Greek Word Studies

I’m sitting in Trinity Western’s Library translating the LXX of 1 Samuel this afternoon (I’m aiming for completing 6 chapters this week). Right now, I’m also watching a guy who appears to be working on a Greek word study (<- really annoying term, a RAT). He’s dug out a good dozen books thus far, including multiple volumes from these three series:


He hasn’t pulled BDAG or even BAGD off the shelf yet. Much less LSJ or Lampe.

Granted, the articles in those three sets above are significantly easier to read than any of the lexicons, but I cannot help but think to myself that he would be doing himself a favor if he simple went online and did his word study from the texts themselves – either Perseus or TLG. His Greek would definitely improve and develop a whole lot faster if he did. And he’s be less dependent on what other says. You don’t learn Greek by reading about it (though perhaps by writing about it, assuming what you write is based on your experience in the text itself).

Or at least he could open BDAG and work through the entries example by example. That would be a better exercise than what I’m watching too – especially since the volumes of TDNT he’s using are the older volumes, the Pre-Barr criticism volumes with their serous methodological issues.

8 thoughts on “Greek Word Studies

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  1. That is definitely odd, since I normally would only open theological dictionaries after a word study for the sake of comparison.

    Enjoy 1 Samuel, by the way. Are you planning on going through all of the books of the Kingdoms? If so, it will be interesting to hear your impression of the και γε sections.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if his assignment is to look up certain words in those volumes as part of an exercise to “get familiar with the available resources.” My Greek exegesis prof said never to use Little Kittle and only use the larger volumes for the leg work, never the conclusions.
    Besides which you should tell that guy to buy some Bible software so he doesn’t have to clutter up the library! 🙂

    1. There aren’t any exegesis classes going on right now. Trinity finished school back in April and summer session don’t start for a week. He’s doing his own study.

  3. Another instance, it would appear, of current NT Greek pedagogy’s readiness to shy away from “up-close-and-personal” confrontation with Greek words in context.

  4. Hi Mike,

    I’m the guy that you saw doing research in TWU’s library earlier this week. Incidentally, I stumbled across your blog and found this post. I’ve read your blog before, but hadn’t for a year or so. I’m finishing up a degree in NT at a different school, but I don’t live close to campus, so I occasionally come to Trinity to do research. The course I’m taking right now requires me to translate one of Paul’s letters after classifying every word according to Dan Wallace’s categories. I used something similar to Perseus for help and consulted my own copy of BDAG before heading to Trinity to do further research. The text I’ve been assigned has a few significant words and the resources I was consulting were recommended by my exegesis profs. Thomas: I don’t have the cash for Accordance right now…so I’ll have to keep cluttering up the library.

  5. Mike – you should do a post on how to do a word study (if you haven’t already) – and in the process do a word study so it could be a reference to those whom it might be helpful. what do you say?

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