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What is a Bible lexicon?

The word “Lexicon” has some specific meanings, and other perhaps more theoretical meanings. The lexicon is a list of all the words in a language; if it includes definitions, it is of course a dictionary. This seems clear and precise, but when you consider words in any language, you soon realize that to include every single possible form of every imaginable word would be impossible.

So the idea of lexicon becomes a little theoretical. It can be thought of as a list of all possible roots of a language, or all morphemes– parts of words that contain no smaller meaningful parts– that can stand alone or be combined with other parts to produce words.

A lexicon is the knowledge that a native speaker has about a language. This includes information about:

  • the form and meanings of words and phrases
  • lexical categorization
  • the appropriate usage of words and phrases
  • relationships between words and phrases, and
  • categories of words and phrases.

Phonological and grammatical rules are not considered part of the lexicon.

Posted by Steve Bugler, 7 years, 11 months ago at 12:00 pm.

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What to look for in a Bible Dictionary:

To choose a good Bible Dictionary/Bible Encyclopedia you should consider the following:

REPUTATION: What is the reputation (reliability) both of the contributors as well as the publisher? What do you know of them? What is their theological point-of-view? Has the publisher released other reputable reference tools?

RECENCY: When was this reference first published? If it was first released many years ago, has it been revised? You need a reference tool that presents the most up-to-date information.

REFERENCES: Does this tool have Bibliographies that point you to more information on a subject? Do they quote (or cite) an adequate amount of Bible passages for you to investigate? Does it have indexes that cross-reference subjects to more than one location in the book?

RELEVANCY: Is this tool the right one for your needs? Enough detail – without being overwhelming? Does it require pre-requisite knowledge (such as Greek or Hebrew)? Is it a tool for scholars or specialists? Is it written from a particular perspective, or with a particular audience in mind?

Posted by Steve Bugler, 7 years, 11 months ago at 12:00 pm.

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What is a Bible Dictionary?

Have you ever used a “regular” dictionary? You simply look up a word (which is listed alphabetically) and the dictionary will give you information on the various shades of meaning of the word, where that word comes from, examples of its usage in a sentence, etc.

A Bible Dictionary is a lot like dictionaries you use – except that the entries (words) are words that might be meaningful for the study of the Bible. A Bible Dictionary has entries for Biblical people (like David, Abraham, Moses, Jesus) – Biblical places (Jerusalem, Rome, Babylon, etc) – Biblical concepts (like faith, repentance, sacrifice) – Biblical events (like the fall of Jerusalem, the Babylonian Exile, the Resurrection of Jesus) – and other types of information may be presented as well: outlines of Bible books, pictures, charts, diagrams, and the like. The entries are usually brief – especially if the dictionary is only one volume – so if you need more in-depth information, you need to check a Bible Encyclopedia, which is a lot like a Bible Dictionary, except that the entries are more lengthy and may also include lists of other references to consult on the subject (Bibliographies).

Posted by Steve Bugler, 7 years, 11 months ago at 10:15 pm.

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What is a Bible Concordance?

The term ‘concordance’ is usually applied to literary and linguistic studies, but it is an extremely useful tool which enables people to access a piece of text non-sequentially or to study the ways in which it uses language.  A concordance is “a citation of parallel passages, and specifically an alphabetic arrangement of the words contained in a book with citations of the passages in which they occur.” - Encyclopedia Britannica, 11 ed.

A concordance’s function is basically to bring together, in other words, to ‘concord’ passages of text which show the use of a word. It searches for instances of a word or phrase and comes up with each case of it.  A concordance will show each instance of each word together in the context from which it came.

So a concordance is a bit like a computer; it will find things for you, but it will not do the thinking, you have to do that. What it will do is to get you on the right track when, in this case, it comes to deeper analysis of a piece of text.

Posted by Steve Bugler, 7 years, 11 months ago at 12:00 pm.

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