I came across an article explaining how to use the lexicon BDAG. There is a lot to BDAG that isn't necessarily intuitive and to use it effectively requires some instruction and experience. (If this is inappropriate for this site please let me know and I'll delete it):


To my mind, not knowing how to use a lexicon and in particular BDAG is a "career-limiting" situation. I think it is safe to say that if one doesn't have this skill then one is doomed to shallow word studies at best and interpretation is going to suffer.

Why would one prefer to not use a lexicon and instead opine from etymology, concordances, "thinking in English" etc.? Hubris?

The "professionals" use the best tools available. They don't show up to cook without a sharp knife because dull knives are dangerous. They don't show up to do surgery "by the seat of their pants". So why do people interpret ancient texts without consulting the most authoritative tools?

Thank you for indulging my appeal. I hope you find the tool helpful.

  • 2
    That's a useful article - thanks for linking it. In a sense, this post is the flip-side of the coin (or partner of some kind) to Dan's cri de coeur a few years back regarding the misuse of concordances. – Dɑvïd Sep 20 '18 at 18:43
  • "The inclusion of an actual dictionary definition may not seem significant if this is your first exposure to a Greek lexicon, yet it is a startling change from almost all previous Greek lexicons in any language. Traditionally lexicons have given only translation glasses-one word equivalents in the target language that suggest how the particular Greek word might be translated." Interesting. Does that explain why they were called lexicons rather than dictionaries? – curiousdannii Sep 20 '18 at 23:34
  • A lexicon is the complete vocabulary of a language or subject and a lexicon contains that lexicon. A dictionary of the complete language or subject would also be a lexicon. In modern linguistics there is no concern with an "essential meaning" of a word but instead all of the real world usages. It is odd to introduce "definitions" as that is a passe concern. And a lexicon indicates when a word might have a certain meaning but only if it is in the piel, or the genitive, or with words of "making", or other extenuating circumstances that are essential for properly interpreting the text. – Ruminator Sep 21 '18 at 0:00
  • Lately I've been availing myself also of logeion. The way I use it is modify the URL to include the word I want. For example, this is valid logeion URL: logeion.uchicago.edu/πᾶς which brings up the entry for πᾶς. If I want to research παρών I just replace with παρών and hit enter. I much prefer BDAG but this is very convenient both for researching AND more importantly, for sharing with others without cutting and pasting a whole entry. Nice! – Ruminator Sep 23 '18 at 15:41
  • This is a link to BDAG for purchase: logos.com/product/3878/… – Ruminator Sep 27 '18 at 2:34
  • And these are some other lexicons: letsreadgreek.com/resources/lexica.htm – Ruminator Sep 30 '18 at 23:36

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