Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary


Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words   by W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White, Jr.,
We have been discovering that the best way to study the Word of God is to find the true meaning of the words that are used in the Bible.  We believe that it is necessary for the student tohave a concordance, and we suggest Strong's, and at least three translations:  KJV, NKJV or the RSV.  The student then needs a good dictionary to explain the meaning of words.  Once you have obtained these necessary tools, then you will need to develop a system by which you can  understand the thoughts behind the words.

Vine's Expository Dictionary gives us a wide variety of meanings for most words and the authors suggest that we look at the context where these words are used and try to have the meanings be consistent.  Another method is to compare and look at the frequency of the words that we are studying.  By writing down the verses where these words occur, and then looking them all up, we can find the Bible will open up to us in ways that we never thought were even possible.

I want to quote from some comments that F. F. Bruce makes in the foreword of the Greek or N. T. portion of this dictionary.  He says, "There are few human pursuits more fascinating than the study of words.  As vehicles for conveying the thoughts, feelings, and desires of men, they have an abiding interest; how supremely interesting then should be the study of those (healthful words) in which the revelation of God Himself has been conveyed!" Mr. Bruce goes on to say, "Yet words, divorced from the meanings, are but empty sounds; instead of being a vehicle of thought,they become a substitute for it."

Mr. Thomas Hobbs said, "Words are wise men's counters; they do but reckon by them:  but they are the money of fools."  We must know what values to attach to these words if we are to profit by them.

One excellent illustration of what words mean is found on pages 108-110 under "come" and its related thoughts.  Here, including compounds, are upwards of 50 words employed to express one general thought.  Concerning the Lord's second advent, we have the following Greek words:  erchomai, heko, apokalupsis, epephaneia, phaino, epephaino, and parousia.  We can begin to understand the usage of this one English word "come" as we compare the many places that it is found.

I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar, but by learning to use a tool like Vine's Dictionary, I can begin to learn to study the Word of God and to find out what is truth for today.