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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Concordances

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Concordance

A Biblical concordance is a reference tool that provides an alphabetic listing of Biblical words along with their Biblical references. This allows one to study the various uses of words throughout scripture.

Some concordances are organized according to the original Biblical languages (e.g., Hebrew and Greek). Other concordances are organized according to receptor languages (e.g., English), although these often include information about the Greek and Hebrew that stands behind the translations.

Key English Concordance

Strong’s Concordance, produced by James Strong and colleagues, is the most popular and useful Biblical concordance. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible includes:

  • The standard concordance.
  • A concordance of articles, conjunctions, particles, prepositions and pronouns.
  • Topical index to the Bible.
  • Dictionaries of the Biblical languages.
  • Nave’s topical Bible reference system.
  • Other supplementary material.

Strong’s follows the English translation of King James Version.

Cover ArtStrong’s numbers” – Strong’s is famous for its numbering system. In Strong’s, each root word in the original Biblical languages is assigned a number (know as “Strong’s numbers”). These numbers are included alongside the English words listed in the concordance. In other words, each English listing in the concordance is supplied with a “Strong’s number” that corresponds to the original word from which the English was translated. These numbers serve the following functions:

  • Strong’s includes supplementary Hebrew and Greek dictionaries which are organized according to these “Strong’s numbers.” With the use of these dictionaries one is able to examine the basic meaning of words in their original languages.
  • One can examine the usage of Biblical words in the original languages by conducting searches according to “Strong’s numbers.” Such searches can be performed by any Hebrew and Greek concordances that include “Strong’s numbers” (e.g., The New Englishman’s Concordance [HebrewGreek]) or various online tools (such as this one).

Thus, although its usefulness is obviously limited (e.g., definitions of Hebrew and Greek words are necessarily simplistic and limited), Strong’s is a great word study tool for those who do not know the original Biblical languages.

Greek and Hebrew Concordances

Hebrew and Greek concordances are based on the original languages and also list occurrences (with some surrounding context) in these original languages.

Hebrew-English and Greek-English concordances are based on the original languages but list occurrences (with some surrounding context) in English.

A New Concordance of the Bible: Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible, Hebrew and Aramaic Roots, Words, Proper Names, Phrases and Synonyms – Abraham Even-Shoshan

Electronic Concordances

Online: Several Bible study websites allow one to quickly and easily search the Bible for specific words or phrases. BibleGateway has over 180 translations in over 70 languages (including the original Biblical languages).

Bible software: Various Bible softwares (e.g., BibleWorks, Logos, Accordance) allow one to search various for specific words or phrases in either the original languages or various translations. Select Rolfing Library computers are programmed with BibleWorks.

Concordance Samples

Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, John R. Kohlenberger, and James A. Swanson (Grand Rapid, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 871.

Concordance to the Greek New Testament by William Fiddian Moulton, Alfred Shenington Geden, and Harold Keeling Moulton (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2002), 432-433.

BibleWorks Software. * Click on photos for larger image.


* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to concordances here.

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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Bible Introductions

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Introductions

An introduction (note: this guide is specifically referring to introductions to Biblical corpuses) is a reference work that provides introductory information on a given Biblical corpus. This material often includes helpful information regarding specific Biblical books (e.g., surveys, outlines, background information, presentations of key theological themes, discussions on authorship and dating issues, etc.) as well as information on broader topics (e.g., Old Testament canonical development, the relationship of the four gospels, etc.).

Key Introductions

Introduction Sample

An Introduction to the New Testament by D.A. Carson and Douglas Moo (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 308-309. * Click photo for larger image.


* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to introductions here.


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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Bible and Theological Dictionaries

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Dictionaries

Bible and theological dictionaries are reference tools that serve as an encyclopedia on a given topic or Biblical corpus. They include a plethora of articles (typically around 1-3 pages in length and arranged alphabetically) related to their topic or Biblical corpus.

Listing of Helpful Dictionaries

Comprehensive Bible dictionaries:

OT dictionaries and dictionaries of OTcorpuses:

NT dictionaries and dictionaries of NT corpuses:

Dictionaries related to backgrounds:

Dictionaries of Biblical theology:

Dictionaries of theology and Christian thought:

Dictionaries of Biblical imagery:

Dictionary Sample

New Dictionary of Biblical Theology by  Brian S. Rosner, T. Desmond Alexander, Graeme Goldsworthy, D. A. Carson (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2000). 418-419.

Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible by Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 258-259. * Click photo for larger image.


* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to dictionaries here.


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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Theologies

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Theologies

Generally speaking, one can divide theological reference tools into three broad categories.

Systematic Theologies – Seek to present theological material systematically according to specific categories that frame the discussion, e.g., the nature of God, the work of the Spirit, the essence of sin, etc.

Biblical Theologies – Seek to present theological material according to categories more directly related to those of the Biblical authors, books, and corpuses; seek to give special attention to the progressive unfolding of this theological material across Biblical history and the Biblical canon.

Historical Theologies – Seek to present developmnent of Christian theology throughout church history and spanning various theological traditions. Some are organized according to historical period while others are organized topically.

Sample of Systematic Theology

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), pg. 1109. * Click image for larger view.

Key Systematic Theologies

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Normal Geisler’s Systematic Theology – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way – Prominent evangelical systematic theology.

Gordan Lewis and Bruce Demarest’s Integrative Theology – Brief evangelical systematic theology.

Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology – Standard Reformed sytematic theology.

Charles Hodge’s Sytematic Theology – Standard Reformed systematic theology.

A. H. Strong’s Systematic Theology – Standard Baptist systematic theology.

Thomas Oden’s Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology, Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 – Standard Arminian systematic theology.

Rodman Williams’ Renewal Theology – Pentecostal systematic theology.

L.S. Chafer’s Systematic Theology – Classical Dispensational systematic theology.


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Constitution Day: Don’t Think You Can Make a Difference?

“Write a paper about the governmental process.”

20-year-old Gregory Watson, one in a sea of 300 faces in the 1982 spring semester American Government survey class at the University of Texas, read through his syllabus and considered his final assignment. The prompt was broad enough — that was for sure. He figured he’d take a look at the deadline extension of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was set to expire right around the end of the semester. He found a book in the library that listed all the proposed-but-not-ratified amendments to the US Constitution. One in particular caught his interest.

ConstitutionIn 1789, when the ink of the Constitution itself was still drying, Representative (later to become the 4th President) James Madison was concerned about the fact that senators and representatives could vote pay raises for themselves without any oversight. He lobbied to get a clause put into the Constitution itself, but failed — so he decided to take the long way around. He proposed a constitutional amendment that simply read, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” In other words, any salary changes wouldn’t take effect until after the next election (so the American public could have a say in the process). Seven states ratified the amendment, two short of the necessary two-thirds, and then the movement lost steam. However, there was one peculiar characteristic of this particular amendment: James Madison didn’t write in an expiration date. Thus, at least theoretically, it was still eligible for ratification, even if the necessary “two-thirds” was a lot bigger in the 20th century than it was in the 18th.

Gregory had his topic. He dove in with relish, seeking to show that this amendment was both viable and valid in late 20th-century America. He crafted his argument, supported his assertions — and ended up getting a C on the paper. His professor said the idea was “too unrealistic.” Gregory was furious. He quit school, found work as a staff member in the Texas legislature, and started his letter-writing campaign. Armed with little more than a typewriter, he spent long evenings crafting letters to representatives and senators in states that had not yet passed the amendment. Battling (often uphill) against bureaucracy and political inertia, he remained tenacious. Even after gaining key political partnerships and taking advantage of souring popular opinion against US Congressional conduct, he would still have to put in a grueling decade’s worth of work before enjoying the fruits of his labor. But that work did eventually pay off — on May 7, 1992, almost 203 years after John Madison’s initial proposal, Michigan became the 38th state to add its approval to what became the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

All because one seemingly insignificant undergrad took the initiative and followed his passion.

Bibliography:

 Editor’s Note: Constitution Day is September 17, 2014! Check out our display in the front of the library for more books and films about the Constitution.


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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Atlases

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Cover ArtBasic Description of Atlas

A Bible atlas is a reference tool that systematically and visually (e.g., often through the use of maps and pictures) presents geographical, topographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information relevant to Biblical studies.

Key Atlases

Sample of Atlas

“The Tribal Distribution of the Land” by Barry J. Beitzel in The New Moody Atlas of the Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), pg. 122-123. * Click on photo for larger image.


* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to atlases here.


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Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools: Greek NT Eclectic Texts

This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference ToolsThis series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.


Basic Description of Greek NT Eclectic Texts

The main Greek New Testament texts used in New Testament studies are eclectic. That is, their ‘finalized’ forms are compositions of various readings from a variety of manuscripts as opposed to being equivalent to one complete New Testament manuscript. Because the texts of various manuscripts differ at points (these differences are known as ‘varients’), methods are used to conclude which reading is most likely the original one. (This process of determining the most likely reading is known as ‘text criticism’).

Significant Greek NT Eclectic Texts

Novum Testamentum Graece: Nestle-Aland (e.g., NA28) – Used in Trinity courses.

The Greek New Testament by United Bible Society (UBS).

The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text.

The Textus Receptus Greek New Testament.

Helpful Resources

Greek NT Sample

Eberhard Neslte, Erwin Nestle, Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M. Metzger, eds., Novum Testamentum Graece: Nestle-Aland, 28th ed. (Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 2012), 298-299. * Click on photo for larger image.


* This post’s information can be found within Rolfing Library’s research guides. See the guide to Greek NT Eclectic Texts.