Re: How to find the meaning of words (was: A question about tombs)

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Wed Apr 07 1999 - 12:46:00 EDT

Jeff Gibson wrote:

>Moreover, how do you account for the fact, if etymology is so vaunted a
>guide to
>meaning, that a word like DOXA, which originally had the sense "opinion" ,
>is used
>throughout the GNT with the meaning of "glory"?


I think you have set up a false antithesis between etymology and usage.
Both contribute to what a term means.

Let me take DOXA as parage case. It literally means that appearance which
something or someone has that affects other people.: What one "seems" or
"appears" to be.

It can therefore mean reputation, hnonor, fame, renown, as BAGD 3, s.v.
sayss, with enough NT references. Paul does not seek DOXA from the
Thessalonians, 1 Thes 2:6. In some cases it can refer to the external
appearance, "magnificence, splendor," BAGD 2, s.v.

In the case of God it refers to that which makes God the other, the CAVOTH
of the MT, which the LXX translators rendered with DOXA. God's glory is
that which he appears to be, light, power, etc.

Thus usage builds on etymology in this case, does not contradict it. In
extra-biblical Greek the term can refer to one who is ENDOXOS, i.e. has a
good reputation as citizen. It equals having TIMH.

Check out the references in BAGD and LSJ to expand on this.

Peace, Ed

Edgar Krentz
Professor of New Testament Emeritus
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 E. 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615 USA
e-mail: (Office) (Home)

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