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In reading the Bible, I can run across the same English word used in both the OT and the NT. But I am sure it would be incorrect to look up either a Hebrew or Greek definition and impose that upon the word in the other language.

In my mind, about the only thing I can think of is an all-Greek or all-Hebrew Bible (OT + NT) and see if the same word is used both places.

Is there an easier way to do this (either in books, software, or online)?

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  • 1
    What is the goal of this comparison? The right method will depend on that.
    – user2672
    Jan 28, 2019 at 7:56
  • 2
    Classic is using the LXX.
    – Perry Webb
    Jan 28, 2019 at 9:59
  • Incidentally, LXX Greek is notoriously full of Semiticisms (e.g. thalassa used indiscriminately of sea/lake, parallel to yam, or kardia mirroring lev as the seat of the will), and it's argued that this was probably true of Palestinian Greek too given the substratum, so certainly a general Ancient Greek dictionary isn't going to apply perfectly. Jan 28, 2019 at 16:23
  • @Keelan: The goal is to be accurate and honest with the Scriptures as I try to correlate words translated into English in the OT and the NT. For example: "glory" as used of God (OT) and Jesus (NT). In one sense, it's basically the same thought. But do the Hebrew and Greek words include different thoughts or nuances that would make them not a 1-for-1 match?
    – EdNerd
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:14
  • Then, yes, best would be to use the LXX as @PerryWebb mentioned. (In case you don't know, this is short for the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.) The NT authors mainly used this text as a source, so any intertextual allusions will likely be based on the LXX. That will be much more accurate than comparing words in a modern Greek/Hebrew translation of the full bible. However, if you are interested in comparing cultures, it would be better to take a theological dictionary and read the entries there. The NT authors did not always understand the HB culture.
    – user2672
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:25

3 Answers 3

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Executive summary: Try this link.

https://studybible.info/compare/Numbers%2010:36

You will be able to read the OT and NT in Greek and compare to many other translations.

If you want a quick way to get word definitions from the LXX using HELPS-Word Studies, copy the Strong's number and switch it out for any word in the NT on www.biblehub.com's interlinear.

I hope that helps.

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  • This was a helpful answer. Why did someone down-vote it? If you downvote something proper etiquette is to give a reason why. May 3, 2019 at 2:24
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There is a free program called Online Bible available at http://onlinebible.net/. It has a Hebrew Lexicon called LXX_HebToGrk that tells you all the Greek words that the LXX used to translate every Hebrew word. Then you search for that Greek word in the NT to see how it is used.

It also has a Greek Lexicon called LXX_GrkToHeb that does the converse.

These 2 handy lexicons may be available elsewhere, but I just know of them in Online Bible.

Another way is to look at OT verses that are quoted in the NT, and see how the Hebrew words are translated into Greek by the inspired NT writer.

Here is an example:

Many of the Psalms say למנצח in the Psalm header. The word is usually translated "for the choir director", but literally means "to one excelling." LXX translated it with the same Greek word as "he that overcomes" in Revelation 2-3. The Jubilee 2000 Bible translates this word in the Psalm titles as "to the overcomer". These are psalms that are harder to get into.

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That is the reason the English translations are problematic. English words have been very fluid and meanings have changed since the first translations began in the 15th & 16th centuries. Just reading an English translation skims the surface of the word of God. Unless we know Hebrew and/or Greek, we need tools such as the Interlinear, the commentaries, Strong's definitions, Thayer's Lexicon, etc.

One very quick tool I have found is to bounce the English translations against Young's Literal Translation, since it is a word for word "dictionary" edition. Robert Young used Strong's Hebrew and Greek definitions to write that translation. It is a little woody to read by itself, but it is a useful shortcut.

I then check the Interlinear at Biblehub.com, and read through the commentaries to see what they have to offer. Even so, we still do not get the flavor of the Hebrew idioms, their customary word associations for the feast days, or metaphors of the prophesies.

For instance, how many readers in English will catch that "no man knows the day or the hour" was a Hebrew idiom associated with the Day of Trumpets, Yom Teruah on the 1st of Tishri? Not even the commentaries cover this. Matthew Poole's Commentary on Matt. 25:13 regarding the "thief in the night" catches the link with the bridegroom (Christ), but misses the link with Yom Teruah.

So just finding the definitions in Hebrew and in Greek still will leave us in the dark for the word associations. We also need to learn the Hebrew customs and the meanings of the feast days as Christ fulfilled all of them and prophesied of those to His disciples.

For more information on the phrases "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord", "no man knows the day or the hour", and "the thief in the night" see the posts at my blog for "The Signs of the Feasts" Parts I, II, and III ShreddingTheVeil

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