Friday, January 2, 2009

Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, Stephen D. Renn, Editor

Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, Stephen D. Renn, Editor

The study of tracing a word’s origin, meaning and usage over time is known as etymology. It has been said that words are the vehicle of thought and that one cannot know a thought without the use of words. This is a valuable point for those who believe in thought inspiration over word inspiration—without words there is no thought! The study of biblical words has one that has fascinated and enriched my study of God’s word for as long as I can remember, so I am always on the look for valuable reference tools that assist with enriching my knowledge of words. This Expository Dictionary of Bible Words is a valuable resource in learning words and their meanings in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

The book states it covers over 7,260 Hebrew and Greek words. It groups these words under an English word in the Bible so one can see not only how Hebrew and Greek words relate to one but how they relate to the given English word. The Hebrew word(s) and Greek words(s) is provided with an English transliteration and definition of how the term is used in the Bible. Each Hebrew and Greek term is coded to the Strong’s Numbering System which makes comparative study much easier. In addition, there are valuable articles discussing various points relating to the subject at hand. There are also cross-references to other English words which may be of use. In the back of the book are indices to Hebrew and Greek words which show a listing of every English word that these words appear. These indices show how English words relate to one another and the original term itself.

Included in some editions of this work is a bonus CD that includes the entire book in PDF format that is searchable. It also contains other valuable reference materials such as Young’s Literal Translation, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Torrey’s New Topical Textbook, Bible History in Old Testament, Lightning Bible Atlas and others. The work claims to be “a feature-rich modern replacement for the classic Vine’s Expository Dictionary.” While the work is extremely valuable, I would prefer to think of this work as a strong comparative work to Vine’s work rather than a replacement to it. If you enjoy Vine’s Expository Dictionary, then you will also appreciate this dictionary as well. The structure of this book is unique as to provide further insight that is available with Vine’s. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words is an extremely valuable reference tool for those who wish to explore the meaning of Hebrew and Greek words more fully and how these relate to our English Bibles. For a more studious review of the work, I suggest reading Wayne Jackson’s article on the material at One will want to be sure and keep brother Jackson’s observations in mind when utilizing this valuable reference work.

Stephen R. Renn served as the Head of Bible Studies and Academic Dean at the Syndney Missioanry and Bible College where he lectured on Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew for over 15 years. He also serves as Coordinator of Language Teaching in Australia.

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