In interpreting the words of the Greek New Testament we use several distinct, yet interdependent methods. These include lexical analysis (the meaning of words), syntactical analysis (the relationship of words to one another), structural analysis (the overall arrangement of the text), rhetorical analysis (the relationship of form and style to meaning) and tradition-critical analysis (the tradition behind and within the text). Each of these methods will be taken up in turn, beginning in this lesson with lexical analysis—more commonly known as word study.
There are three basic principles of word study. First, we must know the possible range of meanings of a word, which can be quite large in Greek. For example,
Our second principle is that words must always be studied in context. The possible meanings of Greek words (like English ones) are context-determined to a significant degree. Hence only when an entire text has been studied can the meanings of its component words be determined.