King James Bible

What are Strong's Numbers?
(part 2)

How to Use Strong’s Concordance in Book Form

Strong’s Concordance is split into three parts:

  • A list of every word in the KJV with the corresponding Strong’s Number
  • A dictionary of the words on the Hebrew Bible in Strong’s Number order
  • A dictionary of the words in the Greek Testament in Strong’s Number order

The process is accomplished in two steps:

Step 1. Find the word in the front of the Concordance and find the corresponding number. Old Testament words correspond to Hebrew words and start with H. New Testament words correspond to Greek words and start with G. If there is no number for the word the word may have been supplied by the translators to clarify the meaning (usually represented in italics in the KJV) or two or more words may be combined in the original language.

Step 2. Find the Strong's Number in the dictionary at the back of the concordance. The dictionary entry gives the meaning of the word. There are many different symbols used in the dictionary entries, these are discussed later in this article.

How to Use Strong’s Concordance in the King’s Bible

In the Bible text on the website you can click on the analysis icon (a small magnifying glass to the right of each Bible verse). This shows us the Strong's numbers available for all the words in the verse. If you then click on a Strong's number you will see the definition and word frequencies (occurences throughout the bible) for that number.

As an example consider the following verse from Genesis 1:1...

Strongs Numbers

If we take the word earth it has a Strong’s number of H776. When we look up this Strong’s Hebrew reference it says “From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth”.

If we take the Hebrew word 'erets and cross-reference it to other words using the same Strong’s number (and the same Hebrew root word) it can also help us understand the meaning of the word and its context.

Strongs Numbers

Layout of the Original Concordance

1. All the original words are treated in their alphabetical order, and are numbered consecutively from first to the last.

2. Immediately after each word is its equivalent in English letters (according to how the system of transliteration is laid down). This is adopted from the KJV itself.

3. Next follows the pronunciation, according to the usual English mode of sounding syllables. The most approved sounds are adopted and in such a way that any good linguist would recognise the word if pronounced.

4. Then follows the etymology, and applied significations of the word, justly analyzed and expressed, with any other important peculiarities.

5. In the case of proper names, the same method is followed, and at this point the regular mode of Anglicizing it, after the general style is given, a few words of explanation are added to identify it.

6. After the punctuation mark :— are given all the different renderings of the word in the Authorized Version, arranged in the alphabetical order of the leading terms, and conveniently condensed.

By searching out these various renderings in the Main Concordance and noting the passages to which the number corresponds, the reader, whether acquainted with the original language or not, will obtain a complete Concordance. This is an advantage which no other Concordance or Lexicon affords.

Symbols in the Definition

+ (addition) denotes a rendering in the A.V. of one or more words in connection with the one under consideration.

× (multiplication) denotes a rendering in the A.V. that results from an idiom peculiar to the original language.

( ) (parenthesis), in the renderings of the A.V., denotes a word or syllable sometimes given in connection with the principal word to which it is connected.

[ ] (bracket), in the rendering from the A.V., signifies the inclusion of an additional word in the original language.

Italics, at the end of a rendering from the A.V., signifies an explanation of the variations from the usual word form.

Summary:

Strong's numbers and the concordances are used to study the bible in the following ways:

  • understand the intended meaning of a word
  • finding a verse in context
  • comparing different usages of the same word
  • analysing keywords
  • analysing word frequencies
  • finding and analysing phrases and idioms

Just as in English, words in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek could have several different meanings or are used in slightly different ways. Strong’s numbers are a great help for our understanding of these differences. This all helps us to appreciate just how difficult it is to translate words from Hebrew and Greek into English and how careful we must be. However, when used correctly this tool unlocks many doors.