Bible Studies Net

How to use a Concordance

Print this out! You will want to keep this!

QUESTION: I have some questions and I know that answer is somewhere in the Bible. How do I find them? How do I use a Concordance?

ANSWER: To study God's word for yourself and to find answers to your questions, you need 2 Books:

1. Your Bible


2. An Exhaustive Concordance

(which is 'keyed' to the Bible you are using.)

If you are using a KJV Bible, you should use a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance or a Young's Exhaustive Concordance

If you are using the NIV Bible, get the NIV Exhaustive Concordance

If you are using the NAS, get the NAS Exhaustive Concordance.

Any Christian bookstore has these or can order them for you. The Strong's and Young's will be less expensive and probably will cost about half as much as the others.

But, you ask, "What about the little concordance in the back of my Bible? Won't that do? Why do I need an exhaustive concordance? And, what is an exhaustive concordance anyway?"

Good question! And in some cases, that little concordance in the back of your Bible will be enough. But, I have found that the thing I am wanting to know about is usually not listed in these abbreviated (shortened, non-exhaustive) Concordances. Or, if it is listed, there are not very many references given.

An exhaustive concordance is so called because it contains EVERY word in the Bible. Believe it or not, even the 'and', 'but', 'if', 'so', 'a' .... EVERY word is included!

So, there is a big difference in what you will find in an exhaustive concordance that contains EVERY word in the Bible vs. the little abbreviated concordance in the back of your Bible which contains only SOME of the words.

And to create those concordances in the backs of our Bibles, someone or some group apparently sat around sometime in the past, and, as they were deciding what words to include, they must have said something like, "Hmmmm, what word will Edith or Tom or etc.want to look up someday? Let's leave it out!" Of course, they didn't do that, but sometimes I sure wonder about it. Oh well.

But, if you are going to do any serious Bible study, you are going to need an exhaustive concordance.

If you can't afford one or don't think you will need it very often, you can go to a library (either at your church, or the public library, or to a college or University library, or you can even go searching on the Internet.) and look up your words. Whatever.

Anyway, once you have your Bible and an Exhaustive Concordance,

this is what you do:

1. Get some paper, because you are going to want to make notes on what you learn.

2. Write your questions down and leave space for the answers you will find..

For example, let's say that all this interest in ANGELS recently has piqued your interest and you want to know more about angels. So, write down what it is you want to know.

You might want to know IF they are mentioned in the Bible. And, if they are mentioned a lot or only a few times. So write those two questions down and leave space for your answer.

You might also want to ask such questions as:

What does the Bible SAY about Angels?
Are they real?
What do they do?
What do they look like?
Are we supposed to worship them?
etc. etc. etc.

So make your list of things you want to KNOW about angels.

Now it is time to FIND your answers. Ta dah!

3. So, open the concordance and look up the word, ANGEL.

You will notice that all the words are in alphabetical order, like in a phone book, so this is easy to do! Turn the pages, starting from the front of the Concordance until you come to ANGEL and ANGELS, and any other related words.

WOW! Look at that! What a list!

In my Strong's Concordance, over a page and a half of small print are used to list where angels are mentioned in the Bible. WOW!.

Oh, and while we are on the more thing that I forgot to mention that you will need, You will probably need a MAGNIFYING GLASS to read what you have found! What tiny print! Nuff said.

Anyway, you will notice that a couple of your questions have already been answered:

Are Angels mentioned in the Bible? = Indeed YES !
Are Angels mentioned a lot or only a few times? = A LOT !

Now, look at the long list of scripture references under the topic of ANGELS. I will list the first few lines in this 2+ page list as it is given in my Strong's Exhaustive Concordance:


Ge 16:7 the a of the Lord found her by a     4397
9 the a of the Lord said unto her "
10 a of the Lord said unto her, I will "
11 the a of the Lord said unto her, "
21:27 the a of God called to Hagar out "
22:11 the a of the Lord called unto him "

What you see are small parts of the different verses in the Bible where the word angel is used.

The word, ANGEL, is not spelled out, but instead the letter a is used in its place. (I guess they think this saves space. Oh, well. Perhaps it does. At least it makes it easy to see where the word ANGEL is used.)

Next to the phrase is a scripture location notation such as Ge.16:7. This is usually located to the left of the phrase. This will tell you where you can look in your Bible to read the entire verse and the verses before and after, if necessary.

In this case, the first reference is located in Genesis 16:7.

When other verses are found in the same Book, the Book abbreviation is not repeated.

And, when other verses are found in the same Chapter (in this case Chapter 16), the chapter number is not repeated.

All of this is designed to make it easier to read.

You will also notice that also by each verse, usually located to the right of the phrase, is a number. For example, the first occurrence of ANGEL as noted in the Strong's concordance was indicated by this phrase with the verse location on the left and a number on the right.


Ge 16:7  the a of the Lord found her by a     4397

This number, 4397, is keyed to a specific word in the Hebrew or Greek (in this case to the Hebrew since Genesis is in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Greek words are used). So the number helps you find the specific word in the Hebrew or Greek which has been translated into English as the word, ANGEL.

This is very helpful especially for some words which may have been translated as the same word in English but which in its original language could have been one of several different words with different shades of meaning. SERVANT is a good example, because

in the Greek there are 7 or 8 or 9 different words which are translated SERVANT in English but, which, in the Greek, actually describe markedly different kinds of servants (household servants, bond servants, etc.). So if you wanted to find out just what kind of servant was being described, you need to know what word was being used. The number would tell you. To find out, you simply go to the BACK of the concordance and look up that number and see what the Hebrew or Greek word was.

In this case, with angel, you see that the same number 4397 is being used a lot! So, the same Hebrew word is being used a lot. To find out what that actual Hebrew word is, you would turn to near the back of your Concordance.

Do that now.

Look near the back of the Exhaustive Concordance and you will see there are 2 Dictionaries. In the Strong's Concordance, these dictionaries are named:

1.Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary
2.Greek Dictionary of the New Testament.

Since Genesis is in the Old Testament, we know we need to look for our number in the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary.

So, do that. Again, the numbers are in order. So, look till you find 4397 in the Hebrew Chaldee Dictionary.

You will find an entry that begins with the 4397 and then has some funny looking letters. Those are the Hebrew letters spelling the word mal'ak in Hebrew. You will notice that mal'ak is the next word in this definition and is the English letter form of the Hebrew letters. So, if you are not an expert in Hebrew, you don't have to worry about the Hebrew letters. Just look for the MAL'AK. Then read the very brief definition of what Mal'ak means.

In this case it says:

4397 (the funny looking Hebrew letters) mal'ak, mal-awk' (this is just the pronunciation of mal'ak,); from an unused root mean. to dispatch as a deputy; a messenger; spec. of God, ie. an angel (also a prophet, priest, or teacher);-ambassador, angel, king, messenger.

Ok, there you have it. You now know how to look up a word, ANGELS, and how to find the scriptures where this word is used in the Bible. And you even know how to find out what Hebrew or Greek word had been translated into the word, Angel.

Now, it is time for you to start finding the rest of your answers to your questions.

So, as you read through the list of all the places where Angels are mentioned in the Bible, write down these locations of verses that seem to be ones you will want to look up. Usually you won't have to look up EVERY verse in the huge list to find out what you are looking for. So, just write down the ones that you want to look at in their entirety.

Then look up the verses, find the answers to your questions, and write them down.

It is that simple !

You can do it!

God has given us His Word, the Bible. It has the answer to everything you will ever need to know. And some wonderful people have provided these concordances to make it even easier to look up specific words. (Would you believe that Strong and Young, the men who did those 2 concordances, did these BEFORE the days of computers !!!! Amazing! What dedication!.)

Anyway, God has given us His Word and Concordances are now available.

And you now know how to use them.

So, what's stopping you?

Start searching the scriptures and find the answers to your questions.

And, when you find the answers, live what you learn!

If you have any questions or comments, you may contact us at:
"Yes Lord" Ministries / Bible Studies Net
PO Box 22397
Chattanooga, TN. 37422
biblestudiesnet (at) yahoo (dot) com