8. Concordance

We stress that it is a concordance of the Bible under discussion. A concordance lists the occurrences of specific words within a text so there are examples that list all the words that Shakespeare uses and even one for the lyrics of The Beatles so do not go on-line and buy the first concordance that you find.

Of all the basic tools for Bible study it is the concordance that has been rendered most obsolete by new technology. There are several websites that allow you to do most, if not all, that an old book-based concordance does at considerably less expense. For example, www.biblegateway.com allows exhaustive key word searches and almost all Bible apps allow you to search in a number of ways.

The three “classic” concordances of yesteryear were all based on the King James Version. That of Alexander Cruden (169 -1770) is best avoided as he is neither comprehensive nor does he give access to the original languages. Both the concordances of James Strong (1822-1894) and Robert Young (1822-1888) are much more complete than Cruden’s and both, in their different ways, open up the original languages for us. All three are still in print and very easy to pick up second-hand but you need a KJV Bible to make them work. Those of us who grew up in the King James’ tradition (using, for example, the Revised Standard Version) can usually manage to “translate” back into “King James’ English” but if you cannot do this you are advised to select a more modern concordance based on a more modern text – or to work on-line.

Examples to consider:

Ellison, John W., Nelson’s Complete Concordance of the Revised Standard Version (New York: Nelson, 1957).

Goodrick, Edward W., and John R. Kohlenberger III, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance (3rd edition) (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013).

Kohlenberger, John R., III, The NRSV Concordance: Unabridged 
(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991).

Metzger, Bruce M., New Revised Standard Version Exhaustive Concordance (Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson, 1991).

It would be nice to say “Try before you buy” but it could be difficult to source enough to make a meaningful comparison. Visit your local library or contact us for further advice.

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