To understand biblical language, you have to understand semantic domains. A semantic domain is a range of potential meanings of a word. For example, in English the word “run” can mean “to operate” or “move at a fast speed.” Both of these potential meanings are part of the semantic domain of the word “run.” Different words can also have overlapping meanings, such as “man” and “human.”
Understanding a word’s range of potential meanings provides a starting point for discovering what a word means in a specific passage. Searching for meanings can help you explore semantic domains so you can uncover resonances in a biblical text or trace concepts and themes throughout the Bible. Continue reading to learn how to use different tools in Verbum to explore semantic domains.
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Using the Bible Sense Lexicon
The Bible Sense Lexicon is organized by word senses and covers both the Old and New Testaments—allowing you to search for meanings across the entire Bible. Entries are arranged so that broad categories of meaning are subdivided into smaller, more specific senses.
Note: The Bible Sense Lexicon is available in Verbum Bronze and above.
To get started
- Click Tools and type Bible in the search bar. Select Bible Sense Lexicon.
- Enter the word you want to study in the search box. As you type, Verbum presents options for your search. Click a word to select it or press Enter to search for your entry.
For example: To study how the Bible treats the word law, type law into the search bar and select the sense you want to study.
- The lexicon opens to the selected entry.
Note: You can also access the Bible Sense Lexicon in a Bible resource by right-clicking a word and selecting Bible Sense Lexicon from the Context Menu (if the lexicon has an entry for the word).
Navigate the lexicon entry
- The upper left section of the panel displays the term’s definition. A distribution graph shows the distribution of these senses throughout the Bible. Search for this sense by clicking Search for sense [search term]. This search locates where the word occurs in Scripture with this meaning.
- The Lemmas section displays the lexical forms of words in the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic) used with this sense and translated using the English search term. The original language lemmas are ordered by frequency of occurrence in Scripture.
Hover over a lemma to view the total number of occurrences of that word in Scripture as well as other basic information about the lemma.
Click a lemma to open a Bible Word Study Guide for that word. For more information about the Bible Word Study Guide, click here.
- The Relationships section shows where the search term fits within the classification hierarchy. This helps you consider how your search term relates to other words in the same class. The Plus symbol + indicates additional terms in that semantic domain. Click a word to see other terms in that level of the hierarchy. This action also navigates to the entry for that word in the lexicon.
Note: These relationships are created by meaning not linguistics. These words do not necessarily share any common linguistic roots.
- The See also section provides links to additional information about the search term. If the search term occurs in the New Testament, a link to the Louw-Nida lexicon appears here.
- The right-hand portion of the panel shows the search term in relation to other words in the semantic domain. Words preceded by an open circle do not have additional terms in their semantic domain. A closed circle indicates additional terms within that term’s semantic domain. Click the circle to view these words. Clicking the circle again retracts the displayed terms. Select Actual Size or Fit to adjust the view. Drag within the pane to view the entire diagram.
- Navigate back and forth between the entries you viewed using the arrows in the upper right of the panel.
Open the Bible Sense Lexicon here.
Using the Biblical Word Senses Dataset
The Biblical Word Senses dataset (accessible via the Senses Guide section) lets you see alternate meanings for Greek and Hebrew words and exposes every place where these meanings occur.
Note: The Biblical Word Senses dataset is available in Verbum Bronze and above.
Access the dataset from the Guides section
- Click Guides and enter sense in the search bar. Select Senses.
- Enter the word you want to study in the search bar. Verbum suggests possible matches. Select one of the words from the list or press Enter to retain your entry.
Note: By default, Verbum searches all passages. To select a custom range, click the link to the right of the search bar.
- To enter a search term from the original language:
Type g: for Greek, h: for Hebrew, or a: for Aramaic immediately followed by the transliterated form of the word with no space (e.g. g:agape or h:berit).
ORClick the keyboard icon and select your desired alphabet to enter your search term using the original language. To learn more about the original language keyboard input, click here.
- Verbum displays results showing the various senses of the search term.
Access the dataset from a Bible resource
- Right-click the word you want to search in the biblical text.
- In the Context Menu, select the sense ring icon and the corresponding original language term.
- Click Bible Word Study in the right-hand pane of the Context Menu.
- Verbum opens a Bible Word Study guide for the search term. Scroll down the Senses section to access the dataset.
Navigate the dataset
- The sense ring displays the semantic range of the search term. The search term is displayed in the center, and the various senses of the term are displayed in the ring. Each color band represents the proportion of occurrences of this sense within the search range. Hover over a segment to see all of the original language words that are translated by the specific English word.
- Clicking a segment of the sense ring displays additional information about that sense below the sense ring. Verbum also displays all occurrences of that sense in your preferred Bible.
- When the sense ring is intact, Verbum displays all the senses of the search term below the ring. Click the sense to open the entry in the Bible Sense Lexicon.
- To the right of each sense is a ratio (e.g. 42 of 110). The first number is the number of occurrences of this sense of the search term. The second number is the total number of occurrences of the search term lemma. This gives you an idea of how often the lemma carries this sense.
- On the far right-hand side of the panel is a distribution graph. The first number shows the number of occurrences of the sense of the search term in the Bible. The second number is the total number of occurrences of this sense in the Bible. This gives you an idea of how often the biblical writers used this lemma to communicate this sense. The graph line displays the location of these occurrences in the biblical text.
- Click the triangle to the left of the sense to reveal:
- a definition of the sense.
- other words that also have this sense.
- A list of all the verses that use this sense of the search term.
- Click Add in the upper right-hand portion of the panel to expand a drop-down menu. Select features to add to the current dataset.
- Click +Add note in the bottom right-hand corner of the panel to add your own notes to this entry. Clicking the note icon allows you to open the note in the Notes tool or delete your entry.
To start exploring the Biblical Word Senses dataset, click here.
Using the Lexham Semantic Roles Dataset
The Lexham Semantic Roles dataset provides details about the semantic structure of biblical sentences, allowing you to search the Bible for every time a person or thing experiences an event.
Note: The Lexham Semantic Roles dataset is available in Verbum Silver and above.
To get started
- Open a Bible resource and right-click a verbal form you want to study.
- Click Bible Word Study.
- Scroll down to Clause Participants.
Navigate the dataset
- Logos displays various categories that correspond to the verbal form. Hover over the category label for a definition of the category. Click the label to open the glossary entry for Semantic Roles.
For example: The verbal form be anxious (Gr. merimnaō) occurs in contexts with Experiencer, Stimulus, and Agent.
- The number to the right of the person or group indicates the count of occurrences of the search term in relation to that person or group.
- Click the triangle to the left of the person or group to expand a list of passages where the person or group occurs in a semantic relationship to the search term.
For example: Verbum displays occurrences where Disciples are the Experiencers of the verb be anxious (Gr. merimnaō).
- Perform a clause search for the lemma and person/group by clicking the hyperlinked text to the right of Clause Search on. For more information about Clause Search, click here.
Using the Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon
The Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains lists every sense of every New Testament word separately, allowing you to gain a better understanding of how a word may be used in a specific context.
In Verbum, biblical words are tagged with Louw-Nida numbers, allowing you to right-click any word to find what sense that word carries in your particular context. You can also use Louw-Nida numbers to search for a meaning throughout the entire New Testament.
Louw-Nida numbers are available for most Bible translations in Verbum Basic and higher. The Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains is included in Verbum Platinum and higher, or is available for individual purchase.
Open the lexicon entry from the Context Menu
- Open a Bible resource to the text you want to study.
- Right-click a word in the text and select the lemma (indicated by the sense ring icon ) or Louw-Nida.
- In the right-hand column of the Context Menu, in the Look up section, click Louw-Nida.
- Verbum opens to the corresponding entry in the lexicon.
Open the lexicon entry from the Bible Sense Lexicon
- Open the Bible Sense Lexicon to your chosen word.
- At the bottom of the left-hand column, click Louw-Nida.
- Verbum opens to the corresponding entry in the Louw-Nida lexicon in a new panel.
Open the lexicon entry directly from the Louw-Nida Lexicon
- Click Library and enter Louw-Nida in the library search bar.
- Select the Louw-Nida lexicon.
- The Louw-Nida lexicon contains two volumes. To view the semantic categories, click the Navigation Drawer icon . Volume 1 is ordered by semantic domains. Expand a heading by clicking the triangle to the left of the category. Volume 2 contains an alphabetical list of entries. Clicking a word on the list displays a list of entries for the lemma along with the number of the entry from Volume 1.
If you own the Louw-Nida lexicon, open it by clicking here.
To purchase the lexicon, visit the Verbum store here.
- In the lexicon search bar:
- Enter the number you want to search.
Enter the word you want to search.
Note: The lexicon only recognizes terms in Greek script or Greek transliterations, so the g: prefix is not necessary.
- As you type, Verbum suggests entries in the lexicon. Lemmas with multiple senses are indicated by numerals in parentheses.
For example: λόγος (4)
- Click a suggested word or press Enter to search for your entry.
Navigate the lexicon entry
- If a word has multiple entries, a superscript letter appears at the end of the word. Hover over the letter to view other semantic uses of the word. Click the letter to open the list of these other senses in Volume 2. Navigate to these additional entries by clicking the Volume 1 entry number to the right of the word.
- Entries for nouns and adjectives include the plural ending and markers for gender identification (m for masculine, f for feminine, and n for neuter).
- Hover over Scripture references to view the entire verse in your preferred Bible.
- Hover over other Louw-Nida numbers to preview the entry or click the number to navigate to that entry.
Search using Louw-Nida semantic domains
Verbum has attached labels for all entries in the Louw-Nida lexicon to the corresponding words in the biblical text. This allows you to search for all the occurrences of a sense using the Louw-Nida numbering system.
- Right-click a word in the biblical text.
- Click Louw-Nida from the left column of the Context Menu. In the Search section in the right column, select Bible.
- Verbum displays all occurrences of words labeled with this Louw-Nida number in the New Testament.