Quickly Mark Up Similar Words in a Passage

A good friend recently emailed me explaining that while studying Philippians in the ESV he noticed the words persecutor in 3:6 and press in 3:12 and 3:14 were all the same Greek lemma. He then asked if there was an easy way to automatically obtain a lemma count as well as highlight the same lemmas in a passage. The answer? Yes.

The document, Word List, provides a lemma count while a Visual Filter automatically highlights the text. In this blog, however, I want to show you how to utilize a search to quickly “highlight” the same or similar lemmas in a passage.

  • Open the ESV to Philippians 3:1 where Paul cautions against legalism (A)
  • Right click on the word persecutor in 3:6 (B)
  • Select from the Context menu, the lemma dioko (C)
  • Select Search this resource (D)

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  • Make sure the verse range is set to an option, such as the New Testament, which includes Philippians (E)

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  • Notice Logos “highlights” the active search results in a peachy color which reveals, as my friend pointed out, persecutor in 3:6 and press in 3:12 and 3:14 are all “highlighted’ because they’re all the same Greek lemma (F)

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You can, of course, execute additional right mouse searches for other lemmas. As you generate new searches, Logos opens new Search panels and “highlights” those active results in the same peachy color. The result is you may end up with 10 Search panels open (G) and a lot of peachy words in the biblical text. (H)

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To prevent new Search panels from opening:

  • Choose the panel menu on the original Search panel (I)
  • Select Send searches here (J)
  • Notice Logos places a target on the Search panel menu (K), now when you execute new right mouse searches, the new results replace the existing results in this one search panel

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The lemma or dictionary form of a word is the same Hebrew or Greek word regardless of its specific construction. In other words, the lemma may be a verb and searching for that lemma finds all occurrences of the verb whether it’s tense is present, aorist, subjunctive, etc.

Let’s say, however, a word has both a noun and verb form. Searching for the lemma will not locate both. A lemma search is restricted to one part of speech.

To locate similar lemmas, but not the same, search for the root:

  • Right click on the word perfect in 3:12 (L)
  • Select from the Context menu the root telos (M)
  • Select Search this resource (N)

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  • Notice the words perfect (verb in 3:12 ), mature (adjective in 3:15), and end (noun in 3:19) are all “highlighted” because they are similar lemmas sharing the same root (O)

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Try this root search with joy in 1:3 and notice how many peachy words appear in Philippians!

This quick way of searching and temporarily “highlighting” words in a passage can be very useful in the observation phase of Bible study. Sometimes it reveals themes or repeated subjects such as joy, gospel, and service in Philippians.

Please, however, note a couple observations:

  • The same lemma in different contexts may have different meanings
  • Just because lemmas may share the same root does not automatically imply those lemmas share similar meanings

Use this blog to help with observation, but always move into the interpretation phase of Bible study to answer the questions raised during observation.

For more Logos training, be sure to check out the new Camp Logos 1 currently on pre-pub.

And for live, hands-on training, be sure to register for an upcoming Camp Logos live training seminar, including events in Columbus, Georgia and Louisville, Kentucky.

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