Faithlife Corporation

Business Hours

Monday – Saturday
6 AM – 6 PM PDT
Local: 7:36 PM

Greek KeyLinking: A Strategy

Different packages of Logos Bible Software contain different configurations of Greek lexical material. Sometimes, users have problems in determining how to link to a specific resource in a given instance. Other users understand the basics of keylinking from Greek Bible text into a Greek lexicon but have yet to proceed to the next logical step of keylinking from Greek text anywhere in any resource into a Greek lexicon.

The intent of this article is to discuss a particular keylinking strategy with specific Greek resources in order to provide the user with a greater understanding of the generic applicability of Logos Bible Software's KeyLinking functionality. After reading this article, the user will hopefully be able to take stock of their available lexical resources and determine a keylinking strategy to maximize the use of their resources in their Biblical studies.

Resource Inventory

The first step in determining a Greek keylinking strategy is to take inventory of your Greek resources. The below list is not comprehensive of potential Greek keylink destinations, but it is likely to contain references to your Greek lexical resources. The below list is in no particular order.

  • BDAG: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Third Edition)
    This is the latest available edition of this highly-prized lexicon. The articles contain significant and up-to-date discussions on what words mean in various contexts in the New Testament and other available literature, such as that of the Apostolic Fathers. It discusses virtually every word in the Greek New Testament and words that occur in other "Early Christian Literature."
  • BAGD: A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Second Edition)
    This is a previous edition of BDAG, mentioned above. It is also known as BGD. Note that this edition is no longer available, but is mentioned here as many long-time users of Logos Bible Software do still have access to this resource.
  • TDNT: The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Unabridged)
    This is the massive 10 volume set. It thoroughly discusses all aspects and development of every significant (as deemed by the editors) word in the Greek New Testament.
  • TDNTA: The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged
    This is an abridged form of TDNT.
  • LSJ: A Greek-English Lexicon
    This is the primary lexicon for classicists, containing over 125,000 articles. It is not Biblical in scope, though it does contain some references to Biblical usage (LXX and NT). LSJ's definitions are not nearly as extensive as those of, say BDAG or TDNT. However, it is a valuable lexicon for its breadth of coverage. It is valuable in the study of less frequently used words and also in studying words used in the Septuagint (LXX). It also provides numerous non-Biblical (non-Christian) citations for its entries if one desires to study secular usage and development of a given word.
  • Middle Liddell: An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon
    This is an abridged form of LSJ.
  • Louw-Nida: A Greek-English Lexicon based on Semantic Domains
    This lexicon is ordered by semantic domain. A semantic domain is sort of like a sphere of meaning. Like words (note: not necessarily synonyms) are grouped together. The same word may occur in multiple domains.
  • LEH: A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust-Eynikel-Hauspie)
    This is a lexicon of the Greek in the Septuagint (LXX) and as such is useful for studying LXX usage. In addition, it may be helpful in studying quotes from the Old Testament in the New Testament as many of these appear to be LXX-based.
  • ANLEX: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament
    This lexicon is useful in ways that other available Greek lexicons are not. It is an analytical lexicon which means that it contains listings for not only lexical forms of words, but also each inflected form of a given lexical form that appears in the Greek New Testament. These inflection articles also contain a link to the lexical form.
  • WSNT Dictionary: The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament
    This lexicon was prepared by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates. It contains very helpful definitions that have more depth than some basic entry-level lexicons, yet the presentation of the information is still accessible by those who know little to nothing about Greek.
  • DBL Greek: Dictionary of Biblical Languages: Greek
    This is a rather basic lexicon. It is additionally useful in that it groups its senses (at the word level) by semantic domain. So, an article for a given form will associate semantic domains with each sense of the word. As such, it is useful for getting a quick idea of the different senses of a given word.
  • Enhanced Strongs Lexicon
    This is a rather basic lexicon with adequate definitions.
  • New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries
    The NAS Greek Dictionary contains short, adequate defintions that impart the primary senses of the word under study.
  • Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (UBS)
    This is the lexicon that many will find in the back of the print edition of their UBS Greek New Testament.

Classes of Lexicons

For this particular keylinking strategy, it is useful to delineate a few different classes of lexicon, based on the above list. The below classification is not intended to be comprehensive. Rather, the division into these "classes" is intended to show that different lexicons meet different needs. This is not an attempt to pigeon-hole particular lexica into a particular class. Some may classify their lexica differently than the below. The underyling point is that different lexicons meet different needs, and that understanding a particular lexicon's scope and use helps identify how to use that lexicon within Logos Bible Software.

  • New Testament, Basic Definitions: Enhanced Strongs Lexicon, NAS Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries, Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (UBS)
  • New Testament, Basic Defintions and Semantic Domain Information: Louw-Nida, DBL Greek
  • New Testament, Basic Definitions and Comprehensive Listings of Inflections: ANLEX
  • New Testament, Extended Definitions: BDAG, BAGD, WSNT Dictionary 
  • New Testament, Comprehensive Treatment of Selected Words: TDNT, TDNTA
  • Septuagint, Basic Definitions: LEH Lexicon
  • "Classical" Greek, Comprehensive Coverage: LSJ, Middle Liddell

Armed with the above information, it is now time to determine a primary resource for each class of lexicon. For the balance of this article, the following list is assumed:

  • New Testament, Basic Definitions: DBL Greek 
  • New Testament, Basic Defintions and Semantic Domain Information: Louw-Nida
  • New Testament, Basic Definitions and Comprehensive Listings of Inflections: ANLEX
  • New Testament, Extended Definitions: BDAG
  • New Testament, Comprehensive Treatment of Selected Words: TDNT
  • Septuagint, Basic Definitions: LEH Lexicon
  • "Classical" Greek, Comprehensive Coverage: LSJ

You may notice the listing of DBL Greek for the New Testament, Basic Definitions class. This is a personal preference as Louw-Nida is really the better lexicon to fill the position of Semantic Domain lexicon but the DBL Greek articles and sense delineation are (in the opinion of the article author) better than the alternatives for the Basic Definition position.

KeyLink Order

Once the different classes each have been assigned an appropriate lexicon, it is time to determine the keylink order. Logos Bible Software (via the Tools | Options | KeyLink | KeyLinking dialog) allows users to order keylink destinations according to personal preference. Ordering of keylink preferences is an important aspect to one's use of the keylink feature. KeyLinking essentially allows the user to right-click (or double-click) on any word in any window and look for further information on that word. Therefore, when that keylink is invoked, it is important to end up in a lexicon or dictionary that is appropriate for what one desires to learn about the word in question.

The keylink functionality is such that if the first destination examined does not contain the desired article, the second listed destination will be examined. If the second destination comes up empty, then the third destination is evaluated, and so on.

This is why keylink order is important. For Greek, it is quite possible that a user will have a preferred lexicon (BDAG, in many cases) as a primary destination. However, outside of a morphologically tagged Greek New Testament, it is also quite possible that a particular form of a Greek word will not be available in a given lexicon. Therefore it is vital to use keylink order to specify a series of fall-backs to catch adequate definitions for inflected forms of words as efficiently as possible given one's available lexical resources.

Knowing the scope and intended use of each lexicon, therefore, becomes important as this knowledge will directly affect ones keylink order. This is why time was spent above determining classes of Greek lexicons, so that keylink order could be specified by class of lexicon. The below class order is offered as a suggestion.

Note: Detailing how to specify keylink order is outside of the scope of this article. For more information on how to specify keylink order and preferences, see the An icon to indicate a web link to the Libronix DLS. LDLS Help Manual.

  • New Testament, Extended Definitions: BDAG
  • New Testament, Basic Definitions and Comprehensive Listings of Inflections: ANLEX
  • New Testament, Basic Definitions: DBL Greek 
  • Septuagint, Basic Definitions: LEH Lexicon
  • "Classical" Greek, Comprehensive Coverage: LSJ
  • New Testament, Basic Defintions and Semantic Domain Information: Louw-Nida
  • New Testament, Comprehensive Treatment of Selected Words: TDNT

Of course, the above listing isn't much help without understanding why the above order is suggested. There are a few reasons for this.

First, BDAG is simply the best and most up-to-date lexical resource for the study of New Testament Greek. Period. [Yes, this is the opinion of the article author, but it is also the opinion of just about everyone else who studies NT Greek as well — RB] Therefore it should be the first resource examined when a keylink on Greek is invoked.

However, for all its worth and merit, BDAG only functions as a keylink destination when the lexical form (lemma) is being looked up. If one has keylinked on an inflection of a particular word, it will not be located in BDAG. Therefore, it is helpful to have ANLEX listed directly after it as ANLEX does have topic listings for virtually every inflected form in the Greek New Testament. ANLEX is also helpful in that it associates a lexical form (lemma) with each inflection so that one can then keylink right back to BDAG (or into ANLEX, or into some other lexicon) from the lexical form listed with the inflected form in ANLEX. ANLEX, therefore, can function as a catch-all for inflected forms of words in the Greek New Testament, directing the user to further discussions of the word in ANLEX itself (via a direct link) or back into other lexicons (such as BDAG) though keylinking. As such, ANLEX merits a rather high keylinking precedence.

Keylink order after this is really quite subjective. It is important to include the Septuagint lexicon in an effort to catch non-NT words. And it is important to include LSJ (or Middle Liddell) as they are the most comprehensive Greek lexicons available as regards scope of words covered to catch anything else that happens to fall through. If the Greek term in question makes it past LSJ, then the outlook is bleak.

But there is more to keylinking than simply Right-Click | Execute Keylink (or double-clicking) ...

KeyLinking Via Flyouts

Keylinking to a specific Greek Lexicon (#1)Have you noticed that the contents of the right-click menu (and its flyouts) are dynamic? That is, they are generated based on the context of what is right-clicked. In particular, the Selected Text flyout contains all sorts of fun stuff that can be utilized. Most importantly, however, is the list of resources that are available keylink destinations for the text that has been selected.

In the example to the right, a particular inflected form of a Greek word is highlighted. Note that this is just normal Greek text that occurs in a volume of the Word Biblical Commentary (vol. 46). As this is Greek text, the Right-Click | Selected Text flyout contains a listing of available keylink destinations for Greek — the keylink list presented as ordered above. Note that by selecting a title from the list, you can override the default keylink order and instead keylink into a specific resource. In this instance, as the selected term is an inflected form of a Greek word, rather than waste time searching BDAG in vain, the keylink is directed straight into ANLEX to find the lemma that is desired.

Keylinking to a specific Greek Lexicon (#2)So, this is another reason for inserting various classes of lexicons into ones preferred keylink order. If, for some reason, one does not want to simply keylink into ones normally-preferred destination but rather into a different sort of lexicon — say, a lexicon that contains thorough discussions on particular words — then doing so is easy. In this case, suppose the intended lexicon is TDNT. TDNT, of course, is ordered primarily by lexical forms (lemmas). So, once again, the catch-all of ANLEX is used as an intermediate step to get into TDNT.

This strategy can be used for any class of lexicon. If one is studying the Septuagint (LXX) then one can keylink from the lemma in Logos' morphologically-tagged LXX straight into the LEH Lexicon by selecting the proper option from the lemma flyout. Interested in semantic domains? Then keylink straight into Louw-Nida from a lemma or, if on an inflected form, use the catch-all of ANLEX and then hop via keylink to Louw-Nida from the lemma in ANLEX. Use a similar strategy to hop to a basic definition in, say DBL Greek. Once the scope of keylinking is understood and one's prioritized keylink destinations are set up to take advantage of the feature, the combinations are vast. One's study can be tailored to make most efficient use of available lexical resources.

Conclusion and General Application

The keylinking functionality of the Libronix Digital Library System offers many degrees of usage. The easiest is to simply let the system's configuration be, and to double-click on words to arrive at keylink destinations. This is adequate for many.

However, understanding the keylinking functionality and taking advantage of the opportunities the system offers to adjust keylinks adds power to one's study. Tailoring the order in which lexicons are evaluated ensures that a hit of some sort, if it is to be found, will be found quickly.

In addition, using the Right-Click | Selected Word flyout to selectively keylink in a particular situation to a specific lexicon is a powerful way to customize keylinking and to utilize available lexicons in a manner that might otherwise be under-utilized.

It is possible that a strategy similar to the above could be implemented for each language or datatype (Strongs numbers?) that a user desires. This will take some experimentation on the part of the user, as well as some analysis of the content and purpose of potential keylink destinations. This is left as an exercise to the user.

See also: