In the exegetical method we teach here at Dallas Seminary, word studies are essential. Words are one of the fundamental building blocks for language and communication, so we study them both for their possible range of meaning and for their exact meaning in any one context. Studies of this type are especially important when we work with a language like Greek, which is not from our own culture, time, or place.
I came across a great example of how important word meanings can be recently. Although it involves English words, this story from the Washington Post makes the point quite well. Fane Lozman won a Supreme Court decision against the city of Rivera Beach, Florida, concerning his houseboat based on the meaning of the single word "vessel." It's a great example of why we have to study words carefully and why in communication the meaning of words matters.