A Bible concordance can be a helpful tool for studying the Bible. A concordance contains an alphabetical index of words used in the Bible and the main Bible references where the word occurs. A Bible concordance is useful in locating passages in the Bible. If you can remember just one word in a verse, you can often find what you’re looking for.
A good concordance will also help with original language study. In Strong’s, for example, each English word is assigned a number that corresponds to the original Greek or Hebrew word. The Old Testament (Hebrew) words are numbered 0001—8674; the New Testament (Greek) words are numbered in italics 0001—5624. Strong’s includes Hebrew and Greek dictionaries at the back of the concordance, allowing you to easily numerically look up the meaning of the original word behind every word in the Bible.
When trying to locate a particular Scripture verse, it is easier to look under one of the more uncommon words in the verse. For example; if you were trying to find a verse that said something like "cleanse your hands you sinners..." cleanse would be the least common word used here which would make it easier to find the verse. Note that the word "cleanse" is replaced by the italicized first letter of the word, "c", in each verse listed.
Become familiar with the layout of the concordance by examining the sample below. Then study the "real thing".
There are concordances for many versions of the Bible on line - FREE!
Besides being able to locate verses in the Bible, you can determine what Hebrew or Greek word it was translated from. This will give you a pretty good idea if the translators got it right or if there is a problem. Errors occur more often than we would like to believe. Since it can be the difference in finding what God really has to say to us or believing false teachings, one can see it is critical to get it right.
Let us examine the back of the Concordance where we will find both the Greek Dictionary (for words found in the New Testament) and the Hebrew Dictionary (for words found in the Old Testament).
Study the Concordance to find examples of the (o) degree signs, brackets [ ], etc. that are not pointed out above.
You will find both a Hebrew Abbreviation Chart and a Greek Dictionary Abbreviation Chart in your Concordance that is most helpful in understanding what is being said in the dictionaries. Also you might find it helpful to look up the Abbreviation of Books of the Bible which can be found in the front pages of your Concordance.
Let's put your new skills to the test. (Don't worry, the answers are right under the questions - but don't peek) Let's look up the verse that says: "cleanse me from all my secret faults." Since it is easier to find the more uncommon words, you have a choice of cleanse, secret and faults if you are SURE that is the exact word used. We will use cleanse in our example.
Look in the Strong's Concordance alphabetically until you locate the word cleanse.
1. What other words are listed after "See also"? _________________________________________
Answer: cleansed; cleanseth; cleansing. If you could not locate the verse under the word cleanse, you could look under one of these other words.
2. Read through each of the Scripture verses listed until you locate the one talking about "secret faults". Write the verse we are looking for as it is listed. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Answer: (Psalms 19:12 c` thou me from secret faults. *5352)
3. Where is this Scripture verse to be found?____________________________________________ Answer: (Psalms 19:12)
4. What number is listed after the Scripture verse we are looking for? ________________ Answer: (*5352) A ditto mark (") means it is the same # as the one listed above it.
***IMPORTANT!** All numbers listed for the New Testament are in italics to help distinguish them from the Hebrew .
Now you have found out where your Scripture verse can be located AND you now have a number for the word "cleanse". This number enables you to look up the meaning in the Dictionary located in the back of the Concordance.
5. Which Dictionary will you look in for this number (#5352) and why? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Answer: We will use the Hebrew Dictionary because the word was used in the Old Testament.
The Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries are laid out the same way. First the number of the word you are looking up is listed, then the word is spelled out in Hebrew, (for Old Testament or Greek for the New Testament),followed by an English transliteration and phonetic breakdown of how to say the word in English.
6. What is the English transliteration of the word #5352 ? ___________________________ Answer: (naw-kaw)
Many of the abbreviations used in the Dictionaries are confusing. Fortunately, there is an Abbreviation Chart and a Signs Chart located just before the first page of the Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries in the back of the Concordance. These are worth bookmarking for future use or better yet, enlarge and laminate them for easy long-term use.
Take the time to look up the signs, abbreviations and symbols used in the Concordance and Dictionaries. It will give you a much better understanding of one of the greatest Bible study aids available!
7. The etymology of this Hebrew word (naw-kaw)indicates it is a prim. root. Does "prim." mean "primary" or "primitive"? ________________________________________________ Answer: primitive 8. Write the definition of the Hebrew word #5352. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Answer: to be or to make clean, to be bare, extirpated. Difficult words should be looked up if you don't understand them.
9. What is the meaning of the word "extirpated"?________________________________________ Answer: to eradicate, destroy totally
Study the symbols X, +, ( ), etc. on the "Signs Chart". Of special interest and importance is the sign :- (Nothing printed AFTER this sign is to be considered part of the definition).
Just for fun, you might enjoy seeing this comparison chart of Old Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, Greek and Latin alphabets.