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Friday, August 29, 2008

Resource Friday - Online Concordances

photo by Altemark

Just the other day I was trying to recall a particular verse. I’m terrible about remembering where to find certain Scripture. I could tell you that this particular verse was in the New Testament, was not in the gospels, was past Romans, but that was about it. While that narrowed it down, I didn’t want to spend the entire afternoon playing a scavenger hunt through the Bible looking for it.

That’s where a good concordance comes in handy. A concordance is an index of words or topics found in the Bible, referring you to where to find it in verse. Some concordances also give Hebrew and Greek translations of the original word.

It’s a great tool, not only for looking up a verse that’s right on the tip of your tongue, but for doing word or topic studies, clarifying intent in the original language, or impressing your neighbor when you tell them that the word ‘love’ is listed 496 times in the NIV.

Our family has several kinds of concordances. Most of our Bibles have a small concordance in the back. Sometimes, though, it’s just easier to click a mouse while you’re at the computer to find the verse that you need.

Online References, a for-profit Christian site, has several free features, including concordances. Nave’s Topical Bible contains over 20,000 topics and subtopics and 100,000 references to Scripture. Typing in the word ‘patience’, for instance, provides 35 verse references, links to the related words of ‘longsuffering’ and ‘meekness’, and over ten instances of people in the Bible who displayed the virtue of patience.

This feature would make a great tool for a word or topic study for your children, especially if there’s an issue you’d like to address that everyone is struggling with.

Crosswalk also has Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, where if you want to look up any word, short of prepositions (with, at,), articles (the, a, an), conjunctions (and) and a few others, you’ll find it here. Again, using the word ‘patience’, you can find any verse with that word in it in a multitude of Bible translations. It appears in sixteen verses in the NIV.

This would be a good tool for studying a particular word or trying to narrow down where a certain verse is, like I often have to do.

Strong’s also offers deeper word study. Click on the drop down window for Bible translation, select “KJV with Strong’s Numbers” (it’s only available in King James or New American Standard), and then click the link in any verse for the word ‘patience’. You’ll find the original word in Greek, its phonetic spelling with an icon to click with audio pronunciation, its part of speech, its definition, a list of verses in which the same word can be found, and a list of its word usage in the KJV.

This would be useful for older children to learn how to use this reference tool and to get clarification on how a certain word was intended.

A concordance is almost a mandatory tool for doing family devotions, although I wouldn’t worry too much about getting into one until you’ve been doing devotions for awhile. However, there will come a moment when you realize you could use one, and these online versions will be at your fingertips ready for you to use.
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I need ideas for how to use a concordance for family Bible study. What was the most interesting or fun study you did in which you used a concordance? Did something in particular knock your socks off? Click on the comment link below to leave your idea. You may see your idea posted in an article for other families to use!
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