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Building Vocabulary Stats of Synoptics and John

I was looking at some interesting tables on John's vocabulary at this site. In it, the author, Dale Loepp, compares John's use of certain words related to the family with the total number of occurrences in the NT and each of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). But what really hit me was the thought of how easy it is to get all those results in a very short time with some of today's Bible software programs. I happened to be browsing the net with my Mac, so I fired up Accordance and opened a search window set to Words with the Greek NT in it. I then chose [All text] as the search field (NT would have also been fine), and duplicated that same window four times. Next, I changed the search fields of those four windows to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, respectively. All that I needed to do before running the search was to link all five windows (by using the LINK command in the last four). The whole operation took slightly over a minute (maybe less), and I was all set to do the searching. I just wrote ἀγαπάω, pressed the Enter key, and in the blinking of an eye each window showed the results (143 times in the NT, 8 in Matthew, 5 in Mark, 13 in Luke, and 37 in John).

Getting a detail of the references in John was simply a mouse-click away with the Concordance feature, as were many other statistical and analytical tools. I thought I could make regular use of this particular layout, so I saved the session. Now, whenever I want to see the distribution of some Greek word across the NT, the Synoptics and John, all I have to do is write the term in one window and click OK. Yes, a single search is all you need! FYI, I could have used a Workspace (i.e., one window) with five tabs, but in this particular case I preferred the "clutter", so that I could see all the numbers at a glance (or maybe I was just too lazy to use Control-Tab or Shift-Control-Tab to cycle through open tabs?).

Incidentally, the data offered for the word ἀδελφός (26-3-5-3-6) is wrong. The right figures are as follows: 343 hits in the NT, 39 in Matthew, 20 in Mark, 24 in Luke and 14 in John. I'll let you find the refs. in John's Gospel all by yourselves :-)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 31, 2004 6:26 PM.

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