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Session 5: Section 1

Study Tools (Part 1)

We are going to look at two study tools that can be very useful - the concordance and the lexicon.

The most commonly used concordances are Young’s Concordance and Strong's Concordance. Both of these concordances relate to the Authorised Version of the Bible. Similar concordances are available for the New King James Version and the New International Version. Other smaller concordances are available, but they are not as thorough.

Young's Concordance contains an alphabetical listing of almost all the words in the Bible, giving the original Hebrew or Greek words, together with their literal meaning and “transliteration” (the original word expressed in English letters). It also contains an index lexicon, which gives all the ways that each word is translated.

Here is a typical entry in Young’s Concordance together with explanations
(shown by (* )):

    ACCEPTED (of) (*1)
  1. Acceptable, receivable (*2), [dektos] (*3), dektos (*4)
  2. Luke 4.24 No prophet is accepted in his own (*5)
    Acts 10.35 worketh righteousness, is accepted with
    2 Co. 6.2 I have heard thee in a time accepted

  3. Well pleasing, [euarestos], euarestos (*6)
  4. 2 Co. 5.9 or absent, we may be accepted of him

  5. Very acceptable, [euprosdektos], euprosdektos (*7)
  6. Rom 15.31 my service...may be accepted of the
    2 Co. 6.2 behold, now (is) the accepted time; behold
              8.12 accepted according to that a man hath

(*1) Word looked up
(*2) Literal meaning of first original word translated ‘accepted’
(*3) Original Hebrew or Greek of first word translated ‘accepted’ would appear here
(*4) Original first word expressed in English letters
(*5) Occurrences of first original word
(*6) Details of second original word

(*7) Details of third original word

Strong’s Concordance contains an alphabetical listing of all the words in the Bible together with a number which is used in the lexicon at the back to give the meaning. The Strong’s lexicon also gives the pronunciation. It is a matter of personal preference which concordance to use. Young's tends to be easier to use, but Strong’s gives more information. We will show you an example of how to use concordances.

For use with a PC, the Online Bible is a very useful tool to have. It is based on the Strong’s numbering system. It is more useful than either Young’s or Strong’s in that it can search for combinations of words or phrases in addition to individual words. The Authorised Version Online Bible can be copied freely. If you would like a copy, you can download it here.

When to use a concordance

A concordance is useful when trying to locate a verse when you can only remember just a phrase or word.

e.g. Where does it say “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

In this phrase pick the most uncommon word, to reduce the number of references you will need to look at. Try “forsaken”. If you do not find it under “forsaken”, look at related words, like “forsake”.

We have copied a small part of the reference for “FORSAKE, to” from Young's: (There are nine words in the original translated “forsake”. We have reproduced the entry for the eighth word because it contains the references we are interested in.)

  • 8 To leave down in, [egkataleipo], egkatataleipo.
  • Matt 27.46 My God! my God! Why hast thou forsa.
    Mark 15.34 My God! My God! why hast thou forsa.
    2 Co. 4. 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down
    2 Ti. 4. 10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having lov
      4.16 but all (men) forsook me (I pray God...)
    Heb 10.25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves
      13. 5 I will never leave thee nor forsake thee

You will see that the quotation we are looking for is either Matthew 27 v 26 or Mark 15 v 34.
Strong’s works in a similar way, but uses a numbering system to find the original word.

When to use a concordance and lexicon

When the Bible was translated into English, remember that the original Old Testament texts were in Hebrew and the original New Testament texts were in Greek. As a result, when certain of the words were translated into English, they lost some of their shades of meaning. A lexicon can help to find the real meaning of the original word after you have found the original word or words in the concordance.

e.g. What does the Bible mean by “World”?

Part of the Young’s entry in the concordance section looks like this:

(We have not included the original Hebrew and Greek words.)

    WORLD -
  1. Land, earth, erets.
  2. Psa. 22. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember
    Isa. 23. 17 fornication with all the kingdoms of the w.
      62. 11 hath proclaimed unto the end of the world
    Jer. 25. 26 all the kingdoms of the world, which (are)

  3. Cessation, chedel.
  4. Isa. 38. 11 no more with the inhabitants of the world

  5. Lifetime, age, cheled.
  6. Psa. 17. 14 from men of the world, (which have) their
      49. 1 give ear, all (ye) inhabitants of the world

  7. Indefinite time, or its love, olam.
  8. Psa. 73. 12 these (are) the ungodly, who prosper in t.w.
    Eccl. 3. 11 also he hath set the world in their heart

  9. Fruit bearing or habitable earth, tebel.
  10. 1 Sa. 2. 8 the LORD's, and he hath set the world up.
    2 Sa. 22. 16 foundations of the world were discovered
    1 Ch. 16. 30 world also shall be stable, that it be not

    (+32 more references in the Old Testament)

  11. Age, indefinite time, dispensation, aion.
  12. Matt. 12. 32 neither in this world, neither in the (world)
      13. 22 care of this world, and the deceitfulness
      13. 39 the harvest is the end of the world; and
      13. 40 so shall it be in the end of this world
      13. 49 so shall it be at the end of the world: the

    (+23 more references in the New Testament)

  13. Ages, dispensations, aionon.
  14. 1. Co. 2. 7 which God ordained before the world unto
      10. 11 upon whom the ends of the world are
    Heb. 9. 26 but now once in the end of the world

  15. Land, earth, ge.
  16. Rev. 13. 3 and all the world wondered after the be.

  17. Arrangement, beauty, world, kosmos.
  18. Matt. 4. 8 showeth him all the kingdoms of the wor.
      5. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that
      13. 35 kept secret from the foundation [of the w.]
      13. 38 The field is the world; the good seed are
      16.26 if he shall gain the whole world, and lose

    (+174 more references in the New Testament)

  19. Habitable earth or land, oikoumene.
  20. Matt. 24. 14 preached in all the world for a witness
    Luke 2. 1 a decree... that all the world should be ta.
      4. 5 showed... him all the kingdoms of the w.
    Acts 11. 28 be great dearth throughout all the world
      17. 6 These that have turned the world upside

    (+ 9 more references in the New testament)

Here is a summary of what the concordance search is saying.

  1. There are ten different original words (five in the Old Testament and five in the New) all translated “world”. You will remember from the earlier explanation that the words given after the meanings of the words (e.g. “erets”) are the original Hebrew or Greek words expressed in English letters.
  2. The verses where the word “world” appears in the Authorised Version.

You can then use the index lexicon at the back of the concordance to find out what other words are used as translations of the same original word. Remember there is a lexicon for the Old Testament and a separate one for the New Testament.

If you want to find out more about the first word, look at the anglicised word “erets” in the Old Testament lexicon. This is what the concordance tells us:

ERETS  
  country 140
  earth freq.
  field 1
  ground 96
  land freq
  nation 1
  way 3
  world 4

This says that “erets” is also translated “country” 140 times, “earth” frequently, “field” once, and so on down the list.

You can then look up these words in the main body of the concordance and find out what the passages say. Part of the “country” and “earth” entries are set out below.

    COUNTRY -

  • 3. Land, country, erets.
  • Gen. 10. 20 in their countries, (and) in their nations
      12. 1 Get thee out of thy country, and from
      19. 28 the smoke of the country went up as the
      20. 1 Abraham journeyed... toward the south c.
      24. 4 thou shalt go unto my country, and to

    (+ many more references in the Old Testament

    EARTH -

  • 3. Earth, land erets.
  • Gen. 1. 1 God created the heaven and the earth
      1 . 2 And the earth was without form and
      1. 10 And God called the dry (land) Earth
      1. 11 God said, Let the earth bring forth
      1. 11 whose seed (is) in itself, upon the earth

    (+ 100's more references in the Old Testament)

We can now see all the different shades of meaning of the anglicised word “erets”.

We can do similar things with Strong’s Concordance.

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