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Blog / Bible Word Study Made Easy: A Conversation with Dr. Bill Mounce—Video #3 Diving Deeper

Bible Word Study Made Easy: A Conversation with Dr. Bill Mounce—Video #3 Diving Deeper


Watch on demand ChurchSource’s free webcast with Dr. Bill Mounce. The topic: Is Biblical Greek Study Still Relevant to the Church Today?.


Dr. Bill MounceThis is our final conversation with biblical Greek scholar and bestselling author Dr. Bill Mounce (@billmounce), who is one of the translators for the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.

In the first video, we talked about how to get started in doing word studies in the Bible. The second video included such topics as the reference tools available for the average person to conduct Bible word studies, how the hub of a Bible verse is similar to the hub of a bicycle wheel, how anyone can understand the rich definition behind Greek words.

In this third session, Bill explains:

  • the limitations of an abridged Greek-English dictionaryBuy your copy of Interlinear for the Rest of Us: The Reverse Interlinear for New Testament Word Studies in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day
  • the difference between a word’s gloss and its more robust usage in various contexts
  • how misunderstandings can arise if a word is too rigidly interpreted from one language to another
  • how using Bible dictionaries adds richness to more fully understanding the Bible
  • helpful websites to use when doing Bible word studies

[Read the Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament on Bible Gateway]

Here’s an excerpt from the video conversation:

Buy your copy of Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

In our first video, you explain what a “gloss” is. What’s the difference between a gloss and a word’s meaning, and how does a Greek-English dictionary help discern that?

Dr. Bill Mounce: A gloss is that bundle; the sticks illustration of the words as a bundle; the sticks in terms of meaning. A word like run has a lot of sticks in the bundle because the word run can mean a lot of things. Well, what we do in an abridged dictionary is, we look at all the different ways a Greek word is used and we say, well it’s mainly used to mean this.

[See Bible study reference resources mentioned by Bill in the Bible Gateway Store]

So if you look up sarx, its main use is flesh, but sarx is wildly used in different meanings. Human sinful nature is how sometimes we translate sarx. So an abridged dictionary is just giving a gloss, which is an approximation of one or two of its main uses. The problem we have is that people think that that’s what that word means. Well, it’s just an approximation of one of the uses.

So in terms of the jumping off spot, it’s really important to learn that, okay, adelphos has a gloss: it means brother. But in a lot of translations when you translate adelphos “brother,” it’s going to say “brothers and sisters.” When people say, “adelphos just means brother,” that’s not accurate. That’s its gloss. That’s one of his functions. I have an adelphos—he’s called David—but in my church I also have adelphoi—plural—and they’re men and women. They’re members of my spiritual community. Well that’s also what that word means.

And so the problem that we have is when people look at that gloss, that simple single definition that approximates kind of what a word means, and then think that’s what it means everywhere. I don’t want people to look at adelphos and think it only means brother, because then some people hear that as male oriented. I don’t want people to look at anthropos and translate it as man and people think that it’s male only; or look at sarx and think that it only means flesh. Those are just approximations. So the abridged dictionary is a jumping off spot. This is the main use of the word, but let’s look at the context to see how this word is being used in this particular verse.


Bible Gateway has over 30 English Bible translations, many audio Bibles, Bible reading plans, over 60 devotionals, and this Blog with Bible related news and tips. On top of that, we have many free reference tools and paid resources from our Bible Gateway Plus membership program. Included in there are resources written by Dr. Bill Mounce.

[Browse the many resources by Bill Mounce in the Bible Gateway Store]

BIO: William D. Mounce (PhD, Aberdeen University) is founder and president of BiblicalTraining.org, a non-profit organization offering world-class educational resources for discipleship in the local church. He blogs regularly about biblical Greek, the nuances and challenges of translating the Bible, and general issues of spiritual growth. His series of video lectures teaching biblical Greek is available through MasterLectures.

Access Bill Mounce's MasterLectures course


Buy your copy of Greek for the Rest of Us: The Essentials of Biblical Greek in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day          Buy your copy of Greek & Hebrew for the Rest of Us Pack: The Essentials of Biblical Greek and Hebrew in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day          Buy your copy of Hebrew for the Rest of Us in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day


Olive Tree Bible App resources mentioned by Bill Mounce 30% Off Coupon with code BMBG30
Browse Olive Tree Bible App resources mentioned by Bill Mounce

Watch the first video in this conversation series, “Getting Started.”

Watch the second video in this conversation series, “Your First Word Study.”

Or watch the entire 41-minute video of our conversation with Dr. Bill Mounce.

Register now for ChurchSource’s free 30-minute webcast Tuesday, September 10th, at 3:00 pm ET with Dr. Bill Mounce. The topic: Is Biblical Greek Study Still Relevant to the Church Today?.


The above resources by Bill Mounce are published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


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Filed under Bible, Bible Reference, Bible Study, Interviews, Languages, New Testament, Old Testament