The Greek word haima (HI-mah) appears in various forms some 99 times in the Greek New Testament. Many English derivatives will be familiar: hematology (the study of blood), hemorrhage (a flow of blood), hemoglobin, etc. Given the centrality of bloodshed -- essential for the forgiveness of sins in both testaments (Hebrews 9:22) --this is a good word to recognize, especially if you are working with interlinears or are a student of Greek.

From the primary meaning of haima (blood) come the possible extended meanings of death and murder, depending on the context. In John 1:13, the passage describing the new birth, ex haimaton, means 'of natural descent' (NIV), though literally it should be rendered "of blood(s)." Of course John's point is that we are not born of natural descent; becoming a Christian cannot be done on your behalf by anyone else, even your parents. For any follower of Jesus, the word "blood" will have a broad array of associations, since we are bought with it and as a result are eternally grateful.

Continue to build your Greek and Hebrew biblical vocabulary. Absorbing new words -- in whatever language! -- keeps the mind flexible and in the learning mode.