How to Use A Bible Concordance

A Bible concordance is an invaluable tool for Bible study. It is simply an alphabetical index to words used in the Bible that shows the book, chapter, and verse where a word is found. Sometimes you remember parts of a verse but can’t remember the whole verse or even where the verse is located. A concordance can help you find the verse.

Your Bible often includes a limited concordance which will show you the location of important words, phrases, and proper names. Look for it in the back of your Bible.

 Let’s try it: You are looking for the verse about the Word lighting your path. You turn to the concordance at the end of your Bible and look up the word “path.” You discover this:

Bible Concordance

In the illustration, you see the word PATH with a short definition to the right of the word. PATH is defined as “way.” Under the word and its definition, you see short phrases and clauses which give the word context. These phrases and clauses help you recognize and locate the verse. You will see the word you are searching for within the phrase or clause, denoted by its first letter. In this case, you will see a “p.” The third entry under PATH “a light to my p.” is the verse you are looking for. At the end of the phrase, you find its location. Psalm 119:105.

If you can’t find a word in the Bible concordance or want to see all the verses that contain the word you are searching for, then you can refer to an exhaustive concordance. An exhaustive concordance is a book listing every English word in the Bible, including words like “the” and “a.” That is exhausting!

Concordances are translation-based. You probably have heard of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The original Strong’s lists words included in the King James Version of the Bible. Strong’s assigns each English word a number corresponding to the original text’s Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek word. Using Strong’s numbers is a great way to dive deeper into your study.

The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance

The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance lists words included in the modern NIV Translation of the Bible. It contains a total of 727,145 total words. Let’s look at “path” in the NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance.

In the illustration, you see the word PATH with “63” after it. “63” refers to the number of times the word PATH appears in the NIV. After the number, you see [PATHS]. This is another form of PATH and will be a subentry under PATH. A couple of entries down, you see “narrow p.” When there are bold word(s) before the indexed word, this indicates that more than one English word was used to translate the original word. Below the original entry, you see PATHRUSITES which is a word that has common elements with the indexed word. Although there are 63 entries for PATH, you don’t have to look too far to find the verse. Psalm 119:105 is a lamp for my feet, a light on my p.

You can find Bible concordances online. Many prefer using online concordances. Generally, they are easy to use, and you have access to a variety of sources. You don’t have to carry around a 5-pound, 2,000-page book.

Knowing how to use a concordance will prove valuable in diving deeper into your Bible study. The more you practice the deeper you can go


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