Sunday, December 28, 2008

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

The full version of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) is ten volumes. I have been using the abridged version (Little Kittel), which is about a sixth of the size of the original. On paper, it is still 1356 pages. I use the PDA version from Olive Tree.

This dictionary is much different than a lexicon. It’s not just the meaning of a word that is covered but it’s background and how it is used in both biblical and non biblical settings. For example, there is Old Testament usage in the Septuagint, rabbinical usage, usage in Philo and Josephus, the Apostolic Fathers and most of all, how the New Testament uses the word.

For a while I have been praying a verse from Psalm 19:14, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. This led me to think of a verse from Luke 6:45, your words show what is in your heart. Now there is a verse that hurts. It hits a little too close to home. I’d rather not think that my heart is exposed by my words. I see two things: I can be very negative in what I say and at the opposite side, I don’t give out many compliments. That makes me see that I need a heart change.

This morning I was looking up some background on the word heart. It’s interesting how we use a word that speaks of a physical organ to represent so many other things. Here is a little from the TDNT:

Figuratively the heart stands a. for courage (2 Chr. 17:6) in various expressions, b. for the seat of rational functions (Dt. 29:3), c. for the place of willing and planning (Jer. 23:20), and d. for the source of religious and ethical conduct (1 Sam. 12:20).

2. There is in the NT a rich usage of kardia for a. the seat of feelings, desires, and passions (e.g., joy, pain, love, desire, and lust; cf. Acts 2:26; Jn. 16:6; 2 Cor. 7:3; Rom. 10:1; 1:24); b. the seat of thought and understanding (cf. Mt. 7:21; Jn. 12:40; Acts 8:22; Mk. 11:23; Rev. 18:7; Rom. 1:21); c. the seat of the will (e.g., Acts 11:23; 2 Cor. 9:7; Lk. 21:14); and d. the religious center to which God turns, which is the root of religious life, and which determines moral conduct (e.g., Lk. 16:15; Rom. 5:5; 8:27; Eph. 3:17; Heb. 8:10; 2 Pet. 1:19; as the heart of the sinner, Mk. 7:21; Jn. 12:40; Eph. 4:18; Jms. 1:26; as the heart of the redeemed, Mt. 11:29; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Th. 3:13; Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 3:15; Jms. 4:8 , etc.).

A cool thing about using the Olive Tree version on my PDA is that I can tap on any of the above verse references and they open up in another window. That makes it so simple to look at a lot of material very quick.

My prayer and Bible study show I need a change of heart but it also shows that God can make that change in me. I am thankful for that.


For better and easier Bible study check out the links below.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

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