Lexicons for Biblical Studies:
The Bible was written in Hebrew (Old Testament), Greek (New Testament)
and a little in Aramaic (eg parts of Daniel). Other languages are
important for understanding obscure vocabulary (eg Akkadian helps with
Hebrew), for understanding early translations of the Bible (eg Latin &
Syriac) or for understanding literature in background cultures (eg
2LetterLookup is much easier to use than most lexicons. You don't have
to know the exact form of the word you are looking for - you only need to
know the first two letters, without any pointing or accents. Hebrew
lexicons are particularly difficult to use because 'weak' letters
from the root are often missing, so you have to look up a multitude
of possibilities - but the 2LetterLookup checks them for you and
presents the possible results. For Bible words, it is easy to
identify the Hebrew and Greek words using tools such as the Blue
Letter Bible (click on C for concordance and Hebrew/Greek) or Study
Light (requires fonts).
2LetterLookup links you to real lexicons (listed below). Small lexicons like Strong's are useful to
identify the word, but real lexicons take you much further. You can
find out what the word usually means, what it means in different contexts,
and the range of meanings. Looking up the English provides a list of other
similar words which the author decided not to use. And sometimes (very
rarely) a lexicon may provide the clue to a different reading,
especially in the Old Testament where the vowel pointing was added later
so it isn't always reliable.
How to identify the root of a word:
A word can be made up of a Prefix + Root + Suffix.
The 2LetterLookup lexicon only needs the first two letters of the
so although prefixes cause confusion, you don't need
to be concerned about suffixes.
Greek words often have prefixes but
they are usually part of the root, so there is no need to remove
eg words starting α- (which act like
English "un-") are listed in a lexicon under α-
Greek verbs in past tenses have prefixes which do need to be removed
from the root.
ε- prefixes Aorist and Imperfect
verbs, and sometimes Pluperfect.
Rε- (where R is a repeat
of the first consonant) prefixes Perfect and sometimes Pluperfect,
"he loosed" is ἔλυε
(imperfect) or λέλυκε
(perfect), so if a word starts with RεR- (where R are identical letters), remove
the Rε -
Some letters are
prefixed with a similar-sounding letter, instead of an identical letter,
ie κεχ - πεφ - τεθ -
Hebrew & Aramaic words have a
variety of prefixes which should be removed. If the word starts
with one of the following, try it looking up both with it and without it.
|ב - 'in, on, with, by'
ד - (Aramaic) 'of'
ה - 'the' or causative tense
ו - 'and'
י - imperfect
|כ - 'like, according to, as'
ל - 'to, for'
מ - 'from, some of', or a participle
נ - reflexive tense
(Aramaic) 'which, who'
Weak Hebrew verbs sometimes lose a
'weak' letter from their root,
ie the letters א ה י ו
and also נ if it is the first
2LetterLookup lists possible weak verbs based on the
possible combinations with the two letters which are supplied.
Lexicons and tools accessible through the 2-LetterLookup:
Middle Liddell & Scott: Greek-English
Lexicon (hosted at Perseus)
& Chaldee (ie Aramaic) Lexicon (hosted at TyndaleArchive)
of Targumim, Talmud & Midrashic
Literature (hosted at TyndaleArchive)
Concordance of Hebrew vocabulary with English (at CrossWire)
Bible Concordance of Greek
vocabulary with English (at Re:
W.E. Crum Coptic
Dictionary (hosted at TyndaleArchive)
Compendious Syriac Dictionary (hosted at TyndaleArchive)
Hebrew Dictionary (hosted at TyndaleArchive)
Greek Lexicon with verse vocabulary lists (at BlueLetterBible)
Dictionary (at CopticChurch)
Dictionary (at The
Hittite Grammar Homepage)
Other useful lexicons on the web
modern Hebrew dictionary (type in English, pointed or unpointed
Don't be put off by the Hebrew interface. Just type in
the box and press Enter.
Gives straightforward answers in English
& pointed Hebrew, very quickly.
Dictionary of the Hebrew Language (subscription
Virtually all classical Hebrew literature linked to dictionary
& morphological analysis.
Semantics of Ancient Hebrew
Database (in development)
Detailed bibliography and careful
of Biblical Hebrew (UBS)
Biblical Hebrew with accurate brief
entries, semantic domains and links to the Hebrew text.
Aramaic Lexicon (and Syriac)
Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic
Kalós (a free
program for PCs & Macs)
25,000 definitions and morphological
Aramaic Comprehensive Aramaic
Lexicon (needs fonts)
to use but full entries make it worth it.
Greek Morphology analysis
Type in the word as it occurs in the
Demetrios - Database of
Septuagint Greek (in development)
Scholarly articles on words (very
little as yet)
& Short Latin Dictionary (hosted at Perseus)
Words (free program for Macs & PCs)
fast dictionary with some morphology.
Latin Morphological Analysis
Other ancient languages:
Demotic Dictionary (incomplete)
Hittite Dictionary (only vols from P onwards)
Lexicon (on The
Hittite Grammar Homepage)
Akkadian (provisional dictionary)
English & modern languages:
Search 992 Online
English Dictionaries at Once!
- including 19 which knew the word
"bodacious" (one of the better words invented by Americans).
English Dictionary (subscription)
Knows the word 'bodacious' but
misunderstands it. The editors don't get out much.
Translating Dictionaries - 35 modern languages
Useful for simple
terms. It hasn't heard of 'bodacious' or 'eschatology'
and it can't
translate 'capricious' into French though it can translate it into
YourDictionary - a
seeming endless list of modern language dictionaries.
ForeignWord - a
framed link to 275 online dictionaries. Neat.
The best dictionaries for the main 'theological' languages are
German - knows
'bodacious' and 'eschatology'
Spanish - knows 'eschatology' but
- a wiki project, which knows both 'bodacious' and 'eschatology'
Italian - knows
'eschatology' and 'bodacious'. Needs free registration.