How to Search Both Manuscript and Lemma Forms of Words

As you well know, the Bible was not written in English but rather the Old Testament in Hebrew (with a little Aramaic) and the New Testament in Greek. Thus, when searching in the Bible, it’s better to search in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek rather than English. You perhaps are wondering: I don’t know Hebrew and Greek; I work from an English Bible. How can I search in the original languages?

The great Logos news is, with the power of our English interlinear Bibles, even though we read in English we can search in Hebrew and Greek!

Today I’ll illustrate that by addressing a question from a fellow Logos user:

When I do a Bible Word Study for ἐκκλησία in the Pauline Epistles I get 62 results. However, when I search the Greek translation of the Bible I only get 24 results. Is this because one is searching for all forms of the word and the other is not?

This is a great question and the user is correctly answering his own question. Before we examine the searches he references allow me to define a couple of words: manuscript and lemma.

Manuscript refers to the actual form of a word the biblical author used whereas lemma is the dictionary or lexical form of a word. Imagine reading this English sentence: That father really loves his children. The word loves is the specific manuscript form the writer uses, but we don’t look up loves in a dictionary. We look up love which is the lexical or dictionary form of the word. Once at the article for love, we discover different forms of the word such as loves, loved, loving, etc.

Just as English has manuscript and lemma forms so do Hebrew and Greek. And our Logos Bible Software places both right at our fingertips in our English interlinear Bibles!

Let’s take a look:

  • Open an English Bible with the interlinear option such as the ESV, KJV, NKJV, NASB, or LEB(A)
  • Navigate to Ephesians 1:22 (B)
  • Right click on the word church (C)
  • Notice on the right side of the Context menu the:
    • Manuscript, which is the specific form of the Greek word Paul uses here (D)
    • Lemma, which is the dictionary or lexical form of the Greek word Paul uses here (E)
    • Root, which is the word from which the lemma is derived (F)

  • Select the manuscript form (the one with the multi-lines icon) (G)
  • Select Search this resource from the left side of the Context menu (H)

  • Change the verse range drop down list to Pauline Epistles (I)
  • Click Aligned to view the results in a center column (J)
  • Survey the 24 results which are the occurrences of the dative singular (normally an indirect object) form of this word (K)

  • Right click on the word church again (L)
  • Select the lemma (the one with the ring icon) from the right side of the Context menu (M)
  • Select Search this resource from the left side of the Context menu (N)

  • Make sure the verse range is set to Pauline Epistles (O) and the view is set to Aligned (P)
  • Observe the 62 results of the lemma which encompass all forms of this Greek word in Paul’s letters (Q)

Without going in to too much detail in this blog, if we’re trying to discover a broad range of meaning for a Hebrew/Greek word, searching for the lemma is excellent. If we’re trying to discern a possible specific meaning of a Hebrew/Greek word when a particular form is used, then we definitely want to search the manuscript.

For a more detailed discussion of Interlinear Bibles, be sure to order your copy of the Logos Training Manuals Volumes 1-3 in print or digital or attend a Camp Logos training seminar.

And for 24/7 Logos training, check out the new website.

Remember to follow and you’ll automatically receive a FREE digital download of Dr. Grant Osborne’s commentary Ephesians Verse by Verse.


Morris Proctor
is a certified trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.


  1. Stephen Adams says

    Can you explain the syntax? Specifically the “lbs/el’…” portion of the search statement.