Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Concordance

This post is a re-blog of my post at Rolfing Unshelved.

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools. This series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.

Basic Description of Concordance

A Biblical concordance is a reference tool that provides an alphabetic listing of Biblical words along with their Biblical references. This allows one to study the various uses of words throughout scripture.

Some concordances are organized according to the original Biblical languages (e.g., Hebrew and Greek). Other concordances are organized according to receptor languages (e.g., English), although these often include information about the Greek and Hebrew that stands behind the translations.

Key English Concordance

Strong’s Concordance, produced by James Strong and colleagues, is the most popular and useful Biblical concordance. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible includes:

  • The standard concordance.
  • A concordance of articles, conjunctions, particles, prepositions and pronouns.
  • Topical index to the Bible.
  • Dictionaries of the Biblical languages.
  • Nave’s topical Bible reference system.
  • Other supplementary material.

Strong’s follows the English translation of King James Version.

Cover ArtStrong’s numbers” – Strong’s is famous for its numbering system. In Strong’s, each root word in the original Biblical languages is assigned a number (know as “Strong’s numbers”). These numbers are included alongside the English words listed in the concordance. In other words, each English listing in the concordance is supplied with a “Strong’s number” that corresponds to the original word from which the English was translated. These numbers serve the following functions:

  • Strong’s includes supplementary Hebrew and Greek dictionaries which are organized according to these “Strong’s numbers.” With the use of these dictionaries one is able to examine the basic meaning of words in their original languages.
  • One can examine the usage of Biblical words in the original languages by conducting searches according to “Strong’s numbers.” Such searches can be performed by any Hebrew and Greek concordances that include “Strong’s numbers” (e.g., The New Englishman’s Concordance [Hebrew; Greek]) or various online tools (such as this one).

Thus, although its usefulness is obviously limited (e.g., definitions of Hebrew and Greek words are necessarily simplistic and limited), Strong’s is a great word study tool for those who do not know the original Biblical languages.

Greek and Hebrew Concordances

Hebrew and Greek concordances are based on the original languages and also list occurrences (with some surrounding context) in these original languages.

Hebrew-English and Greek-English concordances are based on the original languages but list occurrences (with some surrounding context) in English.

A New Concordance of the Bible: Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible, Hebrew and Aramaic Roots, Words, Proper Names, Phrases and Synonyms – Abraham Even-Shoshan

Electronic Concordances

Online: Several Bible study websites allow one to quickly and easily search the Bible for specific words or phrases. BibleGateway has over 180 translations in over 70 languages (including the original Biblical languages).

Bible software: Various Bible softwares (e.g., BibleWorks, Logos, Accordance) allow one to search various for specific words or phrases in either the original languages or various translations. Select Rolfing Library computers are programmed with BibleWorks.

Concordance Samples

Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, John R. Kohlenberger, and James A. Swanson (Grand Rapid, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 871.

Concordance to the Greek New Testament by William Fiddian Moulton, Alfred Shenington Geden, and Harold Keeling Moulton (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2002), 432-433.

BibleWorks Software. * Click on photos for larger image.