Giving feedback to people doing word studies

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Matthew Longhorn
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Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Matthew Longhorn » September 26th, 2018, 12:41 pm

I received an email from someone in my church the other day asking if I would be willing to read his article on the Greek words translated as tongues and languages. He is doing this for the church and doesn't have any Greek training so wanted me to check that there weren't any obvious issues. On the whole I like what he wrote, and I like his desire to do it.
I am encouraged that he wants to look more deeply than the English translations but am uncertain as to whether I responded in the best way. Essentially he had listed each instance of the words glossa, dialektos etc and shown how they are translated in passages that seem contextually clear by noun case. He used a decent representative sampling of English translations which was good. He then moved to look at the "controversial" passages in 1 Corinthians and Acts with a view to glossolalia and xenolalia.
My response on the methodology, was basically that:
1. He cannot just look at the words, he needs to look at how they are used at minimum in the clausal and sentential level with article, prepositions etc to see if there is a clear parallels in the usages rather than just the word being the same. (he is already looking at the wider-textual context.
2. He cannot ignore the fact that meanings of words aren't finally determined by looking at other contexts, but needs to take into account individual context of utterance - for me that is not just the textual context but the social, cultural etc.
3. His lexicon used was Berry's Greek -English New Testament Lexicon; I don't have access to that so am not sure what standard of lexicon that is, but suggested he would benefit from using the likes of BDAG and Moulton-Milligan etc
4. Also that the Christians in 1 Corinthians wouldn't be matching meanings in the letter they received to other new testament texts, but to those in their language environment. By only taking into account New Testament texts his corpus was too small to make confident claims even if tentative suggestions could be generated

There were more points that I wanted to make, but my concern is that I don't want to discourage people digging deeper into the meaning of words by being pedantic. I also am aware that I am maybe setting too-high my standard of what needs to be done in word studies, especially given the resources most people have access to.

I can't be the only one to be asked to give feedback on studies in a church setting like this. What advice would you have as to how to be positive and encouraging while still trying to get across that there are complexities to be dealt with? If I am off base on any of the feedback I listed above as well it would be good to know as otherwise I am missing the point myself!
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 26th, 2018, 1:05 pm

Matthew Longhorn wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 12:41 pm
I can't be the only one to be asked to give feedback on studies in a church setting like this. What advice would you have as to how to be positive and encouraging while still trying to get across that there are complexities to be dealt with? If I am off base on any of the feedback I listed above as well it would be good to know as otherwise I am missing the point myself!
You're not missing the point. The problem is unsolvable. There are millions of people engaged in Bible study who use theological dictionaries and all sorts of others lexical aids. We don't want to shut these people down. Word studies are not going to go away.

The problem is really hermeneutics. A young friend sent me a link to a series of lectures by a professor at BIOLA[1] on hermeneutics. The professor encouraged top down exegesis. Don't focus on minutia.

[1]Professor Ben Shin
Last edited by Stirling Bartholomew on September 26th, 2018, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Matthew Longhorn » September 26th, 2018, 1:13 pm

Thanks Stirling, good to know that I am not just overthinking things and that there is an actual problem of how to respond in a positive way
A young friend sent me a link to a recent lecture by a professor at Talbot/BIOLA on hermeneutics. The professor encouraged top down exegesis. Don't focus on minutia
Do you still have that link anywhere? If so, any chance you could share it with me at some point in the future when you come across it?
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 26th, 2018, 1:16 pm

Matthew Longhorn wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 1:13 pm
Do you still have that link anywhere? If so, any chance you could share it with me at some point in the future when you come across it?
Search on: Ben Shin hermeneutics
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Matthew Longhorn » September 26th, 2018, 1:26 pm

Nice, thanks - a few videos that I can watch through
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Paul-Nitz » September 27th, 2018, 4:58 am

Matthew, Tell us what you found in that Ben Shin hermeneutics search. Anything recommendable?
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Matthew Longhorn » September 27th, 2018, 6:10 am

Hey Paul. It will be a while before I get to these - not able to take much in at the moment. If you happen to listen to them before I get to them it would be good to hear your thoughts
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Giving feedback to people doing word studies

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 27th, 2018, 5:31 pm

Matthew,

Here is a direct link to the lecture on top down exegesis.

http://open.biola.edu/resources/underst ... thods-shin

CSB
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