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This page provides a review of a reference work that was consulted while working on the Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT). To purchase a copy of the third edition, click here.

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Synonyms of the New Testament

By Richard C. Trench

A little dated, but still helpful

As the title of this book indicates, it is a study of synonymous words in the Greek NT. It helps to draw out the different shades of meaning between seemingly synonymous words. And these shades of meaning can be important.

Consider, for instance, the difference between theiotes and theotes. Both words only occur once (Rom 1:20, Col 2:9, respectively), and both are often translated as Godhead or Deity. But the former word is better rendered as “divinity.” It refers to the abstract power of God, while he latter is better rendered by Godhead or Deity and refers to the personal and full revelation of God.

Interestingly, the latter word is used of Christ, and thus the verse is a strong proof text for His deity. The former is used of what can be discerned of God from creation. This knowledge of God is far less than can be discovered in Christ.

Trench does a very good job of explaining these distinctions, and his discussion helped me to render these two words in their most correct fashion in my Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT). So I used “divinity” for the first and “Godhead’ [or, Deity]” for the latter.

But I must confess, I did not use this book that much in my translation work, simply because I found it easier to use the lexicons on my BibleWorks program than to look up words here. But there is an index in the back that makes looking up words relatively easy. Also note that this book was written in the late 1800’s, so it is a little dated. But it is still helpful.

Review of Synonyms of the New Testament. Copyright (c) 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.

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