrew word faith in Habakkuk 2:4 in it's orginal context is emunah, basically meaning "faithfulness, trust."

"The context of Habakkuk 2:4 helps us to understand the characteristics of the type of faith Paul is referring to in Romans 1:17. Habakkuk 2:4 contrasts the proud, self-reliant attitudes of the unrighteous ancient pagan Chaldeans to those who have trusting reliant faith in God in their hearts which manifests in the fruit of faithfulness to Him in their daily living." (from Hebrew Words for Faith).

The Hebrew word emunah, derived from the Hebrew root is 'aman, which means to nourish, to make firm and strong.

So my "English translation to understand better" might be "because I believe (have faith) I will live by my emunah (faithfulness or loyality), persevering in steadfastness, not wavering or hesitating in my commitment toward God's will for my life. Because I trust in the finished work of Jesus as my sin bearer before the Father, I can live today with emunah that the LORD will sustain me through my life...this emunah will hold me firm and secure each day.
My Bible notes under Romans 1:17 says "The life of faith is all-encompassing, it is by faith that we initially receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, BUT it is also by faith (emunah) that we live our lives each day."
I'm no "expert" in Hebrew study, but I enjoy it and I hope that you enjoyed this as much as I did.


  1. Shonni - this was neat to read and learn that you are studying Hebrew. Scott and I both grew up Jewish and just now are understanding all that it meant to live during the OT times and how the NT has brought it all to life and fulfillment.

    Emunah - through Habbakuk is a great example - one which Scott teaches over and over again during most of his teachings. Because faith is an action - to lean into and on God. To let God and let God. To trust in Him and obey. All take action on our part - not to do anything really but to live by the emunah He has given us to get through this life serving Him - all for His glory!

    Love and blessings - one more neat thing we have in common!


  2. Oh wow, my friend, what a fabulous language to study. I admire you for having the discipline to do it. I absolutely LOVED what you shared, Shonni. So stunning.

  3. Very cool! I studied Hebrew in college for fun and have forgotten most of it, but plan on studying it with the kids in a few years. We're working our way slowly through Greek now.

    What I remember loving about Hebrew is that all related words share a 3 letter root. This gives an immediate sense of meaning, even without remembering the precise meaning. (This helped me fudge my way through translations!) I also loved that shamayim (heavens) is the same word as mayim (waters) with a prefix added to it. This is very cool to those interested in creation science and the implications for the vapor canopy theory.

    Glad to know I'm not the only weirdo out there!

  4. Shonni,
    Thanks so much for sharing. It goes so nicely with what I have been reading and studying lately. I really have narrowed my blog reading and time down to just a few that fill me with His word and help me stay the path that is outside of the norm. I am so glad that yours is one of them!

  5. Hi Shonni
    Do you know that studying Hebrew is something I would love to do - well done to you for taking the plunge & doing it. I think it would be amazing to be able to read the Bible as it was truely written & then interpret it for myself.
    Have a lovely day
    Renata :)

  6. I am definitely going to re-read this post a few times to grasp all the meaning, but for now I have to comment on the part "to make firm and strong". With several situations this past week, my mindset was more worrying and weak. God is being very loving and patient with me and working my faith to be "firm and strong". Thanks for sharing this. I've never studied Hebrew, but find it very interesting when I hear pastors/teachers give Hebrew meaning of words during their lessons.

  7. I am amazed. It sounds so wonderfully beautiful! Emunah...I'll remember as faith in action.

    You just challenged me girl. I'm going to have to start looking into Hebrew translations more!

  8. What else could we understand more deeply and powerfully if we studied the original languages? Thanks for sharing this. Very cool.

  9. That's really neat Shonni! I'm sure it gives the Word meaning in a more powerful way. I'm currently in an Isaiah Bible study and some Hebrew words do come up and I find it so interesting. I was wondering if you knew what the name Selah meant? I read somewhere that it means pause and praise, would you happen to know if that's true?
    Blessings :)

  10. Thanks for sharing what God showed you today, Shonni. I have added the links to my favorites. I know I will be using them!

    Was your picture taken at Windsor Castle? I love the pics you share!

  11. I love it Shonni. God is amazing isn't he?


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