Exploring Lemmas with the Same Root

A Logos user recently presented this question to me:

I’ve noticed Logos includes the root words for Greek lemmas in English Bibles with the reverse interlinear. How might these root words be used in actual Bible study?

Excellent question! While this blog will certainly not exhaust all that could be said, hopefully a few insights may get you started using this feature.

First, let’s begin with a few definitions

  • Manuscript form of a word refers to the actual word the biblical author used.
  • Lemma or lexical form of a word refers to how the word is “looked up” or referenced in a traditional dictionary of lexicon.
  • Root is the word from which the lemma is derived.

In very simple terms, manuscript forms are derived from lemmas which are derived from roots.

Let’s explore this more with a specific biblical example found in Galatians 6:1 in which Paul instructs …if a person is caught in some trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of humility…

  • Open the ESV to Galatians 6:1 (A)
  • Right click on the word restore (B)
  • Select Root | Search this resource (C)

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  • Click Aligned on the search panel (D) to see in a center column the various ways different lemmas with the same root are translated in English (E)

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  • Click Analysis to display a spreadsheet of the results (F)
  • Right click on a column header (G)
  • Select at least these categories: Reference, Lemma (Greek), Result, and Sense (please note that Sense does not appear in all Logos base collections) (H)

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  • Drag one at a time Lemma (Greek) and Sense to the top of the spreadsheet (I) in order to group the results according to these categories (J)

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Here’s what you’re viewing in the spreadsheet:

  • The various NT Greek lemmas derived from the same root (K)
  • The various ways the lemmas are translated in the ESV NT (L)
  • The sense or contextual meaning of each lemma (M)
  • Different senses or meanings for the same lemma (N)

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As you work with these results please keep these cautions in mind:

  • Don’t automatically assume a lemma has the exact same meaning as its root
  • Don’t automatically assume lemmas derived from the same root share the same meaning
  • Don’t automatically assume a lemma has the exact same meaning in every place it occurs in Scripture

With these cautions firmly in mind, it is interesting to observe that running throughout the related lemmas are the ideas of repair, correct, prepare, equip, and mature. Perhaps these lemmas and meanings provide further insights into the concept of restoring in Galatians 6:1.

By combining a search for the root and the Analysis view of the results, you can explore in detail the various facets of a word!

If this was helpful to you check out out Logos 5 Training Manual Set, which contains expanded versions of searching Lemmas.

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