|From the introduction|
Studying the Bible is like traveling overseas--though fascinating and life-changing, it's not always a smooth transition. There are language barriers, curious cultural differences, unfamiliar terrain (not to mention people), and a sense of uncertainty about almost everything one encounters. You will see them--courageous tourists determined to overcome these obstacles, scrutinizing maps on the street corners and poring over guidebooks for tips. People who read the Bible need similar help.
This book is like a map or a guidebook for those who want to maximize their study of God's Word. As the title suggests, it contains two broad categories of entries: biblical terms and theological terms--that is, difficult words that one encounters in the Bible itself as well as the terminology derived from Bible study in theology.
Unlike other tools that emphasize the people and places in the Bible, this book deals with terms that pertain to Old Testament introduction (e.g., "P," "deutero-Isaiah"), New Testament introduction (e.g., "Apocrypha," "Pauline," "Q"), Hebrew grammar (e.g., "construct relationship," "vowel pointing"), Greek grammar (e.g., "anarthrous," "perfect"), Old Testament exegesis and interpretation (e.g., "covenant," "Messiah"), New Testament exegesis and interpretation (e.g., "pericope," "redaction criticism"), and theological terms of all sorts (e.g., "propitiation," "ecclesiology," "original sin," "pretribulationism," "speaking in tongues"). The definitions--even for highly specialized terms--are concise and easy-to-understand for people who have never been to seminary.
This dictionary helps users to navigate not only the Bible but also other Bible study tools aimed at the nonprofessional reader (e.g. commentaries and Bible dictionaries). Often dust jackets describe a book's audience as including everyone from pastors to laypeople, from those who are well-versed in biblical studies to those who are just getting started. But what happens when those with no formal training try to use one of these books? Inevitably they stumble upon a large amount of specialized vocabulary that impedes their understanding. This book is a companion volume, coming alongside other tools to give readers help when needed--that is, whenever strange words come up.
This book is extensively cross-referenced to help readers find entries related to the words they look up. Any term in SMALL CAPS is a separate entry itself. Only the first occurrence of a word in a definition is marked as such. Also, because of the variations in terminology, a large number of "pointers" have been included to make sure readers find the help they need. In addition, innumerable biblical references have been included. These provide a solid basis for the definitions and refer the reader to the pertinent biblical passages for further study.