Strong's, Lexicons and Greek Semantics

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by John of Japan, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    It's Sunday evening, the services are over, I just won Civ III with the Space Race for the first time. Life is good! :cool: So I thought I'd start a thread I've been thinking about.

    A week or two ago my youthful opponent in a BB debate insisted--twice in spirt of my objection--that Strong's should be authoritative. So I quit the thread, since that's a crock. But this is not about that per se! :D As a result of my objection to Strong's, a BB denizen PMed me and asked what lexicons I would reccomend.

    I'm going to give reviews of Greek lexicons and dictionaries I have. Feel free to pitch in with your favorite. Then I'll discuss semantics (the branch of linguistics dealing with meaning) and how a translator works out the meaning of a word in the target language based on a word in the original language. :type:
     
  2. preacher4truth

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    Cool. Also if any of you brainiacs could share with us any literature, that is not Biblical literature, that is available that uses the same Koine Greek wherein persons could use this also to get a better meaning of how the words were used in those days.
     
  3. John of Japan

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    First of all, consider Strong's. The one thing good about it is the Strong's numbers. With Strong's numbers, I can do a very quick search on even a low end Bible software package and find out how many times the word occurs in the NT, and what the contexts are. For example, I'll just randomly pick a word and look at it with Power Bible CD. Thelema (qelhma, Strong's # 2307) occurs 60 times in the NT, sometimes for the human will but usually for the will of God. And so forth.

    Now, what's wrong with Strong's?

    (1) It's 120 years old, for crying out loud! There have been many mss. discovered since then and tons of research done. So Strong's is totally out and a recent lexicon is a must for the serious student.

    (2) Since it is so old, Strong's depends more than it should on meanings from classical Greek. The Koine Greek of the NT is quite different from most classical Greek documents.

    (3) It seldom gives definitions, only giving glosses. "Gloss" originally referred to a marginal note giving a quick definition or explanation in an ancient mss., but is often used nowadays for a one word definition in another language. (Glossary--get it?) A gloss is only a general guide, not usually a true definition.

    (4) It gives no information about how the word is used in various contexts in the NT--a must for proper semantic research.

    (5) It gives no information about extra-Biblical usage of words.

    (6) It gives non-students of Greek a dangerous feeling that they are being scholarly by saying, "This word means ---- in the Greek."
     
  4. John of Japan

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    The Septuagint (LXX) is Koine, and is invaluable in determining the meaning of many words in the NT. Other Koine works I've consulted include Josephus, the Didache, the early church fathers, etc. A top level lexicon will give some of these usages in determining the definition of a word.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    I'm heading for bed, and will post more tomorrow. But before I sign off, just a word about the difference between a dictionary and a lexicon. This is not hard and fast, since the two words are often considered to be synonyms. However, a simple rule for NT Greek is that a lexicon is for specialists and has more detail (not just glosses), and a dictionary is usually attached to something else: Strong's, a Greek NT, Xenophon's Anabasis, etc.

    Oyasumi nasai. (Sleep well.) :sleeping_2:
     
  6. BobinKy

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    Now, this thread has promise. I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar. Never took a class. But I will post what I use later today. I look forward to hearing John's survey of lexicons and dictionaries.

    I hope those who feel the need to argue--will let this thread be. Just post what you use and why.

    ...Bob
     
  7. Amy.G

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    John, thank you. This is fantastic. I hope you can recommend something an old country girl can understand. :) I would like to invest in a lexicon. I have a Strongs's, but like you said, it sure seems inadequate.
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    Thanks for the insights.

    Does Strong actually have a real "lexicon"? Or are we talking about the very simplistic material at the conclusion of his concordance? That is so limited that I'ver never considered it a "lexicon"; it truly is more of a dictionary.

    And anyone who does not think language changes (sometimes dramatically) over 400 years, Greek is an example of how erroneous that assumption may be.

    When translating Thucydides, I used Liddell-Scott (classical) lexicon. By the time of the NT Greek had de-volved into a more common form (koine means common) and words were utilized very differently.

    Will have little time to participate after today, so just giving a "thumbs up" to the thread before the holiday rush. :thumbs:
     
  9. kyredneck

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    Complete Works of Josephus. But be bery bery careful; these writings have changed more than a few over to the dark side of preterism.....


    http://www.josephus.org/books.htm#complete
     
    #9 kyredneck, Dec 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  10. preacher4truth

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    Thanks kyredneck for that and the link.
     
  11. annsni

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    John - Thanks so much for doing this!!
     
  12. Mexdeaf

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    Looks like a very promising thread. I look forward to being stretched.
     
  13. Deacon

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    John's a gamer and plays Civ? Should we believe he's sleeping?
    I think he might be starting another game. :laugh:
    No wonder we haven't seen to much of him lately.
    Civilization takes a looong time to play.

    Well the best lexicons are the ones you have and use.
    Strong’s Concordance [hardcover] has a lexicon of sorts in the back but it could be compared to an elementary school dictionary; it is quite limited in scope and keyed to the KJV.

    Digital lexicons make the game of searching incredibly fast and independent of the version, cross linking with other lexicons in Logos Bible Software.

    Looking forward to John's reviews.
    Maybe I'll cover the Hebrew lexicons later.

    Rob
     
  14. menageriekeeper

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    Thanks John, I'll be reading this thread for sure!
     
  15. preachinjesus

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    I have Civ IV, great games. Love that they take a long time to develop if played on marathon mode. :)

    How is this view even acceptable?

    Strongs is so old and there have been so much legitimate scholarship to better qualify things how can someone hold this view? I am just stunned by it honestly.

    Should be an interesting conversation. I've got my favorites for both Testaments but I'd enjoy hearing your perspective. :)
     
  16. glfredrick

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    I used Thayer's a lot during my Greek studies:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1565632095/?tag=baptis04-20

    If one wishes to use printed media, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition (Bauer, Danker):

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0226039331/?tag=baptis04-20

    For Hebrew, it is hard to beat the Brown-Driver-Brigg Hebrew Lexicon:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1565632060/?tag=baptis04-20

    It is also necessary to have a great Hebrew and Greek text to go with those printed study materials. I prefer the Nestle-Alland with critical apparatus and dictionary and the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (better font and better mechanism):

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/343805115X/?tag=baptis04-20

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1598561634/?tag=baptis04-20

    Strongs is useful for primary searching, but that is about all.

    I now almost exclusively use electronic lexical aids. They are WAY fast and more complete and up to date than any printed version.

    I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 1800 volumes on my hard drive and use just about every major software package out there (and some difficult to find versions as well). The preponderance of great electronic media available to the biblical scholar today is outstanding, and the man who refuses to use the new resources is, in a way, suggesting that God doesn't know about and has not, in His sovereignty, allowed us more access to the text than ever before in history.
     
  17. SolaSaint

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    I have a question concerning dictionaries and lexicons. For good bible study and preparation for teaching is it better to use dictionaries or to rely upon a good commentary which usually has Greek definitions. I use John MacArthurs NT Commentaries and feel I really don't need a Greek lexicon. Please tell me if you think I should invest in one despite using good commentaries? Thanks!
     
  18. BobinKy

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    I am not a pastor, but a retired businessman. I do not translate Hebrew or Greek texts and I have never had a course in either language. However, I do personal word studies using the NIDOTTE and NIDONTT series from Zondervan. This series is designed for people who want to do Bible word studies, do not translate, and are willing to read articles in English written by scholars at the nontechnical level for lay people. The backbone for both the OT and NT series are the extensive indexes (last volume in each series).

    NIDOTTE
    VanGemeren, W. A. (Gen. Ed.). (1996). New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (5 vols.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    The NIDOTTE contains 4,750 pages, 3,000 entries, written by over 200 scholars from 24 countries and more than 100 academic institutions.​

    NIDONTT
    Brown, C. (Gen. Ed.). (1986). New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (4 vols.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    The NIDONTT contains 3,505 pages and is a translation and enlargement of the German Theologisches Begriffslexikon zum Neuen Testament. This series is only available on the used book market.​

    . . .

    I also use Holladay’s OT Hebrew-English lexicon and the BAGD Greek-English lexicon.

    Holladay, W. L. (Ed.). (1970). A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. [Based upon the lexical work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner.]. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

    Bauer, W., Arndt, W. F., Gingrich, F. W., & Danker, F. W. (1979). A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (2nd Ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.​

    . . .

    I navigate my way through the above references with the Goodrick/Kohlenberg numbering system, which is a refinement of the Strong numbering system for use with the NIV 1984. The G/K numbering system is used in the following references.

    Goodrick, E. W., & Kohlenberger, J. R., III. (1999). The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    Kohlenberger, J. R., III, & Swanson, J. A. (1998). The Hebrew-English Concordance to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    Kohlenberger, J. R., III, Goodrick, E. W., & Swanson, J. A. (1997). The Greek-English Corcordance to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.​

    . . .

    Occasionally, I use the following interlinear resources.

    Kohlenberger, J. R., III. (1987). The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

    Brown, R. K., Comfort, P. W. (Trans.), & Douglas, J. D. (Ed.). (1993). The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Personal Size Edition. [A new interlinear translation of the Greek New Testament United Bible Societies’ Fourth, Corrected Edition with The New Revised Standard Version, New Testament.]. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.​

    . . .

    I use the following printed English concordances to find English words in the three English translations that I use. These translations can easily be searched online; however, I prefer to do the majority of my personal Bible study in print format. I do NOT use the limited dictionaries in the back of these English concordances. I prefer the expanded information in the OT and NT lexicons and theological dictionaries listed above. Here are the English concordances I use.

    NIV 1984

    Goodrick, E. W., & Kohlenberger, J. R., III. (1999). The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.​

    NRSV
    Kohlenberg, J. R., III. (1991). The NRSV Concordance Unabridged, Including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.​

    KJB
    Cruden, A. (2010). Cruden's Complete Concordance to the Old and New Testaments. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson's Publishers.

    Strong, J. (2001). The Strongest Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (larger print ed.). [Fully revised and corrected by Kohlenberger, J. R., III, & Swanson, J. A..]. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.​

    . . .

    For checking cross references, I use the following print resource, which is keyed to the KJB.

    Smith, J. (2007). Nelson's Cross Reference Guide to the Bible: Illuminating God's Word Verse-by-Verse (2nd ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.​

    . . .

    I am sure I do not have the best approach. However, it is what I purchased several years ago and I continue to use these resources for personal Bible word studies. You may have noticed many of my resources are keyed to the NIV 1984, except the Holloday OT lexicon and BAGD NT lexicon. For some, that may be a problem. For me, that is not a problem at all.

    ...Bob
     
    #18 BobinKy, Dec 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  19. John of Japan

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    Hi, Amy.

    I don't know your situation, but if you can't read Greek, any real lexicon becomes a problem, since there are no romanized (English alphabet) lexicons. For anyone who has no training but wants to graduate beyond Strong's, here are suggestions.

    (1) It is possible to find Thayer's in a low end Bible software package. Thayer's is also out of date but a step up from Strong's. (I'll review it later). E-Sword is free, and you can download for free Thayer's for the NT and Brown-Driver-Briggs for the OT: www.e-sword.net

    (2) Learn to do your own research. Even on a low end software Bible you can do a search with the Strong's number of the times a word occurs in the NT, as I showed at the beginning of this thread. Then make your judgment based on the contexts you see the word occurring in. For example, if you check out "apostle" (Strong's 652), you can see some interesting ways the Greek word was translated other than "apostle."

    (3) For better lexicons, if you have the moola, you can go to a high end Bible program. I use Bibloi, which shows and English gloss when you left click with your mouse on the word in the original language. Then you can easily look the word up in the lexicon with a right click.

    (4) One more option. You can also download Vincent's Word Studies and Robertson's Word Pictures for free from E-Sword. Word studies can have problems, and these are also old and somewhat out of date, but I've gotten insightes from both of these, especially Robertson.

    (5) Just thought of something else. Another one that is out of date but still much better than Strong's is Vine's Expository Dictionary. You look up stuff in English and get Vine's explanations of the Greek.

    Some of this old stuff depends too much on etymology (word origins), but if you ignore that you can learn from them.
     
    #19 John of Japan, Dec 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Yep, I'd call it a dictionary.

    All very true. Hope you can comment more later.
     

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