Re: Misuse of Strong's?

From: George Athas (
Date: Sun Mar 01 1998 - 14:11:18 EST

Theodore H. Mann wrote:

> I have many friends and acquaintances who do the following: They
> come across a term that interests them in their favorite English
> translation, locate that term in Strong's Hebrew or Greek lexicon/s,
> notice several other possible translations of the term, and replace the
> word in their translation with a synonym from Strong's that better
> supports their theological position, or that they think provides an
> insight of greater depth. Am I in error when I tell them that "that
> ain't the way it works"? I tell them that although a given Hebrew or
> Greek term may often be translated in a variety of ways, the exact
> translation in any given instance depends on a variety of
> factors--grammatical, syntactical, contextual, etc. Is my response
> responsible? (If not, I will have to contact quite a number of people
> and explain that I have misled them. Not that it matters too much, since
> I haven't noticed my friends and acquaintances changing their habits
> appreciably as the result of my "instruction.")

Good on you, Ted! You're on the right track.

> Note to Fellow Beginning Greekers: There is a wonderful book (in my
> opinion) available, with which you may or may not already be familiar.
> It is by D.A. Carson, and is entitled "Exegetical Fallacies." (Baker) It
> focuses on many of the all-too-common errors made by preachers, writers,
> and most of the rest of us non-scholars, in our amateur (amateurish?)
> attempts to "handle" biblical Greek. I picked it up as the result of
> someone else mentioning it on the list, and I would like to recommend it
> to you.

I haven't read the book, but I heard Don Carson give a number of riveting
sermons at a conference here in Sydney over the weekend. I've also heard
"Exegetical Falacies" is a very good book from a number of people. If his
writing is a tenth as good as his speaking (and I'm confident it is), then
this book must be a goer!

George Athas
 PhD (Cand.), University of Sydney
 Tutor of Hebrew, Moore Theological College
Phone: 0414 839 964 ICQ#: 5866591

(Visit the Tel Dan Inscription Website at)

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