Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bible Study Tools (part 2) - Concordance

The word concordance itself means “of the same heart,” verses that containing the same word are arranged alphabetically for our convenience. It is said that the first concordance was made in Latin by Cardinal Hugo (died in 1262). Five hundred monks helped him with the work of arranging the 773,000 words making up the Bible. The first English concordance, which appeared in the reign of Edward the 6th, was compiled by John Merbecke, whose music is still used in the Church of England. For a time Merbecke was the organist of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. (Much of this information can be found in David Cloud's How To Study the Bible booklet, check out the link on "Way of Life.")

A concordance gives us all the references to all the passages of the Bible in which every word in the text is found. So a concordance is necessary in Bible study, since it enables us:
1. To find a place in which a word or a passage occurs – and what a time saver this is.
2. To obtain a list of all the occurrences of that word – excellent tool in a topical study.
3. To obtain a knowledge of the exact force and shade of meaning conveyed by the original Hebrew or Greek word which the English word in the passage translates.

Cruden’s Complete Concordance
Alexander Cruden compiled his work in 1749. The nature of the concordance is “complete” not that it contains every word, but every significant passage. The second edition of the Bible concordance was published in 1761, and presented to the king in person on Dec. 21. The third appeared in 1769. These both contained a pleasing portrait of the author. He returned to London from Aberdeen, and died suddenly while praying in his lodgings in Camden Passage, Islington, in Nov. 1, 1770.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
The author was James Strong (1822-1916). He was a conservative Methodist Bible scholar. He was proficient in Greek and Hebrew as well as some other ancient languages. As a professor at two Bible colleges he fought modernism. He spent 35 years working on his work until it was first published in 1890.
The nature of this concordance is exhaustive. That means it covers every word in the KJV Bible. Not only is it exhaustive, but every English word is conveniently label by a number which links it to its word in the original language. It provides a concise dictionary at the back, so that even if you do not know how to read the Hebrew or Greek, you may still learn its definition and see the accuracy of the KJV.

Young’s Analytical Concordance
Dr. Robert Young was a most gifted Hebrew and Greek Scholar who also gave the church numerous other works in Biblical and Oriental literature. The nature of this concordance is analytical because unlike Strong’s the corresponding original Hebrew or Greek word is found at the footer of the ‘word’ that is being looked at. So that you also find other words which are translated differently but using the same orig. word.

There are many other Concordances that are made available by other Christian Publishers. I like "The New Combined Bible Dictionary and Concordance" by Charles F. Pfeiffer, published by Baker Book House. It is certainly concise and handy.
Also I will be covering some Bible softwares that make 'looking up a verse' a snap.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Bill,
Have you ever used the Englishmans's Concordance. It takes the Greek or Hebrew word and shows everywhere that word is found regardless of the English word used in the translation. Very good tool.

Unknown said...

Dr. Gary,
I do not have a doctorate degree.

Oh yes, I have used the Englishman's Con. I will feature that under "Language Tools." But it is certainly a noteworthy work. Thank you for you comment.