Pros: Complete, Comprehensive, Readable; Helpful
Cons: Takes some work to use
New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1991)
So you are a Bible reader; no, even more than that - you are a student who is searching to discover the underlying meanings that you believe are often contained in scripture.
First, I suggest you do read the Bible and get familiar with the structure and the overall storyline. You will notice there is a general flow of ideas and that certain concepts keep coming to the surface in various guises.
Once you've read through the Bible and know where everything is pretty much and want to continue on - THEN buy some Bible helps, such as this book which is a classic in its field. This concordance and the commentaries from Henry A Ironside have provided many hours of pleasurable study in my spare time.
What is a concordance? A concordance is something like a thesaurus and a listing of words in alphabetical order and where they occur in a standard book. This one is based on the King James translation and lists every word cross referenced by chapter and verse. There are also a few other organizational things but just knowing that you can find everywhere a particular word appears will give you a leg up on increasing your Bible understanding.
My beginning point was realizing the Bible interprets itself. That idea is listed in and among the various writings and means that if something is important to Bible understanding; it will be explained somewhere within the pages of the Bible itself;
Isaiah 28:10 "... precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" - this scripture shows you must hunt around for similar scriptures and compare coming to a fuller understanding as more bits are put together. A Bible Concordance will help you identify these key scriptures and compare them to broaden your understanding.
Another point to understand is nobody has an inside track on Bible understanding. Anybody that claims to have knowledge specially granted is not being truthful. The principle that illustrates this is Biblical prophecy is not to be privately interpreted -
2 Peter 1:20 "... no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." This means that any guesses outside of what is revealed in the Bible do not count. If that person cannot show you a scripture that says what he is telling you, he is not to be trusted. Knowing these two basic principles will keep you from going astray after faulty understandings that are often espoused by some religious speakers.
The word listings are each linked to a number that corresponds to a Hebrew or Greek word that is translated as that word, so you can look up the actual meaning in the original languages the Bible was assembled in. A lexicon or dictionary of all these words is included in the Concordance. Sometimes seeing the exact word that was used will trigger your thoughts in a new direction so looking up the words in their original form sometimes can be enlightening. The exhaustive reference has topical indices and articles that cover some important areas like a Harmony of the Gospels that compares the similarities and contrasts of the four Gospels; Teachings of Christ; and other important concepts.
Just a couple of scriptures to indicate what God says is the purpose of Bible study -
Study to show yourself approved unto the Lord; a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth - 2 Tim 2:15
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Tim 3:16
These two scriptures give me enough impetus to keep me coming back for more. Try to find some that motivate you!
This review is certified Sleeper-free Lean n Mean VIII