Identify Repeated Words in a Passage

During a passage study we’re taught to look for repeated words because repetition may indicate the presence of an important theme or topic. Since the Bible wasn’t originally written in English, we’re not really concerned with English words occurring more than once, but rather repetition in Hebrew and Greek. Several Logos tools assist with identifying repetition, but this blog focuses only one: Emphasize Active Lemmas.

Let’s take a look at this handy, but albeit under-used feature:

  • Open an English Bible with the interlinear option such as the NKJV, NASB, LEB, or ESV (A)
  • Navigate to Matthew 12:33 (B)
  • Notice in this paragraph the numerous occurrences of the English word good (C)

If we only rely on our English Bible, it certainly appears we have a lot of repetition. Is that, however, the case? With the power of the reverse interlinear and the Visual Filter known as Emphasize Active Lemmas we can easily discover the answer.

  • Click the Visual Filters (3 dots) icon on the Bible’s toolbar (D)
  • Check the box next to Emphasize active lemmas (E)

  • Right click on the first occurrence of good in Matthew 12:33 (F)
  • Select the lemma (the Greek word with the ring icon) from the right side of the Context menu (G)
  • Select a Greek dictionary from the left side of the Context menu (H)

  • Notice the dictionary jumps to an article for that word (I) and places that Greek word in its reference box (the Greek word in the box is the active lemma) (J)
  • Notice Logos automatically highlights in the Bible occurrences of that same lemma (K)

At this point please observe that NOT every occurrence of the English word good is highlighted (L) which means there’s at least one other Greek lemma translated good in this passage!

You can easily repeat the above steps for an occurrence of good not highlighted to discover there are two different Greek lemmas in the passage both translated good.

Please keep in mind these words could be synonyms or Matthew might be trying to make a point. You’ll have to discern that as you study the passage. The point of this exercise, however, is simply to point out there’s not as much repetition in this passage as we might think just by reading the English translation.

File this trick away when you study persecutor in Philippians 3:6 and you’ll discover repetition in the text that you may not have known is there!

For more detailed information about Visual Filters, be sure to order your copy of the Logos Training Manuals Volumes 1-3 or attend a Camp Logos training seminar.

And for 24/7 Logos training, check out the new website.

Remember to follow and you’ll automatically receive a FREE digital download of Dr. Grant Osborne’s commentary Ephesians Verse by Verse.

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