What does the phrase "by extension" mean, when a lexicon, like Strong's, uses that phrase, and then, gives a definition or a meaning?

For example, Strong's states that the word, "hated" in Romans 9:13, "Jacob i have loved, and, Esau, i have hated", means "by extension" to ("love less"); but, other lexicons say the word "hated" in the original Greek language means "to detest", and, literally, to simply, "hate"! The latter definitions seem more true and accurate than Strong's "by extension" definition of "love less". Also, Strong's placed "love less" in parentheses, and that is not normally done by Strong's when providing a definition, even when providing an "extension" meaning.

Could you tell me what the parentheses indicate and mean?

Also, "detest" and simply, "hate" seem like the more likely meaning in Romans 9:13, and not "love less" when comparing it with many other Scriptures in the Bible using the word, "hate","hated", or, "abhor", "abhorred",(etc.), particularly, when describing God's attitude toward "evildoers", or, "wicked" individuals, in the Bible.

Would you please give me a detailed meaning for when Strong's or any other lexicon might use the phrase, "by extension"? Is it the editor's opinion, only, particularly, if surrounded by parentheses? Or, is it something else? What are we extending? Or, is the rendered lexicon definition grounded in fact regarding the original autographs of Sacred Scripture for this or any particular Bible verse under study? Thanks!

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it has nothing to do with christianity – depperm Jun 2 '18 at 21:50
  • 1
    by extension means: taking the same line of argument further. In Strong's 3404 it says: ..to detest (espec. to persecute); by extens. to love less:--hate {41x}... – depperm Jun 2 '18 at 21:57
  • 1
    @depperm, I don't believe this is off-topic. The supporting texts Christians use to study scripture are almost as much a part of their denominational heritage as the scriptures themselves. How we scope the process of study is very Christian and often reflects both devotion and understanding. I think this is a valid quesiton for our site. – JBH Jun 3 '18 at 0:53
  • Every part of a lexicon has been edited by the editors - it's all their well studied opinion about what is most accurate. How could it be anything else? – curiousdannii Jun 3 '18 at 11:48
  • 1
    @JBH This is still a linguistic question, not a question about Christianity. Everything relates to religion and Christianity in some way. That doesn't mean everything is on topic here. – Lee Woofenden Jun 3 '18 at 16:18

I once owned a Strong's concordance and lexicon, but no longer do, and so I cannot verify what I can only describe as an opinion at this point. Therefore, if participants feel this answer must be down voted, I'll understand.

Strong's use of "by extension" basically means, "or, you can look at it this way...." James Strong first published his concordance in 1890 and back then people were much less willing to ascribe to God behaviors that would appear to be very mortal or worldly. The idea of a benevolent god hating someone (such as Esau) is, if you think about it, a bit terrifying. If He can hate one person, whom else might He hate? Indeed, in a number of congregations within and without my own denomination I've met people who believe hate (and anger, to continue the example) are sins — and since God cannot sin, He cannot hate, and therefore something must be wrong with the translation.

It's worth noting as a side note that there may, indeed, be something wrong with the translation. What we call the "original Greek" is not Jesus' original language, and there could be a more "original" document that would better express what He was saying. Further, the particular quote about Esau is Paul talking, and he may not be remembering the exact quote or, worse, he may be embellishing (which he occasionally did).

Or, the scriptures may be dead on accurate and we need to deal with the fact that God may have some very strong, very negative emotions that we may experience if we're not on the up-and-up.

To continue, In Strong's day it would have been very normal to suggest and alternative way of looking at a verse or word that was more culturally sensitive. Therefore, if you are bothered by the idea that God may hate someone, it may be more palatable to believe that He simply "loved that person less" than those whom He loved.

Regrettably, this is a specific idea that many parents then and now can easily relate to. Some kids are easier to love than others....

It is unfortunate that I can't remember my use of Strong's Concordance well enough to remember what the parenthesis would mean, but I'd be willing to bet a milkshake they mean "I think" or "it's possible that." Which is a fancy way of saying, "I'm not sure, but maybe...."

| improve this answer | |

"by extension" is a shortening of the phrase "by logical extension". Considering Romans 13:9, it only requires the application of logic to conclude that Esau was "loved less", although to say that when it seems Esau was loved not at all, is to take away from the Word of God.

| improve this answer | |
  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! When you have a moment, please take our tour and visit our help center to learn more about us. – JBH Jun 4 '18 at 15:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.