Sunday, September 21, 2008

Louw & Nida Greek-English Lexicon

Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. This book is commonly known as Louw & Nida.

I have been using this lexicon for a few weeks now. It has taken a little getting used to. Now that I am more familiar with how it is set up, I have found it to be a great addition to my handheld library.

Instead of alphabetical arrangement, the words are arranged by semantic domain. Basically, this means the categories of words according to meaning and emphasis within a particular culture.

For example, under the domain Attitudes and Emotions is the sub domain Love, Affection, Compassion. In this section there are 25 words represented. As we look through them, we see the exactness of the Greek language. We also see why it is sometimes hard to make a literal translation from Greek to English. It's hard to take a Greek word and find a comparable English word. But that's off the subject.

What Louw & Nida does so well is to show the subtle differences between words. We get a better understanding of why a particular word was used and what the author was trying to get across. Looking at the words in their domains gives a different understanding than just looking up various definitions. We get a glimpse of how the native culture understood the expressions we are reading.

In English, we would say love God, love people, love other believers, love your husband, love your children, and love your relatives. In Greek, there are specific words for each of these concepts. There are also words for different types of love. There is a word for a deep yearning longing affection. Another for having deep compassion for someone. And another to show that you have opened your heart towards someone. On the other hand, how about a word that shows you have closed your heart to someone? It is used in an idiom that literally means to have restricted bowels. How about a sermon on constipated Christians?

I am thankful that Olive Tree has made this lexicon available in a handheld format. It’s not for everyone as it requires a decent grasp of New Testament Greek but for those with the language skills it will shine much light.


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