How to Use a Bible Concordance

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1 9/9 Intro/Concordance MP3 PPT Student Notes Teacher Notes

WHAT is a Bible Concordance?

A Bible Concordance is an alphabetical index of words used in the Bible with references to where each word occurs. Typically, the word is listed within the portion of scripture where it is located, followed by the Biblical reference in canonical order. It might look something like this:


L your neighbor as                  Lev 19:18

l covers all sin                        Prov 10:12

to you, l your enemies             Matt 5.44

the greatest of these is l        1 Cor 13:13

WHY use a Bible Concordance?

  1. To find a particular verse that has at least one word that you know
  2. To find helpful cross references which contain the same word you are studying
  3. To discover and define the original root Greek or Hebrew word behind the English translation

What kinds of Bible Concordances are there?

Four kinds of Bible Concordances

First, a concordance may be called exhaustive, such as the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. An exhaustive concordance covers every single word in the English bible (including ‘the’ and ‘an’!).

Second, a concordance may be called complete, like Cruden’s Complete Concordance for example. A complete concordance will not have the ‘the’ and ‘an’ references but will typically give all the references to the main words you might want to look up.

The third kind of concordance is a concise concordance, the kind you can find in the back of many Bibles. A concise concordance will give selective references to selective words.

The last kind of concordance is an analytical concordance, such as Young’s Analytical Concordance. An analytical concordance is similar to a complete concordance in what it covers but organizes the content differently. All other concordances organize the content according to the alphabetical order of the English word and then by its appearance in the Bible. An analytical concordance adds an extra step in organization. After the organizing the English words alphabetically the words are then organized by Greek or Hebrew word from which it is translated. For that reason it is favored by pastors and scholars who are familiar with the original languages.

Most Common

By far the most common Bible concordance is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance for the KJV (King James Version). Behind this one are Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible and Cruden’s Complete Concordance.

Most Current

There are many concordances for the modern translations and versions of the Bible. These include:

  • ESV Exhaustive Concordance (2018)
  • The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance (2015)
  • New King James Version Concordance (1992)

HOW to use a Bible Concordance:

 Find a Verse
1.    Look up the word you are looking for in the concordance.

2.    Scan through the list of verses until you find the verse.


Find Helpful Cross References
1.    Look up a word you want to find other references for in the concordance.

2.    Scan through the list of verses and write down any references that look helpful.

3.    In your Bible, look up each reference and cite and summarize* the most helpful references.


*How to Cite and Summarize

For example, if you chose Romans 5:8 which talks about God’s love for lost people you would write:

Rom. 5:8 – God’s love for lost people

Discover the Greek or Hebrew Word
1.    Find the word that you want to research from your passage of scripture in the front part of the concordance, much like using a dictionary.

2.    Locate the Strong’s Number for the word. Once you find the word, you will see a list of Old and New Testament passages in which the word can be found. Next to the reference for each passage is a number, called a Strong’s Number. Regular type indicates a Hebrew word (Old Testament) and italic type indicates a Greek word (New Testament). Note the number for your particular word.

3.    Find the word in the Hebrew or Greek dictionary at the back of the concordance, using the Strong’s number. Write out the definition of the word and then paraphrase the definition in your own words.



  1. Let’s say you are looking for the verse that says “… God so loved the world…” but you don’t know where it is in the Bible. Use the Find a Verse method to locate the verse that contains this phase. For this exercise, use the word ‘loved’. Where is this verse found?
  2. Does the word ‘loved’ appear anywhere else in chapter three of John? If so, where? Does he use it in the same way?
  3. Does John use the same word anywhere else in his book? If so, write down 3 references where he uses the same word in a similar way.
  4. With your concordance open to ‘loved’, use the Find Helpful Cross References method to write down a few references to look up. Cite and summarize your top three references.
  5. If you are using a Strong’s Concordance, try to discover the Greek word behind the English word for ‘loved’.
  6. What is the Strong’s number?
  7. Using the Greek Dictionary section of the Strong’s look up the Greek word using the number. What is the Greek word used here?
  8. If you are using a digital concordance, search the for Strong’s number and answer the following questions:
  9. Does John use this word anywhere else in chapter 3? If so, where?
  10. List 3 more references from the book of John.
  11. List 3 more references from the rest of the Bible.

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