Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eerdman's Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament

On paper, this dictionary is three volumes and about 1656 pages. It was originally published in German in 1978-80. The English version was done in 1990. Thanks to Olive Tree, I can carry it around on my PDA.

To exegete a Bible passage is to rip it apart in order to fully understand it’s meaning. An exegetical dictionary takes individual words apart. This dictionary lists the forms, meaning and usage of every word in the Greek New Testament. This is what you need when you really want to understand a word. You are not just getting a definition. It discusses the historical, theological and exegetical significance of the words. You have the background you need to comprehend the word and it’s meaning in a passage.

A dangerous trick many people use in Bible study is to look up a word in a dictionary or Strong’s concordance or other lexicon. They then use multiple choice, picking through the various shades of meaning and come up with their declared meaning of the word. They might be right or they might be off base. Using proper tools in the right way will not only prevent these errors but in the end you properly understand the word and passage.

The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament is a great resource for in depth word study. To use it, you need to be able to look up words in Greek. That may be beyond the ability of many students of the New Testament. A way around that is using the Olive Tree Bible reader. Here’s how: use an English Bible from Olive Tree like the New American Standard or the Complete Word Study Bible that has hyperlinks that show the Greek word. Then copy the Greek word and paste it in the dictionary. A couple of steps and you are on your way to in depth exegesis of the word without reading or writing in Greek. This is something anyone can do regardless of their proficiency in Greek.

The goal of all Bible study and especially the type we have dealt with here shouldn’t ever be to have a knowledge that puffs up but a love that builds up. We need a love for God and His Word and we need to be changed into His likeness. That’s what I hope for.


Eerdman's Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament

Olive Tree

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