How do I search for discourse types?

This article describes how to search for discourse types in Verbum.

Note: This feature requires the Lexham Hebrew Discourse Bible, and the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. These are included in the Verbum Full Feature Upgrade, available for standalone purchase, or included in Verbum Silver and higher.


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What is “discourse?”

The term “discourse” refers to numerous rhetorical devices used by the authors of the Bible to add emphasis, contrast, and meaning to words. One example, used in the example below, is “Thematic Discourse.”

Discourse devices constitute the substructure of both the OT and NT texts, and understanding them is essential to faithful exegesis. Scholars-in-Residence built a set of resources that cover the entire Hebrew and Greek portions of the Bible. Every word of the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament is tagged with a discourse type.

Discourse types fall under two main categories:

  • Highlighting devices: the use of individual words or word phrases for a specific rhetorical purpose; two subcategories include forward-pointing devices and thematic highlighting.
  • Word order: refers to the arrangement of words in a sentence for the purpose of highlighting what is important.

For further explanation of these categories, see either the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible: Introduction or the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament: Introduction.


Display discourse types

Discourse types may be displayed within any interlinear Bible in Verbum. Most major Bible translations in Verbum feature interlinear capabilities, including the Lexham Bible, NIV, ESV, NRSV and others (the Septuagint is not yet included). 

To display discourse types, expand the Visual filters menu (click . Scroll down to Discourse features under the Resource heading. You have the option of either Hebrew or Greek, depending on whether you are examining the OT or NT.

You can display or hide more than 20 different discourse types by checking or unchecking the corresponding boxes.

You can also search for specific discourse types in the Visual filters search bar:


Define discourse types

Find definitions of discourse types in one of two ways.

First, you can hover your pointer over the blue discourse icons to generate a pop-up screen. You will see a short definition of that icon’s discourse type.

Second, you can click any blue discourse icon to call up the Lexham Discourse Glossary, either Hebrew or Greek. These expanded entries provide a comprehensive explanation for each discourse type.


Search for discourse types

You can locate various discourse types using search parameters. Here’s how to do it:

  • Open a Search tab.
  • Type in the search parameters for the desired discourse type, preceded with LDHB or LDGNT, like this: <LDGNT = [discourse type]>
  • For example, to conduct a general search for Sub-Points in the NIV, you would type the following into the Search bar: <LDGNT = Sub-Point>


An Example: Abraham and God

Here’s an example. Important human characters in the Bible often speak to God, or vice versa, in a way that is extra-descriptive. When God speaks to Abram in Genesis 15:1, he adds the patriarch’s name after his initial address: “Do not be afraid, Abram.” The addition of Abram’s name is an example of Thematic Address. This discourse device is common in instances of dialogue where speaking a person’s name is not required by the context to identify the addressee.

We can also flip the example, to find places where Abraham addresses God using Thematic Address. Likewise, we can expand our search to include all the instances in the Bible where God is addressed by another speaker.

Let’s perform this search both from the context menu and using the search tool:


Context Menu Search Procedure

  • Open the NRSVCE in Verbum to Genesis 15:2.
  • Ensure the Discourse features (Hebrew) filter is enabled.
  • Now, right-click the name “LORD” within the pointing angle parentheses ‹› to bring up the Context menu.
  • On the lower left side of the menu, expand the Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible section, then select Thematic Address.
  • On the right side of the menu, under Search, select Bible. A new Search tab will appear with results from the entire Bible.


Search Tool Procedure

  • You can conduct a refined search for instances of Thematic Address using search parameters using the Search Tool.
  • Click the Search Tool to open a new search tab.
  • In this example, we are interested in places where Abraham addresses God. In the search bar, type in the following: <Person God> <Person Abraham> WITHIN 5 WORDS, followed by the parameters for the discourse type, Thematic Address: <LDHB = Them. Address>.
  • Results are then displayed in the Search tab. You can refine your search by choosing a different Bible, changing the parameters to your needs, and inserting another discourse type into the search parameters. A list of discourse types with their associated search parameters can be found here.


Additional Resources

Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible Bundle

Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament Bundle

Lexham Discourse Bundle

Mobile Ed Discourse Analysis Bundle

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