I posted this on another messageboard, and thought I would share here also.
First off, I'm no scholar or anything of the sort. I'll just share a few things I know. Since some seem to be getting into "studying the Greek," this might be helpful.
Words are very important, but how often do we think about what a "word" is or does? Words are more than just a common string of sounds. Words convey ideas and thoughts to another person. It's amazing to think about how a noise coming out of someones mouth could be received to actually be intelligible. Amazing! One thing we need to realize is that when we acquired our native tongue, we didn't do that by studying a dictionary. Of course not! We couldn't have even read it! Truly, words don't have definitions but histories of meanings. A word is used in a common manner so we slap upon it a string of words and call it a definition, but really this isn't how you know what the word means. To be able to understand a word you have to have a history with that word. Again I stress that words aren't really learned, but acquired through a history of usage either in hearing, reading, or speaking. You can "learn" a word, but just being able to add a string of words together about that word, doesn't necessary mean you understand it's meaning.
What was the point of that first paragraph, you might ask? I say that because in translating from another language you don't just match up words. It's more than that. It can be commonly thought of when looking at a "Greek definition" that a particular word can mean X amount of things. Well, that may or may not be true. Translating a word or phrase is not like pulling a word out of a bucket and hoping it's the right one. Neither is it like having a list of words that it "can mean" and matching it with the one "you want." It may look like that if you were to just look at a dictionary, but it's just not so. Again, words don't merely have definitions, but convey a certain meaning.
A huge problem can arise when "looking at Greek" if you think that a word can always mean X amount of things into English. Here is the thrust of this whole post: [b][u]For you to truly translate a word from Greek into English, you have to understand it in Greek before you can translate it into English. [/u][/b] It is detrimental that you be able to understand it [u]in Greek[/u] because you must acquire the meaning of the word. After you have acquired the meaning of the word [u]in Greek[/u], then you can put your mind to work by thinking of the words/phrases that convey the same meaning into English.
Do I fully understand Greek? Not on your life! This is why I know that if I come up with a "translation" that no reputable Bible has, I'm wrong.