Westminster Seminary California

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Posts by: S. M. Baugh

Words and Things Part 8
S. M. Baugh

Linguists have provided significant help to biblical scholars, not the least in the area of lexical semantics. “Lexical” here means words and phrases and “semantics” deals with meanings, so that “lexical semantics” is the study of how words mean. One area of particular help is that linguists posit that individual words often have what is called a “semantic range,” which will be explained and illustrated below.

Words and Things Part 7
S. M. Baugh

Last time, I mentioned that the great Aaronic benediction in Num. 6:22-27 concludes with the wonderful line: “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” The notion of God putting his name upon someone is an interesting one. One passage that has always stuck with me in this connection is in Exodus: “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him” (Exod. 23:20-21; ESV; emphasis added). Having God’s name is really something!

Words and Things Part 4
S. M. Baugh

Last time, we looked at the difference between glosses and word meanings. A gloss is an English word substitute and is of concern primarily to translators, while meaning is a brief description of a word’s referent. I illustrated this difference with some rather simple nouns, but now let’s look at a more theologically rich example of the difference with a verb dear to the heart of any Protestant: “I justify” (Greek dikaioõ; pronounced: dee-kai-AH-oh).

Words and Things Part 3
S. M. Baugh

When working with foreign words, we should be aware of a very important distinction: the distinction between meaning and gloss. For our purposes, a gloss is an English word substitute for a Greek word. In simple cases, a gloss is perfectly satisfactory to get the job done. For example, if I were to define Greek patēr with the gloss, “father,” akouō with “I hear,” or hagios with “holy” this would be adequate for most purposes. But not for all and maybe not for many.

Words and Things Part 2
S. M. Baugh

I corresponded with John Hughes recently and complimented him on a detailed scholarly article he wrote some years ago where he gave a most helpful treatment of Heb. 9:15-22. He mentioned in return that it was disappointing that his work seems to have made no impression on English translations that have appeared subsequently. Let’s look the passage over (going only to v. 18 for time’s sake). I will rehearse the heart of Hughes’s interpretation of Heb. 9:15-18 and zero in on one phrase in particular that I find especially illuminating for accepting his conclusions.