Every once in a while I get a question that is so basic that it has never occurred to me to answer it. Someone asked me the other day, how do we know what Greek and Hebrew words mean?
The answers for Greek and Hebrew are somewhat different, so let me start with the Greek.
For a language like Greek, there has been a long tradition of lexicons and translations. From these, it is relatively easy to find the meaning of most Greek words. When a sentence is translated from, let’s say, Greek into Latin, since we know Latin, it is relatively easy to work back into Greek and see what the Greek word means. We can also look at the ancient lexicons and see how they define the Greek words.