Re: Use of BAGD

From: Randy Leedy (
Date: Thu Nov 14 1996 - 12:12:42 EST

Before commenting on BAGD, I'd like to take a crack at Dr. Conrad by
expressing hope that my mountain of conceit is no higher than his
valley of humility is deep!

The question "how does one use BAGD" left me feeling something like
how I imagine a skier must feel lying under a snowslide. How can so
few words leave a person feeling so helpless? Thanks to Edgar Krentz
for such a helpful orientation to the direction an answer must take.
Part of my problem is that nobody ever taught me how to use this
lexicon. Yet I remember my delight as a third-year Greek student in
finding so many of my questions answered in it if I took the time to
explore its riches. I "grew into it," and it's always hard to explain
how that sort of thing happens.

Here, I think, is a key to unlocking the book: come to it with
questions about word meanings or associated grammatical
constructions, not with a blank slate, hoping for magical
enlightenment. (The exception, of course, is when the word in
question is totally unfamiliar.)

Those two kinds of questions are the ones on which I have found BAGD
most helpful. When the glosses I memorized for a particular word
don't work in a passage, or I'm left feeling that they may be
inadequate, I always find help in BAGD. And when part of the problem
involves a point of grammar CLEARLY ASSOCIATED WITH A GIVEN WORD
(here it helps immensely to have enough understanding of Greek
grammar to discern between an unusual case use, for example, and an
unusual connection between a particular case and the specific word it
associates with), BAGD has never failed to supply at least one
possible solution. (E.g., indicating via indefinite pronouns the
cases in which a verb can take its object.)

Once you begin to get a grasp for how the articles are organized, it
becomes much easier to find the help you need. The systematic use of
grammatical features as the basis for many articles' organization is
of great help. E.g., noting that the first major section of
discussion of a particular verb is labeled "trans." (transitive), or
with one of the voices, makes it relatively easy to navigate to the
part of the article whose description fits your given context. But,
again, it's all mysterious to the student who lacks familiarity with
the grammatical details that BAGD uses as organizational hooks.

Other articles (e.g. those on the prepositions and conjunctions) use
logical links (e.g. "time" or "cause") as their organizational
principle. Understanding of and sensitivity to these factors ahead of
time greatly facilitates the use of the lexicon.

One other point (that may already have been mentioned; I know it was
mentioned some months ago at least) is that the articles really need
to be studied as a whole. I don't think that means that every detail
needs to be mastered, but at least the key ideas indicated by the
major points in the outline should be taken into account in order to
distinguish a word's meaning in a given context from the other things
it can mean. LOGOS software users can be especially tempted to
shortcut this process, since a reference search will bring up
precisely the part of a BAGD article that cites the verse in

Sorry I can't seem to emulate Edgar's succinctness. (I did edit out
some extra verbiage, so maybe I'm getting better.) I hope there's
something in here that's worth the space.

By the way, on the topic of Carolina Greeks, I grew up a Buckeye
(Mansfield), but now I hang happily from a Palmetto tree.

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC

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