By Practical Christianity Foundation (PCF)
What is a concordance? A concordance is a specific reference publication which outlines the contextual agreement, harmony, or concord of words and expressions in a body of text. It is an alphabetical index of subjects, topics, and principal words of a book, as of the Bible, with a reference to the passage in which each occurs.
With that in mind, should one use a Bible Concordance? Definitely yes! But why? Because it facilitates comprehension. However, comprehension is not even with revelation. Revelation includes godly comprehension, godly understanding, godly knowledge, and godly wisdom. But mere comprehension is confine to simple knowledge of content without any worthwhile spiritual meaning and significance. Comprehension is attained by the natural human mind while revelation is given by the Holy Spirit through the renewed human mind.
Caution: Before one imposes upon oneself the felt need for using a Concordance, one must be sure that one is ready to face some of the complicated analyses and sophisticated verbiage such publications use. One must also be certain that one is disciplined enough to ward off the pitfall of getting lost in the technical aspect of research and study through the use of concordances and too many reference publications.
Bible concordances were first developed and organized into a publication by Dominican friars to help make Bible reading easier for the average person. The original concordance was compiled in 1230 under the guidance of Hugo de Saint-Cher as a tool to make research and comprehension a straightforward process. However, it took awhile for them to catch on before they became popular tools for scholars interested in gaining as much information and knowledge as possible from each word, chapter, and verse of the Holy Scriptures in a contextually harmonized manner.
As you are probably aware, the Bible has been translated into various versions over the years. Therefore, using the right concordance for the version of the Bible you are reading would be correct, helpful, and prudent. It is exactly like having the right key for your specific lock. Accordingly:
the King James Bible should be read in conjunction with either Strong's Exhaustive Concordance or Young's Exhaustive Concordance.
The New International Version (NIV) should be read with the NIV Exhaustive Concordance.
The New American Standard (NAS) should be read using the NAS Exhaustive Concordance. etc.
Bible concordances record every occurrence of words, names, places, and the like, in the Bible, and point to the exact pages where each can be found. This makes them invaluable references for researching specific text, individuals, events, and locations alike. Indeed, it can make navigating the biblical text considerably easier.
Naturally, using a concordance in conjunction with your Bible will slow your reading down. However, it will enhance your comprehension and understanding. This enhanced comprehension will help you understand the Biblical text on a considerably better level of comprehension than your intuitive perception.
We invite you to contact the Practical Christianity Foundation with your questions regarding Bible concordances. We'll be happy to answer your questions and help you decide which version of the Bible and its companion concordance is best suited for your studies.