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A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament

A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament

Authors: Michael H. Burer and Jeffrey E. Miller
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Kregel
ISBN-10: 0-8254-2009-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8254-2009-2

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I would like to express my thanks to Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy of this title. I can’t wait to review more books for you in the future.

Burer and Miller’s A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (NRL) was created to be a vast improvement of Sakae Kubo’s 1975 A Reader’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Not having used Kubo’s lexicon though, I will not focus on the differences between the two. Instead, I will examine NRL by itself.

NRL is set up as an analytical lexicon is, in that it goes book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse through the New Testament. Under the chapter sections it lists the verse followed by a Greek word that is used less than fifty times in the NT.

Then we find a set of two or three numbers. The first number tells us how many times that word is found in the book (ie. Acts). The second number tells how many times that word is found throughout the works of that author. The third number gives how many times the word appears in the entire NT.

After the numbers comes a gloss of the word followed by a cross-reference. Note: the word is only cross-referenced if the “word occurs in three or fewer verses in the book aside from the current verse,” or if the “word occurs in three or fewer verses within a traditional author but outside the current book,” or if the “word occurs in three or fewer verse outside the current author.” [14]

Let’s take a look at a verse and its listings to see what Burer and Miller have done in NRL. Let’s go with Galatians 5:1.

Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς Χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν· στήκετε οὖν καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε.

If we turn to page 359 in NRL we will see the listings for this verse (please excuse the bad photo quality).

There is much to love about Burer and Miller’s NRL. It is very well laid out. It is brief enough to not have the hassle that BDAG gives when looking up a word, yet since it only lists the words occurring fifty times or less in the NT you still need to study your vocabulary (a good thing in my opinion). I have personally found it helpful when doing translations.

There are only a couple of things in NRL that I find need some work. I would suggest adding additional glosses yourself where you think they need added (which requires some amount of study). I would also like the cross-reference system to be beefed up a bit more. It’s fine for what it is, but it would be nice to be able to look up more than just three passages (which is only listed when there are no more than that). Perhaps an appendix could solve this problem.

NRL is an excellent tool for those who struggle with busy schedules or who are just tired of looking up every unknown word in BDAG (however, one should still use BDAG). It is a time saver and is sure to become the reader’s lexicon of choice for seminarians and lay people.

Grade: A+

Update 1/15/10: It has come to my attention that different glosses are used throughout NRL per BDAG’s “context-specific, author-sensitive glosses.” I did not come across this personally in my use of NRL to this point, but my use has been somewhat limited so far. I apologize to the authors who have gone farther than I originally gave them credit for. This has been corrected in the post. However, I still think that users should add their own glosses here and there where needed. NRL is truly a remarkable tool – not the only one that is needed in your Greek tool box, but still an important one.

MSE

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2 Responses

  1. Dear Matt,

    Thanks for the review of our book, A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. I appreciate the attention you’ve given to the book. I do have one correction. You write: “The most blatant one is that Burer and Miller use the same glosses each time a word appears throughout their lexicon.” This is simply not true, as the introduction explains. We used the context-specific, author-sensitive glosses listed in BDAG. Thus at times we included more than five different glosses for the same Greek word appearing in different contexts. Many thanks! Jeff (for both authors)

    • Jeff, I will go back to check this and correct it. My use of the lexicon was with about four or five passages and I had noticed the same glosses with words in those passages. However, as I said, I will correct this. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

      I do appreciate the amount of time that you and Dr. Burer obviously poured into this lexicon, and it has become very handy for me . Thank you for producing it. I don’t suppose there are any plans for a reader’s lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers to be penned by you in the future?

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