Find the Right Meaning with the Bible Sense Lexicon

Logos 5 Spring SaleIn a previous post, we saw how the Bible Sense Lexicon is like a net that, when homonyms get you tangled up, lets you capture only the exact meanings you want. Here we continue by looking at how extensions of a meaning can entangle you, too.

Consider the verb “fish.” It seems like a relatively straightforward word, meaning “to catch or try to catch fish.” But have you ever “fished” for your keys in your pocket? Have you ever seen someone “fish” for a compliment? Word meanings can extend in any number of ways.

Specialize your searches

Common biblical words often have a myriad of extended meanings. Take, for example, the Hebrew and Greek words for “house.” These words can refer to a house (the physical building), a family (i.e., the people who live in a house), a people group (as in the house of Israel), or a temple (i.e., the house of YHWH), among other meanings.

Now imagine you want to do a Bible study on the temple when it’s referred to as God’s “house.” With a regular search in English, this is almost impossible—there’s no uniform way the temple is referred to as God’s house across translations. Sometimes it’s called “the house of the Lord,” sometimes “the house of God,” sometimes just “the/this house”; sometimes translators render “house” as “temple.” (For example, in the New American Standard Bible, 2 Chronicles 32:21 reads, “And when he had entered the temple of his god,” where temple is the Hebrew word for “house.”)

We can try a few of these searches to get a feel for the difficulties. First, let’s try to be as general as possible:

  • Open a search box.
  • Type “house” in the search box and click enter.

BSL 2 no. 1

As you might have guessed, this is not a very useful search—it gives over 1,800 results! Let’s try to be more specific, but before we do, let’s make sure we’re not missing anything.

In the open search box, click your preferred Bible and change the setting by clicking “Top Bibles.”

BSL 2 no. 2
 

Now let’s search our top Bibles for something more specific: type “house of the Lord” (with quotation marks) in the search box, and click enter. Scroll through the different headings in the search results, and see how many hits you got in each of your top Bibles.

Here’s a sampling:

Bibles Screenshot
No Bible produces the same results, and we haven’t even looked for “house of God” yet!

This is not to speak badly of Bible translations; it’s only to point out the Bible translations weren’t really created with search in mind. Could there be a better way to find all the places where the temple is referred to by the concept of “house”?

  • First, open the Bible Sense Lexicon in Logos 5.

BSL 2 no. 6

  • Next, type “house” in the Bible Sense Lexicon’s search box.
  • Mouse over any item in the dropdown to discover if it has the meaning you’re looking for.

BSL 2 no. 7

  • Click the label for “temple ⇔ house” in the dropdown.

BSL 2 no. 8

We get 631 results for this meaning of “house”! These will be all the occurrences of this meaning, regardless of whether the text says just “house” or whether it says “house of God / the Lord.”

Finally, mouse over the verse references in the Bible Sense Lexicon panel, or click them to see the verses in context:

BSL 2 no. 9

Don’t waste your time constructing searches that might not get you the results you want. Cast your net more wisely: check out the Bible Sense Lexicon.

Get the Bible Sense Lexicon by purchasing or upgrading to Gold today!

Specialize Your Searches with the Bible Sense Lexicon

Logos 5 Spring SaleSome nets are specialized for catching specific kinds of fish. You wouldn’t want to try to catch a guppie with a net that has large holes in it. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to try to catch salmon with the same net you use to get your pet goldfish out of its bowl.

Like a specialized net, the Bible Sense Lexicon allows you to capture only the meanings you’re searching for. Consider the problem of English homonyms: “When he said he went to lie down he told a lie.” “Tennis players love to keep their opponents at love.” “The girl in the band was wearing a band around her head.” The same word can have very different meanings. What we may fail to realize, though, is that this can wreak havoc on our Bible searches.

Imagine that you want to preach about lying (that is, “saying something false” as opposed to “lying on a horizontal surface”) in your next sermon. You’ll want to find places where the Bible speaks about “lies,” like Revelation 14:5: “and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” Let’s see what happens when you do a traditional English search for “lie.”

  • Open a Bible search and enter “lie” in the search box.

BSL 1.jpg
 

This search of the Lexham English Bible turns up 298 results, many of them from the verb “lie,” as in “to lie down” or “to lie with.” For sermon preparation, that isn’t terribly useful! Now look what happens when we search for “lie” with the Bible Sense Lexicon:

  • First, open the Bible Sense Lexicon in Logos 5.

BSL2

  • Next, type “lie” in the Bible Sense Lexicon’s search box, and click the matching result.

BSL3

  • That will take to you to the nominal sense of “lie” (as in “he told a lie”):

BSL4

  • We can see that this is the exact sense we’re searching for by looking at the definition: “a statement that deviates from or perverts the truth.”

BSL6

  • Finally, mouse over the verse references in the Bible Sense Lexicon panel, or click them to see the verses in context.

bsl7
 

The Bible Sense Lexicon takes you to only those occurrences of “lie” that you want! Now you don’t need to sort through 298 search results, most of which aren’t useful for your sermon prep. We’ve done the sorting for you. You also know exactly what kind of “lie” you’re looking at, because you have a definition and can look at its relationships to other concepts.

So don’t waste your time sorting through hits that may or may not be useful. Cast your net more wisely with the Bible Sense Lexicon. You can get the Bible Sense Lexicon by purchasing or upgrading to Gold or higher—get Logos 5 today!