Off-Topic - "Best" Hebrew/Greek Dictionary

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Posts 46
Scott Dietrick | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Aug 3 2010 4:19 PM

Please forgive an off-topic question... this is not Logos4 related specifically.

I'm am NOT a Greek/Hebrew scholar or any other kind of scholar. I'm just a guy who loves the Lord and loves to dig into His word in an in-depth manner. Studying the meanings behind the words of the original languages interests me very much and i find it very helpful in gleaning the full meaning of the word.

Given that, i'm often a bit confused by my current dictionaries/lexicons (those that come with the Logos Bible Study version). One of my main concerns is multiple entries, multiple meanings for a given word. I understand that these different shades of meaning come from different verb forms, tenses and voices, word positions, etc of the word in that specific context. Without years of training, however, determining that is no easy task, nor practical. So i have to rely on the scholars to have done that work for me... which brings me to my question.

Maybe my current dictionaries/lexicons do this by default and it's just unclear to me, but i'm never sure that the #1 entry for a word, for example, is the best one for that instance (e.g. using a Strong's reference)... or is the #2 entry closer given the verb tense, etc? DBL e.g. usually has multiple entries for most words so I'm faced with this question a lot.

So is there a dictionary/lexicon that handles this in enough detail to be useful but does not presuppose you're a 3 year Greek or Hebrew language student? Are what i already have (DBL, CDWGHTB, NASHAGD) adequate for my level of study and i just need some instruction as to how to better use them? Would it be beneficial to buy the Louw-Nida or BDB?

Any help greatly appreciated. I know there are a wealth of very knowledgeable folks on this forum.

Thanks

Scott

Posts 222
Justin Cofer | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 3 2010 4:42 PM

I took Greek at Moody Bible Institute, but if I was to recommend dictionary for an interested Bible student without formal training, I would recommend:

 

1.  Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

http://www.logos.com/products/details/5407

 

2.  AMG's Bible Essentials.  It has the Complete WordStudy Dictionary: NT and Complete WordStudy Dictionary: OT.

http://www.logos.com/products/details/1510

 

Both are indepth and helpful for those without formal training.   I don't think DBAG, Louw-Nida or BDB would be helpful without some training.

Posts 1145
William | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 3 2010 5:00 PM

I am starting to Learn Greek myself....and with Mounce's BBG with his video's that are now newly available.....it is not really terrible to learn Greek.  He does have a secondary offering of Greek for the Rest of Us.....that might help with getting to the Word.  But really, the number one resource for you to try to get is Learn to Use Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software.  It is exactly for a person like yourself.  They talk about doing the word studies and so forth when you do not have the Greek Background.  I just love that Logos video set!!!!!! 

 

Posts 146
Sam Henderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 3 2010 5:01 PM

This might sound a bit harsh, Scott, but the best answer to your problem is summed up in your second sentence; start learning at least one of the languages. Bill Mounce tells an interesting parable at the end of his excellent Greek primer about a sailor who fell in love with a woman from another country. To understand her better, he studied the culture, history, etc. of her country, but finally realised if he wanted to really know her he'd have to learn her language.

In the meantime (and speaking only of Greek resources), a really good lexicon like BDAG provides heaps of example references for respective shades of meaning under each lexical entry. Using Logos you can search such resources for references to a specific verse. I find Logos' own Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the GNT good because it provides a header for every lexical entry with every reference from the the NT for each shade of meaning, crosslinked to Louw-Nida numbers for a more expansive definition. However, to get the most out of any good lexicon you're going to require some familiarity with the language.

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 3 2010 6:56 PM

Scott Dietrick:
So is there a dictionary/lexicon that handles this in enough detail to be useful but does not presuppose you're a 3 year Greek or Hebrew language student?

Your DBL is quite adequate in conjunction with the Louw-Nida (LN) number provided in the RI's and LGNTI. The LN numbers are context-sensitive so that you can look at the appropriate entry # in DBL or go direct to the LN lexicon.

Dave
===

Windows 10 & Android 8

Posts 188
Kevin Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 4 2010 7:23 AM

Scott, I think that BDAG and Kittel are the "King" of Lexicons but if you want one with lesser details yet still offering a comprehensive feel you might want to try The Complete Word Study Dictionary NT:

http://www.logos.com/ebooks/details/WSNTDICT

This is more than adequate for the details you desired, yet is not confusing if you have not had the benefit of Greek language study.  Even though I have had a few years of Greek I still use it during light study when I don't need a wide scope and etymology that BDAG and Kittel are famous for.

"Best" might not bet the same for everyone.  Pound for pound I think BDAG for Greek and HALOT for Hebrew is what you want in the long run but not to the negation of the benefits of lighter lexicons.

Logos 5, Windows & Android perfect together....

Posts 442
Tim Engwer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:35 PM

SamHenderson:
I find Logos' own Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the GNT good because it provides a header for every lexical entry with every reference from the the NT for each shade of meaning, crosslinked to Louw-Nida numbers

Thanks for this tip.  I tried using both these resources together and it was very helpful!

Posts 442
Tim Engwer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 4 2010 3:49 PM

Justin Cofer:
Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

Another good suggestion.  I took a look at this online and it looks excellent as I too have been looking for resouces for the layman.  Despite one year of Greek a long time ago I still need training wheels.Big Smile

Posts 2744
Bohuslav Wojnar | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 4 2010 9:53 PM

Scott Dietrick:
I'm am NOT a Greek/Hebrew scholar or any other kind of scholar. I'm just a guy who loves the Lord and loves to dig into His word in an in-depth manner. Studying the meanings behind the words of the original languages interests me very much and i find it very helpful in gleaning the full meaning of the word.

I think the best solution for you would be to get and go through the following Video resources: Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew with Logos  http://www.logos.com/products/details/5876 

The strength of the course is that it explains and teaches you to use Logos for exactly the thing you say you would like to do. I know it is pricey, but I just wanted you to know about the option.

Bohuslav

Posts 25282
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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 4 2010 10:08 PM

TimEngwer:

Justin Cofer:
Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

Another good suggestion.  I took a look at this online and it looks excellent as I too have been looking for resouces for the layman.  Despite one year of Greek a long time ago I still need training wheels.Big Smile

Yes, I got Mounce's recently and it complements the "older" Vine's Exp Dictionary very well.

Dave
===

Windows 10 & Android 8

Posts 46
Scott Dietrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 5 2010 2:31 PM

Thanks for all the great replies. I would really love to learn Greek and still might someday. I'd love the Logos vids too but... youch... big money for a guy like me. I'll figure something out with the good advice given here.

Posts 46
Scott Dietrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 8 2010 4:05 PM

Please pardon a stupid question... Louw-Nida seems to only be a Greek lexicon... but why are there LN numbers listed in the Hebrew DBL?

Thanks

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Aug 8 2010 5:59 PM

Scott Dietrick:

Please pardon a stupid question... Louw-Nida seems to only be a Greek lexicon... but why are there LN numbers listed in the Hebrew DBL?

Thanks

James Swanson went through and assigned domain numbers to the Hebrew words. Even though Louw-Nida is a Greek resource the concept of semantic domain can be transferred to different languages.

DBL's Preface has a more detailed explanation

Posts 46
Scott Dietrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 9 2010 6:09 PM

Ok... I went ahead and sprung for a LN... and it is exactly what i was after. The key being Context Sensitive. It gives me the exact sense of that exact word in that exact usage. DBL does not tell you which sense of all given senses is the one in that specific usage... and that drives me crazy.

Now... is there an equivalent Louw-Nida for the Hebrew? Something that does exactly what LN does except for the Hebrew. I need it.

Thanks

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 9 2010 7:32 PM

Scott Dietrick:
Now... is there an equivalent Louw-Nida for the Hebrew? Something that does exactly what LN does except for the Hebrew. I need it.

I am not aware of anything exactly like LN for Hebrew. Now, a dictionary like HALOT will give you lots of classifications of different meanings of a word. It's not uncommon for the entries to be exhaustive in their scope (meaning they have every occurrence in the Hebrew Bible classified).

Posts 5257
DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Aug 9 2010 11:47 PM

UBS is has an ongoing project creating a Semantic Dictionary of Bilbilcal Hebrew. You can reveiw the entries already created at :

http://www.sdbh.org/home-en.html

Unfortunately though this doesn't solve the OP's immediate problem. 

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 10 2010 2:49 AM

Andrew McKenzie:

UBS is has an ongoing project creating a Semantic Dictionary of Bilbilcal Hebrew. You can reveiw the entries already created at :

http://www.sdbh.org/home-en.html

Unfortunately though this doesn't solve the OP's immediate problem. 

Excellent, thanks for the link! It looks like it will be an excellent resource when finished. Unfortunately, lexicons take many years to finish. And then there's the wait time for it to be converted into Logos' format...

Posts 46
Scott Dietrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 10 2010 4:52 PM

Wow... Louw-Nida is what i've been looking for for a long time. Excellent resource. I'm a bit disappointed i must say that nothing similar exists for the Hebrew. The thing about LN that does it for me is that you get the exact sense of the word in a specific usage. Otherwise, a long list of possible senses does nothing for me because i cannot and most likely never will learn verb forms, especially in Hebrew! I'm quite fine with letting the scholars take care of that for me. Ah well... i'll look into the Complete Word Study for Heb... that might get it done.

Posts 3
Ron Grimes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 20 2017 12:16 PM

I know this thread is extremely old, but since I ran across it (through Google) in searching for a good Greek Lexicon, I figure others will too. 

And, I have one comment on this subject that may seem a bit snobbish and elitist, but that is not my intention. Here's the problem with what the OP wants to accomplish. You do more harm to your own understanding of the scriptures by looking up words in their original language when you have no level of true scholarship in the language. You will draw conclusions that are erroneous and cause you to not only be misinformed, but you are likely to use that mistaken knowledge when expositing the scriptures to others. 

Let me illustrate. Suppose you are a foreigner who doesn't know English and you look up the word "novel". You would see that it means both a "fictional book" and an "unusual or different idea". Now, you know it would be incorrect to conflate the two definitions and say, "Oh! Then that must mean that a novel is a fictional idea that is different." And yet, that's what I see Christians, who are untrained in ANE (ancient near eastern) languages, do with Hebrew and Greek. 

Only by actually being trained to some degree of expertise in these languages can a Strong's concordance even be of any value to you. Now, everyone wants to resort to it because it makes them sound smart and like they're doing "due diligence" in their Biblical studies. But, the reality is, you will only pervert your own understanding of the scriptures, rather than enlightening it. 

Posts 1050
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 20 2017 2:04 PM

Ron Grimes:

I know this thread is extremely old, but since I ran across it (through Google) in searching for a good Greek Lexicon, I figure others will too. 

And, I have one comment on this subject that may seem a bit snobbish and elitist, but that is not my intention. Here's the problem with what the OP wants to accomplish. You do more harm to your own understanding of the scriptures by looking up words in their original language when you have no level of true scholarship in the language. You will draw conclusions that are erroneous and cause you to not only be misinformed, but you are likely to use that mistaken knowledge when expositing the scriptures to others. 

Let me illustrate. Suppose you are a foreigner who doesn't know English and you look up the word "novel". You would see that it means both a "fictional book" and an "unusual or different idea". Now, you know it would be incorrect to conflate the two definitions and say, "Oh! Then that must mean that a novel is a fictional idea that is different." And yet, that's what I see Christians, who are untrained in ANE (ancient near eastern) languages, do with Hebrew and Greek. 

Only by actually being trained to some degree of expertise in these languages can a Strong's concordance even be of any value to you. Now, everyone wants to resort to it because it makes them sound smart and like they're doing "due diligence" in their Biblical studies. But, the reality is, you will only pervert your own understanding of the scriptures, rather than enlightening it. 

There's a great deal of truth to what you say.  I completely agree with you about the value of serious original language study.  That's what motivated me to take Greek and Hebrew classes.

Having said that, the issue of multiple potential uses for a single word is not unique to Greek and Hebrew - we have the exact same phenomenon in English. I can say that my bathwater is hot (high temperature), the curry I'm eating is hot (spicy), a person is hot (sexually attractive), the jazz music I'm listening to is hot (artistically groundbreaking), my ball team was hot last night (performing unusually well), a night club is hot (very popular), or my car is hot (very fast). This is a feature of any natural human language. We sort these different meanings out by context and usage - just as a scholar would with an ancient language. That's why we don't conclude that the curry I had for lunch was not only spicy, but also sexually attractive, performing unusually well and capable of moving very quickly. And, we can make the exact same mistake working entirely in English. I've heard more than one preacher cite an English dictionary for a word such as "love" or "faith," read multiple definitions, and then turn around and apply them all to a single verse.

So, while I heartily join you in encouraging everyone who can to study Greek and Hebrew, I think the best strategy to combat this particular lexical fallacy is to explain it to people in simple terms, using illustrations from their own native language. It's not that hard to understand that when you're studying Romans and look up pistis, for example, in a Greek lexicon that you can't simply load the word down with all of the potential definitions at one time - instead, you have to look at the context to come to a reasoned judgment about how Paul is using the word. Just like my curry and my sister aren't "hot" in the same way, and I don't "love" them in the same fashion.

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