8 Reasons Why Every Exegete Needs “An Interpretive Lexicon of New Testament Greek”
Lately I’ve had biblical exegesis on the brain, because I’ve been involved in a lengthy translation project. Recently, an issue arose with the contextual meaning of the preposition πρός linking two clauses, whether it should be translated “to” or “into.”
I wish I would have had the fabulous new exegetical resource An Interpretive Lexicon of New Testament Greek. It would have made the past eight months of my life a little easier, because it’s goal is to bring relief to the exegete by taking much of the legwork out of analyzing important connecting words, particles, and other markers.
After perusing this guide, it is clear there are at least eight reasons by every exegete needs An Interpretive Lexicon of New Testament Greek:
1) It helps discern logical relationships between propositions.
“[The] New Testament’s communication entails meaningful and logical relationships between statements and propositions.” (5) This guide is intended as an aide to help you discern such relationships between propositions within the Gospels, Pauline Epistles, and General Epistles in order to enhance your exegetical projects.
2) It provides a taxonomy of functions performed by key Greek propositional markers.
“[In] the Greek New Testament, words such as ἐπεί and οὖν signal certain meaningful relationships between clauses.” (6) This guide is a taxonomy of sorts, charting the function of such connecting words, particles, and other markers.
3) It helps you convey the main ideas in NT communication.
“Lexicon examines and categorizes such key words found in the Greek New Testament that indicates relationships between clauses and that are therefore integral to conveying and supporting a main idea (or main ideas) in communication.” (7)
4) It culls the author's meaning from their carefully chosen words.
“The content, or meaning, that an author wishes to communicate in a text has a direct influence on the words he or she chooses to use.” (18)
The editors explain clausal relationships and exegetical meaning are derived by discerning the “shape” of the words in the text, which represent and “is determined by the author’s meaning in context, not vice versa.” (18) This handbook helps you cull their conveyed meaning by understanding their carefully chosen words in context.
5) It categorizes important Greek “road signs” for exegesis.
“A word is, in this sense, like a road sign that says ‘Now leaving Cheltenham: Welcome to Philadelphia.’ The sign itself is not the city or the reason one is leaving Cheltenham and entering Philadelphia. But it represents the reality of being in a new location as well as the reality of Philadelphia…” (18)
While Lexicon isn’t an exhaustive guide to meaningful relationships between propositions, it does “categorize the relationships ordinarily represented by a given word when such a word appears in the text.” (18)
6) It guides contextual meaning.
“[A] specific word cannot mean anything, but has limited meaning potential, and context will help determine specifically how that meaning potential is brought to realization in a text. A word must mean something definite in each specific context, and the possibility of that word’s meaning is limited in scope by its ordinary, conventional use in a given language and community.”
Lexicon is the ideal resource for guiding such determinations within context.
7) It’s foundation is anchor Greek New Testament resources.
“While this Lexicon is intended as a resource for exegesis, by its very nature it is a summary of the work of others.” (13) Unique to Lexicon is its foundation: it is firmly anchored in the best Greek NT resources.
For each entry the editors provide page and section references from BDAG (’00) and/or BAGD (’79). The entries in this handbook have also been keyed to relevant sections in two other books: Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics and Harris’s Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament.
8) It eases interpretive legwork.
While, the editors contend “it is up to the exegete to do the interpretive legwork,” their exegetical guide does ease such work. Lexicon demonstrates with clarity “1) the meaning of a great majority of conventional uses of words, and 2) how those words express logical relationship that language uses to communicate.” (21)
Whether you’re a first-year seminary student, seasoned biblical scholar, exetically-minded pastor—even an armchair exegete, Gregory K. Beale’s, Daniel Joseph Brendsel’s, and William A. Ross’s handbook to NT Greek needs to be within arm’s reach.
Buy it today to add it to your exegetical arsenal.
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