Hapax Legomena? Six Resources to Help Read Biblical Literature Better

This weekend, September 26-28, Bethlehem Baptist Church will be hosting Desiring God’s National Conference for Pastors.  This years plenary sessions will discuss “The Power of Words and the Wonder of God.”  This is a grand subject and one that I look forward to considering more as the MP3’s become available.  Why?  Because the Words of God are the Words of Life, and while they are sufficient for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4) and clear to the Spiritual man (1 Cor. 2:14-16; cf.  Deut. 29:29), they are not equally accessible.  In other words, reading the Bible requires a renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:1-2), able teachers (Eph. 4:11), and Spirit-empowered study (2 Tim. 2:7).  Just ask Peter about the difficulty of Paul’s writing (2 Peter 3:16).

The words of the Bible are not the only difficulty however in ascertaining a proper reading of Scripture.  Language employed to discuss the Bible can also be difficult.  When was the last time you were reading or listening to something about the Bible and got tripped up by unfamiliar langage–things like hypostatic union, pericope, or hapax legomena.  A dictionary sidebar or a parenthetical explanation might be helpful.  Biblical scholars and students of the Scripture have adopted a bevy of words, phrases, and descriptions to synthesize larger concepts and ideas.  Stepping into this river midstream can seem intimidating to the novice interpreter or the young Christian.  Hopefully what follows may help.

Spurred by Chad Knudson’s ‘Biblical Theological Glossary’, I have linked a number of cites that may be of assistance in reading the Bible better by having handy resources to give simple definitions of key terms and concepts in biblical theology, systematic theology, historical christology, archaeology, etc.  I hope these resources are helpful.  If you know of others, let me know and I will update the list.

Theological Word of the Day : A daily blog that provides helpful words, terms, and ideas in theology.  You can sign up to receive RSS feeds, or you can go to their website and browse previous terms.  Consider it a theological dictionary.com.

The Road to Emmaus Glossary: A short list of biblical-theological definitions for those beginning to study the Scripture’s diachronically.

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: This book is a helpful resource for biblical theology, and the whole of its contents can be found online.

Biblical Archaeology Glossary: Lots of terms about the history and exploration of biblical archaeology.

Biblical Studies Glossary: Contains many definitions and descriptions of terms and words associated with biblical interpretation, theology, and Church history.

Christological Dictionary: A helpful list of historical events, people, and discussions that helped formulate the Christology of the church leading up to Chalcedon.  (See also the Chart for Christological Heresies)

Sola Deo Gloria, dss

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