Shortcomings of using Strong's Numbers

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Deacon, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,969
    Likes Received:
    128
    I'm working on a teaching session for begininers on how to do a word study.

    Can you help me?

    Below is the text of "How to do a Word Study"

    Please describe the SHORTCOMINGS of using doing a simple word study like this.



    Thanks,

    Rob
     
  2. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Strong's is extremely limited in definitions, just so they understand that.

    Add to it

    #2 Vine's Expositiory Dictionary of the Bible (look up English word and gives you places where used, which Greek word and nuances of language.

    Book #3 to use is George Ricker Berry's Greek Interlinear New Testament. Has Greek (1555 St Stephens, very close to AV1611) and under each Greek word is the literal English. KJV in the margin. And great lexicon and synonyms as well. Best single-volume for serious biblical study.
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
  4. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2000
    Messages:
    9,628
    Likes Received:
    310
    I agree Strong's is only a starting place to sort out the Greek words a single English word may or may not translate (e.g. "love"). Vine's is the next step, especially if they have an edition that includes Strong's numbers. Me, I find Strongs when I need to find the right Russian word to for an English word with Online Bible. The numbers don't change language to language.
     
  5. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,969
    Likes Received:
    128
    I'm almost afraid to go into too much depth in the class.

    Thanks for the additional resources.

    My class is a mix of well taught people and new Christians.

    It was a shock last week for some of the novice Chirstians to learn that the Bible wasn't originally written in English.

    Here's my limited list, please continue to add to it.


    1. Strong's Lexicon is extremely limited in it's definitions

    2. Words used in Strong’s Concordance are “dictionary words”

    It’s as if you looked up the word, “running” or “ran” in an English dictionary, you’d find the word, “run”
    3. The words offered are not to be used as a smorgasbord. Don’t pick and choose among the choices of definition to prove a point.

    Rob
     
  6. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Teach The Sermon On The Mount. The recipients of that message were young believers. Most of the NT was written for young believers.

    I have found over the years that you can put new wine in new wineskins but not new wine in old wineskins.

    The way I teach to use a concordance is to teach them within the context of how a word is used. A Young's concordance tends to do that much better. I also add onto that such as if one wants to see how a word is used and then look to see how it is used by the author on other places. Peter tends to use salvation differently than Paul. The "kingdom of heaven" is only used in Matthew.

    I have taken non-Christians through the book "How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth" and have never had any complaints from them. It is the older Christians who have been in the church along time who are the complainers.
     
  7. Robert Snow

    Robert Snow
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Like almost everyone else, I use Strong's numbers and definitions. They can be very useful.

    However, using these aids is only a very basic starting point. It doesn't make someone a biblical scholar anymore than reading a medical textbook makes one a doctor.
     
  8. tinytim

    tinytim
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/tim2.jpg>

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    11,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    NOW that's interesting to know.. somehow I knew it, I have just never applied it the way you just explained.. Thanks.
     
  9. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    One might suggest learning Greek and Hebrew as the best route for avoiding Strongs.

    With the abundance of free online resources for eithe Language one could easily learn both languages with some discipline and time. :)

    Just FYI, I too teach frequently. I use both Greek &'Hebrew in prep but never in class.
     
  10. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,969
    Likes Received:
    128
    The class is studying through Philippians.

    Last week was about some foundational theology.

    This evening we will cover some basic observational techniques.

    Next week we will expand that by learning how to do a simple word study.
    I thought I'd let them pick some words from the opening verses of Philippians 2 dealing with Christ's nature. I'll let them "flesh out" the words, GRASPED (vs 6); EQUALITY (vs 6); EMPTIED (vs 7); LIKENESS (vs 7); HUMBLED (vs 8); FORM (vs 5, 7 and 8); LORD (11).

    Each week has homework that lets them use what they learned in the class discussion.

    I haven't used "Strong's" in years but have some old copies of it in the library.
    It's a good place to start.

    I won't encourage them to learn Greek or Hebrew ... yet ;-)

    Rob
     
    #10 Deacon, Jul 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2010
  11. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Biography of James Strong shows him to be a really odd duck. He was not fluent in Greek or Hebrew, being only self-taught in each, so everything in that area in his concordance is "borrowed" from others' works. But he did write a "how to learn Greek by yourself" manual, showing he really did grasp the language.

    He gave up church attendance, going only to a prayer service every other year or so. Many claimed him to be a heavy drinker of alcohol. He was a recluse and labeled "anti-social" because of his frail health that caused him to leave after college and "retire" in his early 20's. His alcohol has been explained because of the limited way to deal with excruciating pain.

    His concordance took 35 years to compile while he did limited teaching at Drew Seminary. He also helped compile a ten-volume encyclopedia of Bible knowledge, then oversaw later editions single-handily. He was Wesleyan/Methodist religion.

    Question: How can Baptists feel comfortable using a book by a Methodist non-church attender who drank alcohol? Think that is worth 3-4 sermons on its own. :eek: :eek:

    Not serious question so settle down . .
     
  12. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    The same way they feel comfortable reading a translation done by the Church of England.
     
  13. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personally, I'd use the Strong's numbers to go to Thayers (NT) or BDB (OT) for starters (TWOT is also very good for beginners). Strong's definitions are just too cyclical and imprecise. A far better concordance is Young's Analytical.

    Reminds me of the old saying: Young's isn't Young, and Strong's isn't Strong :)
     
  14. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tom, we had another saying in seminary: "Young's for the young; Strong's for the strong, and Crudens for the crude."

    Any book is just that, a book. A supplement to knowledge.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,969
    Likes Received:
    128
    Thayer's.... there's another old one I haven't used in years,
    I began my self-taught Greek education looking up words in his lexicon.

    Thayer's is another story that Dr. Bob should tell, (So were you class mates with either of these guys? :laugh:)

    I passed out a few copies of a elementary bible study methods book written recently by a Calvary Church pastor in New Jersey called Learn to study the Bible, 40 Methods

    It's simple and practical.

    For the more advanced I like the basics offered by Howard Hendricks, Living by the Book

    I think the class is looking forward to the session on word studies.

    Rob
     
  16. RAdam

    RAdam
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    2,100
    Likes Received:
    0
    What I think is most useful is going to Strong's to get the number and then going to Wigram's (one which has Strong's numbers of course) and seeing how that word is used in scripture. As the old saying goes, the best bible dictionary is the bible itself.
     
  17. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I prefer BDAG and HALOT for my lexicons. ;)
     
  18. Humblesmith

    Humblesmith
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is it possible to find a "word studies in the bible" books or a bible dictionary that you could just hand them?
    If you hand that procedure to people that are unfamiliar, it might be confusing.

    Another thought you might try is suggesting they get the free software "e-sword" which is available online.........they author has made a pretty decent piece of software that he gives away for donations.
     
  19. Tater77

    Tater77
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a "Strongest Strong's" on the shelf but I only use Strong's as a part of various Bible software. A program like E-Sword or PC Study Bible uses Strong's and gives a good definition along with various English words used in translations.
     
  20. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,969
    Likes Received:
    128
    Here is the final draft of how to use a concordance in a word study.
    It's the practical portion of the teaching session

    ************************

    How use a Concordance

    Step 1: Select a word to be studied
    How do you pick a word?

    ***discussion***


    Step 2: Look up the English word in an exhaustive concordance (words are arranged in alphabetical order).

    • Make sure the bible and the concordance match.
    • Go down the list to the Bible verse that contains the word you want to study.
    • Take note of the number associated with the word and verse (OT numbers are differentiated from NT numbers).

    Step 3: Locate the number in the Hebrew/Greek dictionaries in the back of the concordance.
    • The Hebrew Dictionary is located before the Greek Dictionary in the back of Concordance.


    You will see are five pieces of information after the number.

    1. The Hebrew/Greek word in original letters
    2. The Hebrew/Greek word transliterated into English letters
    3. The pronunciation of the Hebrew/Greek word
    4. The definition of the word (along with derivatives and root forms)
    5. A list of the different ways the Hebrew/Greek word is translated in the version

    Step 4: Write down the “gloss” of the original Hebrew/Greek word,
    (A gloss is a simple definition)
    Look at any other words that are listed. The italicized portion of the definition is the primary definition of the word; the other words in regular type are used to explain the primary definition.

    You might compare the definition with the definitions found in other books that use the same numbering system.

    Step 5: Write down the different English words used to translate the original Hebrew/Greek word.

    Go back into the concordance and locate each word and the number you have been using. Write down the passages where these words are used, and you will have a list of all the places where this original Hebrew/Greek word is used in the Bible.

    Step 6: Compare the meanings
    Examining each passage will give you parallel passages and will help you understand how this word is used and will help you to better understand what it means in different contexts.

    Point to stress: context, context, context.
    Words have many meaning based upon their context.

    ************************

    Thanks for your feedback

    Rob
     

Share This Page

Loading...