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Learning the Bible

13. Bible Helps

The Concordance

A concordance is an assemblage of every word in the Bible in alphabetical order with all of its locations. The Strong's concordance also links me to the original Hebrew or Greek word and gives the definition of that word. This better allows me to know what the author really meant when he wrote that scripture.

Let's say I want to know where the verse "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but shall have ever lasting life" is found.

First I will pick a word to look up- “world.”

In the alphabetical listing we find that the word "world" is listed 249 times. This means that in 249 verses, the translators translated a Greek or Hebrew word to "world." Forty-six of these are in the Old Testament. In the 203 New Testament occurrences, three different Greek words (represented by three different numbers; 165, 2889, and 3625) were translated into the word "world." By reading the part of each verse listed we find that the one we want is John 3:16. “World” in this verse is number 2889. We turn to the Greek Lexicon in the back and find that this "world" is κόσμος or in the English alphabet; kosmos. It means:

1) An apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.

2) Ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. (1 Peter 3:3)

      a) The world, the universe

      b) The circle of the earth, the earth

3) The inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family

4) The ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

5) World affairs, the aggregate of things earthly

      a) The whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

6) Any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort.

      a) The Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)

      b) Of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Corinthians 4:9; 2 Corinthians 5:19

The Strong’s is for the King James Bible. There are concordances for other translations also.

Thompson Chain Reference Bible

This is the Bible required by many Bible colleges.

Down the sides of each page are two columns with numbers and scripture “addresses”. The addresses take you to other scriptures on the same subject as the adjoining verses. The numbers take you to a supplement in the back that lists scriptures by subjects. Before this supplement is a Table of Contents that lists all the different subjects so you can look up whichever one you need.

The Thompson Chain also has a concordance (not as complete as Strong's, of course), maps, charts about the life of Christ and other prominent Bible characters, summaries of each book in the Bible, and an archeological supplement.

Center Reference

(Cambridge is one brand) These Bibles have a column down the middle of the page with small numbers or letters followed by definitions of words in the corresponding scripture and sometimes other verses on the same subjects.

Bible Dictionary

This is a dictionary specific to giving you the Biblical definitions of words and terms. Vines and Ungers are good. For a good none-biblical dictionary try the Webster's Original 1828 dictionary (available on line, from Amazon and from a number of booksellers).

Comparative Bible

This is a Bible that has more than one translation in the same book. It will have one translation in one column and another right next to that. These are good for Bible studies. They have from two to twelve different versions in one book.

Interlinear Bibles

These are Greek or Hebrew Bibles with the direct English translation written underneath each word.

Bible Atlas

This is a book of maps, pictures and information about the biblical region of the world (modern day Palestine). They usually have different maps of the same area marked for different time periods. For example, one map may be marked for the travels of Moses and the next for Joshua’s travels, while a later one is marked for the travels of Christ and another for Paul’s journeys.

Bible Commentary

A book (usually containing the Bible itself) that contains comments written to explain the scripture. For example:

(Scripture) Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

(Commentary) “The word “God” here is “Elohim” which means “God” in the majestic plural tense (This is the tense royalty uses to refer to themselves. It does not mean more than one as our plural does, but a plurality of greatness.) It is using a singular verb.

“This could be worded: “In the beginning of time, God made space and matter,” though it wouldn’t be as poetic.

“Psalms 90:2 says ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.’

“Some put a gap of several million years here. Is this correct interpretation of the Bible?

“First of all, who wrote this? The traditionally accepted author is Moses, though some believe he only compiled several books written by many previous authors. These people believe Adam himself may have written down this scripture as God dictated it to him. Either way, the purpose of this scripture was to tell all those following the author in history how the earth began. Does it make since for there to be a gap of millions of years here that is not mentioned at all? Would that fulfill its purpose?

“The entire idea of ‘the gap’ is to allow for evolution and explain the fossil record. Millions of years of evolution, dinosaurs, and many other creatures were to have lived and died between verse one and verse two…” (from "First Things First: The Book of Genesis" by Betty Tracy, available at


Remember that commentaries and all these helps, as well as the Internet, are written by human beings. They are fallible. They may help me understand the Bible or they may confuse me, or even lead me into lies. I will use them carefully and always check EVERYTHING out with the Bible itself.

EVERY Christian should read the entire Bible, cover to cover, at least three times and frequently thereafter (Our pastor challenges us to read through it every other year) before reading any commentaries. This applies to the Internet also. This may even be true for listening to preachers on the radio who are not my pastor. It is important to be well founded in what really is in the Bible before I listen to humans.

Online Resources

You can find the entire Bible in several translations many places, including:

The Blue Letter Bible and BibleHub also contains Strong’s concordance linked to each word. Bible Gateway includes many translations (among them, interlinear Bibles), while BibleHub will compare verses from fifteen different translations at once. BibleHub also has maps and dictionaries.

Matthew Henry was a scholar who lived in the 1800’s and wrote a detailed commentary on the entire Bible. It is very complete and informative. It is one commentary available at both BlueLetter and BibleHub. has many preachers available who I can learn a great deal from. However, I will keep in mind they are human and can be mistaken. I will ALWAYS check out what they say with my Bible and my pastor.