NT Word Study

mlrolfe
Posts: 12
Joined: August 29th, 2015, 3:15 am

NT Word Study

Post by mlrolfe » August 12th, 2018, 6:21 am

I have been a member of the B-Greek forum from 2015, having begun self-learning NT Greek from about March that year. I almost always check out “Introductions” and share in the thoughts and motivation of people from around the world who are inspired to understand the NT in its original language (form). I have a number of scholarly reference grammars and lexicons and other books, which I am getting more out of now than early on. My emphasis when reading is on understanding.
I mostly choose to read from my “Word Study Greek English NT” by McReynolds, an interlinear New Testament. The thought of using an interlinear might put some readers heckles up, but this particular one gives a “first principles” translation which, might not always be the best but even so I have found it an invaluable tool in reading through the NT book by book. The great thing this book has, is the inclusion of a Greek Concordance and without this, it would be just another interlinear and possibly not as good as some.
I have only recently, marked out a thumbnail-like index on the concordance, for quicker reference. I divided the height and width of the concordance section into 8x3=24 sections which equates to the number of letters in the Greek alphabet. I gathered all the pages for “α“ and “red inked” them in a strip 5 to 10 mm long in the top 1/3 of the first (top) section of the eight equal sections dividing the height of the book. Then the same for “β” but in the next section down (2nd) and so on to “θ” at the bottom (8th) section. Gathering the pages for Iota “ι”, I marked the mid 1/3 of the first section (shared with Alpha) and continued the same with kappa down to Pi in the last section (with Theta). Similarly the pages for rho “ρ ”, I marked the bottom 1/3 of the first section (with Alpha and iota) and continued the same with Sigma down to Omega, the last section (with Theta and Pi). Having marked the book, I then had the delicate task of writing each letter of the Greek alphabet in its correct position down the eight sections and within the three subsections. The whole process took about two hours but well worth it.
One of the fascinations I get from the concordance is the ability to look for the root verb that is in “combination” with a preposition, for example “παράγγελλε” as in 1 Tim 5:7. The word άγγελλε has the familiar form άγγελλω in the concordance but this word is only used once in the NT in Jn 20:18, in the form “ἀγγέλλουσα”. While looking up παράγγελλω in the concordance there will usually be a lot of other “παρα” modified root verbs above and below on the page and an interesting study can be had from noting the effect of the preposition on the meaning of root of those verbs. This sort of study also leads on to morphology. There are a lot of “παρ” modified verbs where the root verb begins with a vowel and so the last “α” is dropped from “παρα”. A university course would go into these things in detail but the I have gained a lot through repeated reference via this concordance.
Another fascination is checking for “lost verbs” of the NT, that is verbs whose root form doesn’t appear in the NT but which do appear in the NT as a form in combination with a preposition. So I regularly find myself looking first for the root verb in the concordance before looking for the preposition-verb combination which has been used in the NT in some form or other, where I happen to be reading.
A third fascination is in becoming aware of synonyms in Greek.
I haven’t at this stage made a reference diary with a catalogue/index, for noting down discoveries but I’m thinking it might be time.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: NT Word Study

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 12th, 2018, 2:49 pm

This is where I normally launch into my "interlinears are the spawn of Satan diatribe" but I'll save that for later. As it is, whatever your perception, this is not the best way to go about learning the language. You are far better off using a standard primer for basic grammar and syntax, a reader edition for reading, and a standard lexical resource such as BDAG to look up words. As it is, you method will enable you to look at an English line below a Greek line, and find what Greek words exist behind an English translation. That is not the same as learning the language. This should be your test: σύ γε Ἑλληνιστὶ ἀναγνῶναι δύνασαι ὃ ὧδε γέγραφα;
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: NT Word Study

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 12th, 2018, 3:38 pm

You should get your hands on the "classic" textbook Biblical Words and Their Meaning, Moises Silva. It is out of date but still useful. Most other works on lexical semantics are written by and for linguists and somewhat technical.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: NT Word Study

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 12th, 2018, 4:05 pm

Yesterday and this morning I was doing something remotely similar to your study. I was looking at how προφανῶς is used in Greek Patristic authors particularly John of Damascus. I don't have a concordance so I had to search on the word and read each context. It is time consuming but you learn somethings doing it.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: NT Word Study

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 12th, 2018, 9:31 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
August 12th, 2018, 4:05 pm
Yesterday and this morning I was doing something remotely similar to your study. I was looking at how προφανῶς is used in Greek Patristic authors particularly John of Damascus. I don't have a concordance so I had to search on the word and read each context. It is time consuming but you learn somethings doing it.
And let me add that this is the right way to do a "word study." Look up each usage in context. Read as much of the context as you can...
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

timothy_p_mcmahon
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Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:47 pm

Re: NT Word Study

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » August 12th, 2018, 11:48 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
August 12th, 2018, 2:49 pm
"interlinears are the spawn of Satan"
Love it!
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mlrolfe
Posts: 12
Joined: August 29th, 2015, 3:15 am

Re: NT Word Study

Post by mlrolfe » August 13th, 2018, 6:15 am

Probably and some would say definitely, the wrong title for this post.
I have a copy of “The Precise Parallel New Testament” which has the Greek text plus seven translations. I often look up how these to compare with the Greek. Even as a novice of Greek, I can see that many of these prominent translations vary in the way they apply the strict grammar of the Greek text. But reading all seven translations gives a reader almost always the same understanding. I question the point of the strict concentration on grammar for someone beginning to study NT Greek. Are scholars saying that only the educated ever wrote or read anything in ancient Greece or NT times. How fixed or fluid was Greek speech in NT times. With what are called prepositions in Greek grammar, using only them and hand signals, someone could communicate with others. I wonder if the incessant concentration on strict grammar has shut out the fact that Greek might have also been very flexible in its expression in ancient and NT times and that was accepted.
Regarding my use of a Greek concordance, it does have all the uses of a word in the NT, other than words which are common. Therefore it is very convenient to see where a word is used and the brief citation from a verse. A Lexicon does not do that. A Greek concordance has enabled me to get an overview and to give a hint of the living language it used to be. I’m not shutting off to strict grammar but my goal is to read through the whole NT.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: NT Word Study

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 13th, 2018, 9:07 am

mlrolfe wrote:
August 13th, 2018, 6:15 am
I question the point of the strict concentration on grammar for someone beginning to study NT Greek. Are scholars saying that only the educated ever wrote or read anything in ancient Greece or NT times. How fixed or fluid was Greek speech in NT times. With what are called prepositions in Greek grammar, using only them and hand signals, someone could communicate with others. I wonder if the incessant concentration on strict grammar has shut out the fact that Greek might have also been very flexible in its expression in ancient and NT times and that was accepted.
We're probably talking past each other, you may not understand what we mean by grammar.

Here are two sentences that have the same words, but different grammar:

1. I hit him.
2. He hit me.

They don't mean the same thing. This has nothing to do with school teachers correcting your written sentences, no native speaker ever says anything in any language without using grammar to convey meaning. And even when you don't know the words, the grammar conveys a great deal. Jabberwocky is a good demonstration of this, you understand a great deal even when nonsense words are used:
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
So if you don't understand the grammar, what you don't understand is much of the meaning of the sentence. Especially in a highly inflected language like Greek, where the grammar often says things that English translations have to explain in other ways.

Funk's grammar has a great chapter that explains this: Learning a Language is Learning the Structure Signals.
It is commonly supposed that the major task in learning a new language is learning the lexical meanings of words. This is not in fact the case. The more important as well as the more difficult task is learning the grammatical structures and structure signals (Gleason: 98).

The basic significance of grammatical structures and structure signals in relation to major vocabulary is illustrated by the following text, which has been stripped of all major vocabulary.

In his _____ _____, [Socrates] was _____-ed in the
_____________ ____________ of his _______ and was ___________-ed with
___________ the _________._________ he __________-ed the ________
___________ _________ of ___________ and ________-ing. He ____-ed
the _______ with whom he _______ in _____ about the _____ _____
of ___. He was a ___ of _____ ____ and _____ _____ of
________. He was ______ _______ to ________ and
_____. In ________ he was ____-ed by a ______ _____ on the
________ of ________-ing _______ ______ and of _______-ing the
____. He was ______-ed ____ to _____. He _____-ed to _____.
_____ _____ after his _____ he _____ the _____.

The structure of sentences and word groups is clearly discernible, although the major lexical items have been omitted, with the exception of the subject of the paragraph, Socrates.
I recommend reading the entire chapter, not just this quote.

If you do not know the grammar of the language, you do not know the language, period. And the grammar is precisely what interlinears do not give you.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: NT Word Study

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 13th, 2018, 9:07 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
August 12th, 2018, 11:48 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
August 12th, 2018, 2:49 pm
"interlinears are the spawn of Satan"
Love it!
That's just one line from a longer and more emotional rant. Barry, could we have the full quote, please?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

RandallButh
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Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: NT Word Study

Post by RandallButh » August 14th, 2018, 4:53 am

There are natural orders for internalizing pieces of the grammar. For example, little kids may know a lot of vocab before they internalize -ed morphology. I don't remember the sequencing, but again, using the language will eventually get there. PS: make sure to use real words- like αγαπησαι αγαπησαι αγαπαν rather than double-think etymology αγαπαειν > αγαπαν.

Using all the 'funky' words is also important. Those are the common words that every little kid learned first and that resisted leveling into the "system". With funky verbs work on a little piece at a time, maybe 1-2 person in simple past or present. Greek Morphology at BLC can help with this.
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