Q281 : Hebrew and Greek Language Study Resources

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Q281 : Hebrew and Greek Language Study Resources

My daughter would like to delve more into the Hebrew and Greek meanings of words. (She doesn't read either language.) She's aware that every word that God uses is intentional & therefore translations may mask something, with the best will in the world. So not a dictionary, but something which goes into more depth about origins, usage, contextual & cultural information as well if possible. This request is about book format, not online. She likes books.

Is there such a book? We've got Strongs, interlinear study Bibles etc, but she's wanting to know more, if possible.

A281 : by Tony Garland

Since your daughter prefers physical books over electronic/online resources, all the recommended links included below are to print versions of the resources. Having said that, I would also encourage her to consider the benefits of electronic versions. The benefits of electronic versions over an equivalent print edition can include the following: 1) often less expensive; 2) more portable; 3) vastly faster to search; 4) easy pop-up of related passages, abbreviations, and cross-references; 5) ease of extracting information for used in papers, articles, or blogs. It is an amazing time we live in where an entire, otherwise bulky, set of study aids can be carried and conveniently accessed via a tablet, such as an iPad. Having said that, I also realize that electronic devices can be as much of a curse as a blessing at times and for many people, "there is nothing like a real book." All of the recommended resources are available in both print and digital format. (I have to confess that I have most in both formats. I use digital resources almost exclusively, but refuse to depend on them for what I consider important core works.)

Another thing worth mentioning, when embarking on a quest to gain greater facility with the original languages of scripture, is a continued need for humility. It amazes me how frequently one encounters students of the Bible who lack formal training in the original languages, yet having taken the next step of acquiring some lexicons and word-study resources, have now arrived at "deeper insights" into the text which run counter to the conclusions of vastly more trained and equipped translation committees behind some of the best translations of today. There are definitely riches to be mined by a more intimate consideration of the original language terms, but there is also a much greater opportunity for abuses due to ignorance (and pride). Even so, the benefits are worth the risk—so long as one remembers to keep one’s feet on the ground.

At any rate, I've appended links to some resources I can recommend. I've split them into three levels.

Level 1

The first step, or if one were could only afford a single volume to help gain a better grasp of the underlying original language terms, this is the resource I’d opt for.

Level 2

These resources expand greatly upon those mentioned in the previous level, but still provide great value in relation to the bulk, cost, and verbiage involved:

Level 3

These resources can cost substantially more, are more bulky, but are considered some of the standard works for serious students of the original languages.

For the New Testament (Greek), consider the following:

  • A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literaturee by Frederick Danker (editor). Also known by an acronym made up of the last names of its contributors: BDAG. (An earlier work, BAGD (copyright 1979) is the predecessor to BDAG. They are much the same but BDAG is a revised and completely reformatted work, making it easier to use for Greek students.)
  • Greek-English Lexiconf by Liddell and Scott. Includes Greek terms and usage beyond the Biblical corpus, including pre-classical and classical Greek. Can be especially helpful when considering Greek terms which otherwise only appear once (hapax legomenon, "[only] once written") in the New Testament (making comparative word study difficult—although use of the Greek OT, the Septuagint can also help here).
For the Old Testament (Hebrew and Aramaic), consider the following:

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