Soteriological concerns with Bauer’s Greek Lexicon -- By: Michael D. Makidon

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 17:33 (Autumn 2004)
Article: Soteriological concerns with Bauer’s Greek Lexicon
Author: Michael D. Makidon


Soteriological concerns with Bauer’s Greek Lexicon

Michael D. Makidon

Director of Publications
Grace Evangelical Society
Irving, Texas

I. Introduction

A good dictionary not only tells you what the range of meaning for a given word is, it also provides examples of the term’s usage over a cross-section of literature. All who study the Bible are especially grateful to have dictionaries, or lexicons, which do just that.

While there are a number of dictionaries for the Greek NT,1 one has stood out—A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Erwin Preuschen first published the German edition in 1910; however, during his second revision he was met with an untimely death. Walter Bauer continued Preuschen’s work, publishing a second edition. Finally, Bauer published the third edition in 1937 with his name alone on the title page. He would later revise his work printing three more editions.

The first English edition (BAG) was printed in 1957 while Bauer was completing his fifth revision. Thus, it was based on the fourth German edition.

In 1979, after twenty-two years of silence, the University of Chicago published the second English edition of Bauer’s Greek Lexicon (BAGD),2 which was based on Bauer’s fifth German edition. It has since served as the standard Greek lexicon for pastors, teachers, and scholars

who teach the NT from its original language. With careful lexical and semantic descriptions, the second edition has served as a solid tool for understanding the usages of Koiné Greek words.

In 2000 a third edition (BDAG) was printed—self-described as “revised and edited by Frederick William Danker based on Walter Bauer’s”3 6th German edition and the previous English editions (BAG 1957 and BAGD 1979).

Most assume that since Danker was involved in the second and third editions that the latter edition has not seen significant change. However, a recent article by Vern S. Poythress in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society4 demonstrates that Danker has been greatly affected by political factors, revealing the need to take a focused look at this new edition in other areas of study as well. This article will compare and evaluate Danker’s revisions of three entries in BAGD that are of particular interest to soteriology.

II. To Believe or Trust (Pisteuo<...
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