Hi Tony, very helpful thanks. Barr did a great service with his book on semantics, and I'm onboard with everything you've said, especially that we cannot construct a theology, let's say of say sin, simply by looking at *het* and *harmatia* and their related verbs.

Do you think, however, that there is still value in noticing (and pointing out) how a word may be used across an author or the canon provided we don't commit ITT and show how immediate and mediate context shape meaning. Or in other words, to what extent should we notice links across word groups.

For example,

1. It's not right to say *ezer* carries in itself divine connotations, but is it worth (or right) to notice how it's primarily used of God and that may *contribute* to an argument that the use of the word in Gen 2 does not necessarily demote or diminish the value of the woman. I.e. while the word doesn't carry divine connotations, neither does it carry derogatory connotations.

2. Paul calls himself a διακονος in Eph 3:7. I would argue (and have seen it argued) that this shapes our understanding of ἐργον διακονίας in Eph 4:12 - the saints are trained in the same kind of thing that Paul is on about. (noting of course how this phrase is related to other concepts like truth and speech in 4:11-16)

3. Reading Luke 7:11-17 in a bible study today, I notice that Luke uses visit (ε͗πισκεπτομαι 3x (1:68, 78, 7:16)) and visitation (ἐπισκοπη 1x (19:44)). Moreover, Luke 1:68 praises the Lord (κυριος) for this visit, 1:78 ties this visit to God's mercy/compassion (σπλαγχνα) places it in the context of salvation from death (θανατος). In Luke 7 we then see that Luke calls Jesus ὁ κυριος (the first of Jesus that isn't a form of address, I think), Jesus acts because of his mercy/compassion (σπλαγχνιζομαι) and rescues a boy from death (θνησκω). I would say Luke is certainly tying this to Zechariah's song in Ch 1, here is the visitation of God. And what a tragedy that this public and wonderful visitation is later unknown or rejected by Jerusalem (Ch 19). This window is opened for me by noticing the other places where Luke uses the word for visit. But, has this just been a fun, fancy but ultimately illegitimate feast of mistaken identity!!?

So I guess my question is, other than a formal word study, and related words being used in quite restricted context, is there value in the kind of noticing across and author or the canon. Is it just that we need to bring more tools to bear to discover legitimate connections and meaning, rather than just created a big conceptual mess that floats around with each lexeme?

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Thanks Tony. Helpful words! Do you think this impacts the discussion around what version of the Bible we use to read for ourselves and to each other? I often get comments from friends saying, 'I use the ESV version as it is a "word for word" translation so I feel like I am getting a more accurate version of God's word...' And I think the ESV is a good enough translation, but I feel like sentence structure can be clunky and the meaning of the text can be obscured a bit by expression issues. I wonder if my friends are actually spending so much time trying to understand the syntax that they fail to appreciate the meaning of what the author is actually trying to say. I feel like a 'thought for thought' translation such as the NIV flows better and is easier to understand the meaning of the text. Short of studying Greek and Hebrew, I find it helpful to read different English translations for comparison when I'm preparing for a sermon or Bible Study, but I generally just stick to the NIV for my regular Bible reading. I wonder if people are making it harder than it needs to be for themselves by choosing 'word-for-word' translations when it comes to the public reading of scripture or daily devotions. What do you think?

It is worth saying, of course, that it is so good to have even one translation of the Bible in a language I can understand. Praise God for translation work over the centuries!

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Thanks for this, very helpful!

I’ve noticed this problem when the Anglo Catholics read ‘the sacrament’ into every reference to bread in the NT. Sometimes bread is just bread! To tweak a common phrase, sometimes Bible words don’t have bible meaning!

I noticed that you never seemed to lay the blame at our keenness for using biblical theology in our exegesis. Perhaps it’s too much of a sacred cow to taint with that brush!! But I wonder if in our circles our right strong emphasis on biblical theology means that are our eyes are trained more to look ‘horizontally’ if you will (how a word is used across the whole bible) rather than say ‘vertically’ (a word is used in the immediate context of its sentences or whole book). Do you think that’s fair? And if so how might we train ourselves to do justice to both the horizontal insights of biblical theological and the ‘sentences’?

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At last some common sense in interpretation. love it

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