Study Helps: Concordance

A most essential tool for scripture study is a good concordance. The concordance helps you locate a scripture for which you remember one or two keywords that are in that scripture. Check this out:

Exercise 1 Any Concordance
Suppose you want to look up the Good Shepherd passage, but cannot remember its location (its address in the Bible).
You do remember the word “shepherd”, so look under the “s’” in your concordance.
Run down the “s” section until you find “shepherd”. (Don’t worry; it is there!)
Under the word “shepherd” there will be two columns of information. Depending on the particular concordance you are using, you will find scripture references to the right or to the left. Note the scripture references.
If you are not certain whether your reference is OT or NT, you will need to run down the entire list of references, checking out the snippets of scripture beside each reference. The scriptures listed begin with OT and move into NT.
If you know that the Good Shepherd passage is in the Gospels, then you need only check Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Read the scripture snippets, realizing that “shepherd is usually represented by only “s”.
Most concordances will give you “I am the good s’….John 10:11.

And there you have it. That simple! Look up
John 10:11 and you find the whole passage.

As you use your
concordance, you will develop a sense of what key words are the most significant for this sort of search. For instance, if you wanted to find the Good Shepherd passage using the word “good”, you would have to use an exhaustive edition such as Strong’s to find anything.


Where Can You Find a Concordance?
When shopping for a good study Bible, always check for a concordance in the back of it. This is the obvious first place to acquire one. Do a little word searching with the concordance before buying.

Both the
Spirit Filled Life Bible and the Amplified Bible have fine concordances. This is especially handy for traveling when you don’t want to carry a five pound concordance with you. Also handy when you’re reading in your nice warm bed and don’t want to dash to your desk for a quick reference!

At some point you will see the need for an exhaustive concordance that lists almost every imaginable word in scripture except for articles and conjunctions. My pick for this job is the
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. ( See how to use this for finding word meanings)


Exercise 2: Using Strong’s
The Strong’s is a BIG book, but works just like any other concordance. It helps to know that it is based on the translation of the Parallel Bible. I’ve had good luck using the KJV the NKJV in locating scriptures with this concordance. Of course, getting the right key word is the challenge with any concordance.

Let’s suppose you want to locate the scripture about the mustard-sized faith.
You know Jesus talked about this, so your scripture is in the Gospels.
Look at the “F’s’ in the concordance. Find “faith”.
In the left hand column you’ll see the abbreviation for the scripture references. In the middle column will be a 4-8 word snippet from that scripture with “faith” represented by “f”’.
In the case of “faith”, there are only two OT references before you get to the NT references. You can find your scripture in Matt
17:20 and in Luke 17:6.
This scripture can also be located by searching with the word “mustard”.

As you can see, a scripture may be listed in a number of different places, depending on how many key words are in that particular line of scripture. Naturally, all you need to find is one place where it is listed and you will be off to the scripture-finding races.

After brief exposure to a
concordance, I’m sure you will see the how essential it is to scripture study. And, I don’t think you can beat the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. The one I have is so old, it has no copyright date. Safe to say this one has stood the test of time!


Resources
Strong's Concordance for Word Meanings