lexicons and word studies

From: KULIKOVSKY, Andrew (AKULIKOV@baea.com.au)
Date: Wed Nov 06 1996 - 15:54:23 EST

>So what are the differences between the different word study tools? When
>I use each? What is the standard operating procedure if I want to know
>a word
>really means?

Well Jonathan there is no simple answer to this question.
In fact I don't think this really is the right question to ask.
I used to ask this question before I did some reading
into word semantics and linguistics in general, but now
I ask the question: "What meaning(s) can this word
communicate when it is used?"

When you ask "what does this word REALLY mean?"
it implies that a word only has ONE TRUE correct
central meaning - but that is just bolderdash.

If a person wishes to communicate a thought, that
thought must be meaningful if it is to be received
and understood by another. The thought has meaning
and when the speaker or writer wishes to communicate
a meaning he selects words which he believes will
best communicate that meaning. There may be many
different words that could be used.

Also, another speaker may use the same words but
be communicating an entirely different thought.

I believe this concept is the basic idea behind Louw
and Nida's lexicon.

So the question we need to ask is "What meaning
does this word communicate IN THIS CONTEXT?"

Generally a word will only communicate ONE
meaning in any given context, unless it is used
in a deliberately ambiguous way to be a play-

Keep in mind that context is the best indicator of a
words meaning and also that the meaning that one
writer attaches to a word may be quite different to
the meaning another writer attaches to the same
word or the way we understand that word.

Basically look at how the word is used with respect
to its context - especially how it is used by a
particular author.

For further reading see Ch 1 of DA Carson's Exegetical
Fallacies, "Linguistics for Students of NT Greek" by
David Alan Black is brilliant and so are "Semantics of
NT Greek" by JP Louw and "Biblical Words and their
Meaning" by Moises Silva. Also "Style and Discourse"
by Louw, Nida, Cronje and Snyman is very helpful.


| Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc(Hons) MACS
| Software Engineer
| British Aerospace Australia
| Technology Park, Adelaide
| ph: +618 8290 8268
| fax: +618 8290 8800
| email: akulikov@baea.com.au
| What's the point of gaining everything this world has
| to offer, if you lose your own life in the end?
| ...Look to Jesus Christ

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:56 EDT