3 Searching and Dictionaries


previous lesson: Consultant Notes 

next lesson: Send and Receive

this lesson in video format:  Lesson 3 videos

Where are we?

We are in the process of preparing for a consultant checking session. In lesson two, we learned how to take consultant notes. In this lesson we will continue to prepare for the checking by concentrating on the exegesis.

Why is this important?

One component of exegesis is to understand the sense that the words draw from their context. For this it is important to know how to do word searches in the text as well as looking them up in the dictionary.

What are we going to do?

In this lesson we are going to learn how to do searches of Greek words and how to use the different dictionaries.


Exercise 1: Search for an English word

Our consultant Luther is still working on Matthew 2 verse 1. While looking at different English versions he determines that the Greek term προσκυνῆσαι is rendered in two different ways in English:

  1. NRSV “Pay him homage”
  2. NIV “Come to worship him”

The first thing that Luther does is to open an English dictionary to understand the meaning of homage. Dictionary.com defines the meaning as:

  1. respect or reverence paid or rendered: In his speech he paid homage to Washington and Jefferson.
  2. the formal public acknowledgment by which a feudal tenant or vassal declared himself to be the man or vassal of his lord, owing him fealty and service.
  3. the relation thus established of a vassal to his lord.
  4. something done or given in acknowledgment or consideration of the worth of another: a Festschrift presented as an homage to a great teacher.

Luther realizes that there is a difference between homage and worship and that it is not just a question of style. What then is the meaning of προσκυνῆσαι in verse 2:2 ?

Now Luther looks to see if the word homage is used elsewhere in the NRSV. This is how it is done:

Double-click on the word homage to select it. Now press Ctrl+F To open the search dialog.



Select Choose books and click the Choose button.

First click on Deselect all, and then select the button NT Books.

Click on OK

This brings you to the previous dialog box. Click on search and you should see the following results:

Pt74search Results

Double-click on each of the four references to see whether the word homage is translated from the Greek word προσκυνέω in each case or if it is a different verb. What is the result of this search?

Exercise 2: search for a Greek word

Now were going to see how many times the verb προσκυνέω appears in the Gospel of Matthew and how it was translated into the NRSV.

Go to Matthew 2:2 in the source text (Greek interlinear), then select the lemma προσκυνέω By clicking on it. It becomes highlighted in yellow.

Now right-click on the word and a menu pops up. Choose References in the current book.


If you left the search window open from the previous exercise, Paratext asks you what you want to do with the new search results:


Check the first option Create New List. Then click on OK. This is what you should see:


Note that the number of references found is displayed at the top left.

exercise 3: Compare the Greek with an English translation

There are 13 references to the word προσκυνέω in the gospel of Matthew alone. Look now to see how it was rendered in the NRSV in the following three verses:

Mat 2:2 ………………………………………
Mat 8:2 ………………………………………
Mt 28:9 ………………………………………

As we can see, this a verb was rendered in at least three different ways. Again, these translations each have a different sense, so it is more than a question of style. The Greek word προσκυνέω is a polysemous word (with different meanings).

However, we don't have time in this class to go more in-depth. But let's at least see how many times this word was used in the New Testament.

Exercise 4: Search in all books

Search for the lemma προσκυνέω and all of the books of the New Testament. Select the lemma, right click, and select References in all books. If prompted, select Create New List. This time you should have a list of 60 words.

Exercise 5: look up words in the dictionary

Now we will look at the dictionaries. Select the lemma προσκυνέω again and right click on it. This time choose A Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. This is the entry you should see :


On the left you have a list of the Greek words in alphabetical order. On the right you have the possible translations in English. Different senses are separated by a semicolon. If you click on the number 60, you will also have the list of all the references in the New Testament.

This dictionary is if limited use. We prefer the second dictionary by far, which is the Greek-English Lexicon based on Semantic Domains. It is more useful because it defines each sense of the word and also suggests translation possibilities. It also shows synonyms in Greek. It is also a bit more difficult to learn to use.

Select the lemme προσκυνέω again and right-click it. Now choose Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains. Now you should see this :


According to this dictionary, προσκυνέω has two different senses (a) and (b). Each entry starts with a number that corresponds to a large semantic domain in green, followed by another number for a more limited semantic domain (in purple). After that, the definition of the lemma with translation suggestions in English. For each sense the dictionary gives an example in the NT.

The second sense (b) starts with a reference + LN:κλίνω τὸ πρόσωπον εἰς τὴν γῆν|κλίνω τὸ πρόσωπον εἰς τὴν γῆν. This means that this expression is (in certain contexts) synonymous with προσκυνέω.

In the case of προσκυνέω, there are still two notes at the bottom of the page. Scroll down to read them also.

You have finished lesson 3, but we haven't yet resolved the question of the meaning of προσκυνέω in Matthew 2:2. Alas, translation is a difficult task!

Supplemental Exercise 1: How to do complex searches

if you want to do more advanced searches, such as searching for multiple words that occur in the same verse, or searching for a certain grammatical form, right click on the lemma and choose Lemma to Search List.

For what to do next, refer to the Paratext help. Look for the article entitled “How do I perform complex searches in a source text?”

Supplemental Exercise 2: How to find all the words within a semantic domain

Si you want to look up related words in Greek in the same semantic domain, it is also possible with the help of the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains. In the entry for προσκυνέω, click on Worship, Reverence (53.53-53.64), and in the list at the left you will see 13 words belonging to this domain.

Or if you want to look up all the Greek words that represent bodies of water, first look for a Greek word that you know, for example θάλασσα (sea, lake), then look for Bodies of Water (1.69-1.78) On the left you should see 9 words belonging to this domain.

Contributors to this page: ron_lockwood , dhigby , System Administrator and sewhite .
Page last modified on Tuesday March 18, 2014 15:22:36 GMT-0000 by ron_lockwood.


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