One of the most powerful, yet underused, features in Logos Bible Software is the Louw-Nida (LN) Numbers that appear in English Bibles with the reverse interlinear option. They’re vitally important because they disambiguate the meaning of a word. In other words, an LN number indicates a word’s precise meaning in a specific context.
For example, in Matthew 17:5 the Lord admonishes people to “listen” to His beloved son. When we look up the meaning of the Greek word (akouo) translated listen we discover it could mean “hear,” “listen,” “pay attention to”, “obey”, etc. Which definition is correct for Matthew 17:5?
Johannes Louw and Eugene Nida, the authors of the LN numbers, point to what they believe to be the correct contextual definition of a word. Here’s one simple way to use these numbers:
- Open an English Bible with the reverse interlinear option such as the ESV
- Navigate to a verse such as Matthew 17:5
- Click the Interlinear icon on the Bible’s toolbar to display the reverse interlinear pane at the bottom of the Bible
- Click a word in the Bible such as “listen” to move the interlinear pane to that word
- Notice a LN number for each word appears in the interlinear pane
- Click LN 36.14, which is the LN number for “listen”
The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains opens to an article containing a complete definition for akouo in the context of Matthew 17:5! You don’t have to select from 10 possible meanings. Drs. Louw and Nida disambiguate the meaning for you.
The extended training on the LN Numbers is one of the favorite sessions in Camp Logos 2. We’ve taken that session and expanded it on our Camp Logos 2 LIVE DVD-ROM, which is currently available on pre-pub. Here’s a sneak peak at the video training that corresponds to the above instructions for the LN numbers.
How has studying the original languages helped your Bible study?