Re:Spiros Zodhiates

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sun Jun 18 2000 - 16:30:34 EDT

on 06/13/00 3:26 PM, Glenn Cook wrote:

> "The complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament" by Spiros Zodhiates
> TH.D. published by AMC Publishers Chattanooga, TN 37422. © AMC International
> 1992 revised 1993. ISBN 0-89957-663-X.

I have been using Spiros Zodhiates dictionary and have read perhaps fifty of
the articles. "The complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament"
(WSDNT) is what I would call a popular expository dictionary. Zodhiates is
very explicit in defining his basic target audience as those who know no
Greek what so ever. He states that a student who has studied NT Greek will
get greater benefit from the book but that no NT Greek background is
required to use this volume.

All the Greek words are transliterated.

The order of presentation in WSDNT is alphabetical under the Greek lemma's.
This system makes the book easier to use than NIDNTT (Colin Brown) which is
arranged according to English words. In WSDNT you can go directly to the
word in question without having to use a Greek index like you would in

WSDNT contains a lot of information. For each lemma Zodhiates gives basic
translation equivalents plus an extended expository style definition. He
cites sample passages from the GNT and often explains how the word is used
in context. He often includes information about syntactical properties of
the words usage. He includes lists of synonyms, antonyms and derivatives. He
states in his introduction that these lists are only intended to suggest
words that might be worth looking at to help understand the word being

In the articles I had read I have found nothing particularly surprising. If
you just look at the translation equivalents they do not differed
substantially from any of the standard NT Greek lexicons.

His explanations about NT Greek syntax which often are found with words like
particles, conjunctions, prepositions are sometimes quite long and wordy.
Zodhiates has his basic target audience in view and he explains things in
great detail.

The expository material is where you will find the most clear evidence of
Zodhiates theological commitments. Those who don't share his theological
commitments can simply ignore this material or read it critically. We all
have to do this all the time anyway when reading commentaries so this should
be no big deal.

I have not spent enough time with WSDNT to make a judgement about the
overall accuracy of the technical information content. The devil is in the
details and there is a lot of detail here. I would be particularly intrigued
to know if anyone has looked at his explanations of syntax and to what
extent he has suffered rather than benefited by being a native speaker of
modern Greek. This is just a conjecture on my part I have no hard evidence
that he has suffered at all in this respect.

When one picks up a popular work on biblical word studies one expects to
find wild flights of fancy and allegorical speculation that would have made
Origen tear his hair. So far I have found none of this WSDNT. There may be
some of this buried in articles on words like AGAPH which I have not read.

My overall impression of WSDNT is that Zodhiates has taken great pains to
produce an accurate and useful reference tool for English bible students
and neophyte NT Greek students. I think Zodhiates has succeeded in doing
what he set out to do. He had no intention of selling this thing to people
like Randall Buth or Wayne Leman or Daniel Riaño Rufilanchas.

WSDNT is the work of one man, not a collection of articles by 75 scholars.
Having come to this task with a negative attituded to begin with I must
admit that I am now forming a rather favorable impression of Spiros
Zodhiates the man. Those who simply despise "popluar literature" will find
this hard to understand.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062


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