Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1828, has enjoyed a renewed interest in American homeschooling and Bible study. The first edition of Webster's dictionary is perhaps the only general dictionary that can also be called a Christian one.
Webster believed that language is a creation of God, and that education is "useless without the Bible."
The 1828 Dictionary is unique in that it consistently references Scripture where applicable and favors Biblical explanations of concepts over secular.
For example, in Webster's definition of sin, the first line reads:
SIN, n. 1. The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God's commands or law.
The Webster 1828 Dictionary is extremely helpful in studying the King James Bible where aid is needed in understanding words no longer in common use.
The dictionary is not a Bible dictionary in the sense of theological study, however. Webster sought to define words in the English language, not to create a doctrinal work. In fact, Webster's primary goal was to provide a dictionary for use in the United States:
"It is not only important, but, in a degree necessary, that the people of this country, should have an American Dictionary of the English language; for, although the body of the language is the same as in England, and it is desirable to perpetuate that sameness, yet some differences must exist. Language is the expression of ideas; and if the people of one country cannot preserve an identity of ideas, they cannot retain an identity of language."
Webster's work is valuable in any study of American history, as Noah Webster began his work in language at the time of the American Revolution. Thus, the Dictionary has been renewed as a tool of education in many American schools and homes. Note Webster's secondary definition of liberty, where natural liberty is defined:
"2. Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government."
The dictionary includes over 60,000 definitions.
A larger, later revision of this work is the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, also included.
SwordSearcher can be conveniently configured to open the appropriate definition in the Webster Dictionary any time a word in the Bible is double-clicked.
This text is part of the SwordSearcher Deluxe Study Library.
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Module abbreviation: Web1828
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