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A Handy NT Greek Lexicon

July 12, 2017

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly recommended to students A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, by G. Abbott-Smith.  I’ve often been surprised at how infrequently people knew about it.  For it’s perhaps the best hand-lexicon around.

In a volume of slightly more than 500 pages, about 3 cm thick, and about 14.5 x 22 cm, it’s compact enough to keep on your desk and take along in a briefcase.  And, yet, the volume includes a great deal of data in this package.  For example, it is rich in references to uses of a word in the NT, such that it is a complete concordance of uses of 95% of words used in the NT.  And if the word is used in the LXX, the lexicon gives LXX instances as well, a complete list of LXX instances for nearly 40% of such words used in the NT.  As well, the lexicon gives the Hebrew word that is translated for each Greek LXX word used in the NT.

The lexicon first appeared in 1922, and then went through two further editions, the most recent one in 1937.  Of course, for serious work leading to publication, you would want to check other and later lexica, and, more importantly, do your own analysis of word-usage.  But for that first look at a word, for initial exegesis of a NT text, I think that Abbott-Smith is hard to beat, especially as its size makes for easy usage.

It’s still available, new from Bloomsbury T&T Clark, but at an unnecessarily steep price.  Look around for used copies, which can be found.  The 1922 edition is available in e-form here, and so can be downloaded to your computer.  But know that the 1937 edition has a number of corrections.

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  1. Brent Niedergall permalink

    I’ve added Abbot-Smith to my desk desktop toolset and I’m amazed at how frequently I’ve already found reason to consult it. There’s a wealth of exegetically significant information readily available to the student. It did take my my eyes a little time to grow accustomed to how entries are listed: each line beginning a new entry is indented and there is not a space between each entry (which I realize contributes to the volumes compactness).

  2. Is there a 1922 edition?

    • Yes. Abbott-Smith originally appeared in 1922, and it’s this edition that is now copyright free and so freely available online. The 1937 edition incorporated a number of corrections.

  3. Mr Malcolm Horlock permalink

    The Lexicon is freely downloadable in PDF here …


  4. BTW, for users of Logos, there is a Logos version of Abbott-Smith that isn’t too expensive.

  5. Agreed. Abbott-Smith is awesome!

  6. Charles Cherry permalink

    The 1922 edition is also available for Logos Bible Software:

  7. David Booth permalink

    Prof. Hurtado. I regularly use Frederick Danker’s “Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament” and only occasionally look words up in BDAG. Are there reasons to prefer Abbot-Smith’s lexicon over Danker’s?

    Thank you!

    • The features I mentioned make the Abbott-Smith lexicon a particularly useful single volume.

  8. Following a tip from an Amazon review, I picked up a copy a while back. In fact, it’s currently right by my desk.

    Another seemingly not well-known smaller lexicon is Danker’s 2009 The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. As its title suggests, it’s strictly for NT usage, though. (It’s also by my desk.)

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