Re: Lexicon quest

Jonathan Robie (
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 13:30:51 -0500

At 12:11 PM 11/20/97 -0600, Todd Pedlar wrote:
>Hello all -
>A simple question, yet among the members of the group at hand,
>there may be quite a variety of responses to the question I'm
>posing... but I'll pose anyway:

You may be right, but I'll answer anyway...

>Any reason to prefer Mounce's lexicon to BAGD or vice versa?
>Do they compare in scope and treatment? How about Spicq?

These are completely different tools, for different purposes.


The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament
by William D. Mounce
Hardcover, 542 pages
Published by Zondervan Pub House
Publication date: March 1993
ISBN: 0310542103

This is an analytical lexicon. Look up a word as it appears in the NT text,
and it will tell you the possible grammatical forms and the root word, with
a very brief definition. This is really useful when you see a word and are
not quite sure what the grammatical form is.

I have descriptions for BAGD and three others on my Little Greek home page -
here they are:

A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament based on semantic domains,
Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida. New York, NY, United Bible Societies,
1988. ISBN:0-82670-3402.

This is the easiest lexicon to use for general translation
work, and the fastest one to look things up in. Most
lexicons try to give you a feeling for the different
kinds of meanings that a word might have, then point
you to examples which illustrate each meaning. To really
understand them, you have to digest the examples carefully.
This lexicon gives fewer examples and more complete
definitions, which makes it much easier to grasp the
meaning quickly. It also lets you look up words in
English and translate them into Greek, which can be useful
for exercises that require you to write Greek.

To use this lexicon, always start with the second volume
and look up the word in the alphabetical list. If you
don't, you will never figure out how to use it.

The cheapest place to buy it is the American Bible Society

A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian
literature, Walter Bauer, William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, Frederick
Danker. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1979. ISBN: 0-226-03932-3.

This is the standard Greek lexicon for New Testament
studies. I find that it takes longer to use than Louw
and Nida, but gives a more mature understanding. It
gives many more examples, and also points out grammatical
features of the words, which can be extremely helpful.
This lexicon does not attempt to give you a full
dictionary definition; instead, it tries to give
you the data to allow you to develop your own.

A Greek-English lexicon, Liddell, Scott, and Jones. Oxford: Clarendon Press;
New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-1986-42261.

This lexicon is for classical Greek, not for New
Testament Greek, but it can often give very helpful
insights into the meanings of words. Scholars
consider it extremely authoritative.

You can use it for free on the Internet at the
Perseus Project Search Page. The really cool thing
about this site is that you can look at the
definition of a word, see where it was used in
Greek literature, and click on the reference to
see the word in the original text! You can also
use this page to translate English into Greek,
parse the forms of words, examine the
frequency of words, etc.

You also asked about Spicq. I have only thumbed through Spicq, but if I
recall he gives longer, theological essays on each word that he discusses.
He does not attempt to discuss every word in the GNT. What I saw looked
really good. But this isn't a complete lexicon, and it isn't a place to
quickly look up the meaning of a word.

Hope this helps,


Jonathan Robie

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