What is a Bible concordance and how can it be used?
A Bible concordance is a great reference to use when wanting to do more in-depth biblical study. In one sense it functions like a dictionary, because it is an alphabetically arranged book of biblical words and their definitions, but its use extends far beyond that of a dictionary. It includes a list of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words used within the Bible and their original definitions. Its functional purpose goes beyond that of a dictionary, because when looking up a word in a concordance, each word entry includes a full list of references from the Bible in which that word is used.
For instance, if you were to look up the word peace in a concordance, it would show you the definition of peace in the original language along with a listing of every verse in the Bible which uses the same word for peace. A concordance makes it easy to find specific Scriptures, study specific words, and find parallels in meaning between Scriptures.
A concordance helps you to dive deeper into the truest meanings contained within the Bible by learning the original word's definition. Different translations of the Bible frequently translate the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words differently from each other, which means most concordances are translation-specific. Many Bibles have a very basic concordance included in the back pages, but there are some concordances available that contain every single word in the Bible. These are called "exhaustive" concordances. The most commonly used exhaustive concordance is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Additionally, there are some free concordances available online.
Looking up a word in a concordance can also be a helpful tool in finding a specific reference the location of which you cannot remember. For instance, you might remember reading about Noah finding favor. If you look up the word favor in a concordance, the first few references that pop up are as follows:
Genesis 6:8, But Noah found f. in the eyes of the... H2580
Genesis 18:13, and said, "O Lord, if I have found f. in your sight… H2580
Genesis 19:19 Behold, your servant has found f. in your sight... H2580
You will notice that Genesis 6:8 is the verse you were looking for. You'll also notice that each of these three references uses the same Hebrew word for grace (H2580). You can look up the word in the back section of the concordance. Upon looking up H2580, you will find the definition you were looking for: "H2580 chēn from H2603 chanan; graciousness, i.e. Subjective (kindness, favor) or Objective (beauty): — favour, grace(-ious), pleasant, precious, (well-)favoured."
A Bible concordance is a very useful tool for studying the Bible and growing in your depth of knowledge of the scriptures.
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