Vine’s Expository Dictionary


Amazon has Vine’s Expository Dictionary for the OT and NT combined on sale for $3.99 in Kindle format.

The NT portion was authored by W. E. Vine in the early 20th Century. He passed away in 1949. He held views very similar to the Churches of Christ, and so this dictionary has been popular in the Churches for many years.

For example,

1. baptisma (908), “baptism,” consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence (from bapto, “to dip”), is used (a) of John’s “baptism,” (b) of Christian “baptism,” see B. below; (c) of the overwhelming afflictions and judgments to which the Lord voluntarily submitted on the cross, e.g., Luke 12:50; (d) of the sufferings His followers would experience, not of a vicarious character, but in fellowship with the sufferings of their Master. Some mss. have the word in Matt. 20:22-23; it is used in Mark 10:38-39, with this meaning.

Vine, W.E.; Merrill F. Unger (1996-08-26). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index (Kindle Locations 20488-20492). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The OT portion was edited by Merrill Unger, and the contributors include some very impressive OT scholars.

One of the more attractive features is that the dictionary works from the English of the KJV rather than from the Greek. You can also search using the Strong’s number for a Greek or Hebrew word, which many websites and software programs provide. You do need to be careful that a given English word might translate more than one Greek word. Plenty of free internet resources or a good interlinear paper book (such as the Zodhiates Word Study Bible) let’s you confirm that you’ve got the right Greek word. And Vine’s usually directly references the verses where a given word is found, making it unnecessary to go another resource.

While the KJV has its weaknesses, it’s still the most commonly sold version of the Bible, and many of us learned our Bible verses using the KJV. So even if I’m working from a modern translation, I either remember the KJV well enough — or else have easy access to parallel versions, such as through

This is a deal. I don’t know how long it will last.

I got my hard copy as a wedding present in 1975, and it opened up the text for me in ways I can’t describe. It’s not the best Bible dictionary or most respected, but it’s a good one, and it’ll be of immense help, especially if your Greek or Hebrew is weak — or non-existent.

For a theologically controversial word, be sure to check more recent sources so you know all you can on the subject before taking a position. There’s been a lot of scholarship on koine Greek since Vine’s was authored. So like any human effort, it’ll not be perfect. But it’s still a great resource that got me through the first few hundred Sunday school classes I taught.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Vine’s Expository Dictionary

  1. Ray Downen says:

    The language of England at the time of King James is very different from the English we speak today in the U.S.A. I don’t speak Greek or Hebrew, so I want study of the Bible to be from a dependable translation into current English. For that reason, I prefer the English Standard Version now after most earlier study was in the American Standard Version. So also, I have little interest in any helps which are based on KJV English, but much interest in dependable scholarship based on words as WE use them in the U.S.A. today.

Leave a Reply