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A reference book to the Bible (or other sacred books and standard texts), especially an alphabetically arranged word list. The term (originally a Latin plural, concordantiae) dates from the thirteenth century, as do the first examples of concordances. Ideally each language in which the Bible is to be found requires its own concordance, and so does each individual Bible version. The earliest concordance to the Hebrew OT dates from 1523, by Rabbi Isaac Nathan. The Buxtorfs produced one in 1632. Available today are those by S. Mandelkern and G. Lisowsky, and for English readers, The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance. The earliest concordance for the Greek NT was that of Betulius (1546); those by W.F. Moulton and A.S. Geden, and J.B. Smith, are today current. For the Septuagint there is the work of E. Hatch and H.A. Redpath. For the Latin Bible, the concordance of R. Estienne (1555) is famous; the most used is that of F.F. Dutripon (1838, with many reprints).

The sixteenth century saw the first concordance to the English Bible, by T. Gybson (1535) for the NT and by J. Merbecke (1550) for the whole Bible. The most famous is that of A. Cruden* (1737) on the Authorized Version; it has been revised more than once (most recently, 1954) and remains in print. R. Young's* concordance (1873) has the additional advantage of offering the reader the Hebrew and Greek equivalents of English words. Nelson's published their Complete Concordance of the Revised Standard Version in 1957. In 1968 Zondervan published their Expanded Concordance, which covers several English versions, including the New English Bible NT.

CONCORDANCE, a reference book defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “an alphabetical arrangement of the principal words contained in a book, with citations of the passages in which they occur.” There are concordances for a number of great writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Tennyson, Dante, etc.; but more concordances have been produced relating to the Bible than for all these authors, and many more, combined. In an article such as this, it is not necessary to discuss the earlier MS attempts at constructing concordances. The first important concordance was that of Rabbi Isaac Nathan, who labored on a concordance to the Heb. Bible for ten years, 1438-1448. This was printed in Venice in 1524, and tr. into Lat. in an edition of 1556. It was with this work as a foundation that the learned Hebraist John Buxtorf (1564-1629) published in Basel (1632), his Concordantia Bibliorum Ebraicae.

The first concordance of the Eng. Bible included only the NT: The Concordance of the New Testament Most Necessary to be Had, etc. by Thomas Gybson (d. 1562), first appearing before 1540, and reprinted in London with the date 1550. The first concordance of the entire Eng. Bible was produced by a most interesting individual, John Marbeck (d. 1585), published in 1550 under the title, A Concordance, that is to saie, a Worke Wherein by the Order of the Letters of the A.B.C. ye maie redely find any Worde Conteigned in the Whole Bible, so often as it is There Expressed or Mentioned. Extending to 766 folio pages, three columns to a page, or 2,300 columns, this was no small accomplishment for one man. Originally, he relates in the preface, he had drawn up a concordance in which the entire sentence in which any one word appeared was written out, “which made a greate and a houge volume.” Just as he finished the work Marbeck was apprehended at Windsor, arrested under the so-called Statute of Six Articles, and condemned to death, though later this sentence was rescinded. His arrest was in part due to the writing of the concordance, which was destroyed, and “for copying out of a worke, made by the greate Clerke Master John Calvin, written against the same five articles.” This would seem to indicate that the concordance which appeared in 1550 was the second one he had compiled.

A concordance that seemingly has escaped the notice of all who have attempted to write on this subject is a Concordance to the Holy Scriptures, compiled by Samuel Newman (d. 1663), an Oxford graduate, later moving to New England, so that on the title page of his work, we have the clause, “one of the Puritans at Rehoboth, England.” The second ed., corrected and enlarged, appeared in 1672; later, with improvements, Cambridge, 1720, and reprinted in London in 1889, a large folio work of nearly 800 double column pages, generally known as the Cambridge Concordance.

Prob. the most famous, most widely-used, and most frequently reprinted concordance of all is the one by Alexander Cruden (1701-1770)—A Complete Concordance of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (1737). Of course, it was not really “complete,” as the later works of Strong and Young, but it remained the most complete of them all for 150 years. How many eds. have been printed is not known; but the American Catalogue for 1876 lists twelve different publishing firms in America who were each issuing Cruden in some form, and Scribners were offering five different eds. at that time, nearly a hundred years ago! As witness to the fact that Cruden eclipsed all preceding similar works, of the fifteen concordances published between 1610 and 1820, listed in Malcom’s Index to Religious Literature (p. 119), not one has been reprinted for the last one hundred years.

It was in the last decade of the nineteenth cent. that the two most complete concordances were issued, but these were preceded by two smaller but valuable works, one by the distinguished Bible scholar, John Eadie (1810-1876), An Analytical Concordance to the Holy Scriptures (London, 1857).

In 1873 appeared the first ed. of the largest concordance of the Bible that had thus far appeared, by Robert Young (1822-1888). The Analytical Concordance to the Bible on an entirely new plan, containing every word in alphabetical order, arranged under its Hebrew or Greek original, with the literal meaning of each, and its pronunciation, with the latest information on Biblical Geography, Antiquities. This work of 311,000 references often has been revised and reprinted. Six eds. were called for within twenty years.

An equally comprehensive concordance was published in 1890 by James Strong (1822-1894), with the following title, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, showing every word of the text of the common English Version, together with a Comparative Concordance of the Authorized and Revised Versions. Strong’s concordance also is supplied “with brief dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek words of the original.” Strong was a professor at Drew Theological Seminary, and the co-editor of the now being reprinted M’Clintock and Strong Cyclopaedia.

In Young’s concordance the occurrences of any one Eng. word, e.g., in the NT, are classified according to the words of the Gr. text, whereas in Strong’s concordance all the occurrences of the Eng. word are given in succession, each followed by a number. For example, the occurrences of the Eng. word “word” in Strong are followed by numbers 3056, 4487. One must then turn to the end of the concordance to discover the Gr. word to which these numbers refer. In the Young concordance, however, the Gr. words are already classified, as logos and rhēma, and a line of quotation from each v. in which these words occur.

It will surprise many to know that the absolutely indispensable Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament, compiled by George V. Wigram (1805-1879), appeared as early as 1839, and is still in print. In this volume of 1,000 pages the Gr. vocabulary of the NT is arranged alphabetically, with all the occurrences of each word. This is followed by a complete index of the words of the Eng. text, with the Gr. words from which they are tr. The word “word” is said to be a tr. of two Gr. words logos and rhēma. The index states that a complete list of all the passages in which these two Gr. words occur may be found on pp. 462 and 677 respectively. The concordance is worked out with great detail; e.g., under the little preposition “with” are listed the thirteen different Gr. words that are so tr. in all VSS. There is also an index of Gr. and Eng. words; e.g., under the Gr. word “logos” twenty-seven different Eng. words tr. from “logos” in the NT, such as “doctrine,” “preaching,” “rumor,” “speech,” “truth,” “word,” etc. This is an indispensable work.

There are also numerous modern concordances of the Gr. and Heb. text. In 1870 Charles F. Hudson published his Critical Greek and English Concordance of the New Testament, which reached an eighth ed., revised by Ezra Abbot (1882). This lists all of the passages where each Gr. word occurs but it does not quote them. In the Preface to the seventh ed., signed “H.L.H.,” it is asserted that “there is probably no one book in existence which points out so many of the facts and considerations which influenced the Revisers in a large proportion of the changes made.”

A more technical work which has won great approval was published in 1897 as the combined labor of two famous Eng. scholars, William F. Moulton (1835-1898) and A. S. Geden (1857-1936), the Concordance to the Greek Testament according to the Texts of Westcott and Hort, Tischendorf and the English Revisers, (third ed., 1950). The quotations are from the Gr. text. A work widely used in England and America, though published in Germany, is the Handkonkordanz Zum Griechischen N.T., by Dr. Alfred Schmoller. This was first published in 1869. It has been revised continually, the 8th ed. appearing in 1949, based on the 10th ed. of the Nestle New Testament. It is alphabetically arranged, with each Gr. word given its Lat. equivalent. In some places the material is arranged under major headings, as “logos,” into three groups: (1) verbum Dei substantiale; (2) verbum Dei et Christi; (3) reliqui loci. The latest work of this kind was done by the late Jacob B. Smith, A Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament, Scottdale, Pennsylvania (1955). This lists 5,524 Gr. words giving the various renderings of each in the KJV with the number of times each occurs. In 1963 there was published a work compiled by J. Stegenga, The Greek-English Analytical Concordance of the Greek-English New Testament.

There began to appear at Oxford in 1897 that monumental work in two folio volumes, with a supplement, A Concordance to the Septuagint and the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament Including the Apocryphal Books by Edwin Hatch (1835-1889) and Henry A. Redpath (1848-1908). This indispensable work for the study of the Gr. OT also gives the Heb. equivalent of every Gr. word in each passage in which it occurs.

Over a hundred years ago, John Taylor published a work now seldom seen, A Hebrew Concordance adapted to the English Bible, somewhat after the manner of Buxtorf, a revised ed. appearing in 1876. A valuable work, in compact format, was the English and Hebrew Bible Student’s Concordance, by Aaron Pick, professor of Heb. in the University of Prague. It was arranged alphabetically according to the Eng. word, for which the Heb. word or words are then given; e.g., for the Eng. word “good-bye” thirteen Heb. words are listed, with the passages in which each occurs. This was subscribed to by a number of bishops, by T. H. Horne, J. Pye Smith, E. H. Bickersteth, etc. In 1874 there appeared the Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament.

In 1883, edited by John Alexander Ross, appeared A Complete Concordance to the Revised Version of the New Testament, “published under the authorization of Oxford and Cambridge Universities.” It mainly follows the lines laid down by Cruden. In 1922, when he was eighty-two years of age, M. C. Hazard (1839-1929) published his Complete Concordance to the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible. This work is said to contain 300,000 references under 16,000 headings. The classification of these words is wonderfully helpful in spite of the fact that there are many errors in the volume. Thus for “word” there are two columns of references under that single term, followed by all the vv. where occur the phrase “word again,” then “word of Jehovah came,” “word of God,” “word of Jehovah,” “my word,” “word of truth,” etc.—twenty different headings. In addition there are some encyclopedic notes prefacing many of the words. For the first word, Aaron, its probable meaning is given, then six lines of a summary of his life. In 1894 appeared the work by J. B. R. Walker (1821-1885), A Comprehensive Concordance, later reprinted in 1945 with an introduction by M. C. Hazard. This is based on Cruden, but is said to contain 50,000 more references than Cruden. In 1957 appeared Nelson’s Complete Concordance of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, compiled by John W. Ellison. Finally, in 1964, appeared the Concordance to the New English Bible, New Testament, compiled by E. Elder. The editor defines this work as “a concordance of words not in, or not in the same verses as the KJV. A supplement to existing concordances of other Versions.”

Many attempts have been made to construct concordances to the Douay VS but the definitive work, which will not have to be done again, is the Complete Concordance to the Bible (Douay Version), 1953, a work by Newton Thompson and Raymond Stock.

In addition to these separately published concordances, a number of very valuable compilations of this kind have appeared from time to time in books devoted to Bible study, semi-Bible dictionaries, etc. Possibly the best known of the earlier attempts is the one by William Wright, The Illustrated Bible Treasury and a New Concordance to the Authorized and Revised Versions.

Then, of course, there has been published for over a half century, The Oxford Cyclopedic of over 300 pages, and the work of a few decades ago, by W. M. Clow, The Bible Reader’s Cyclopedia and Concordance, neither of which carries a date of publication.


There are some helpful articles on the earlier compilers of concordances in the M’Clintock and Strong, and also in J. Townley’s Illustrations of Biblical Literature (1821), 2 vols.; D. G. Miller, “Concordances,” Interpretation (Jan. 1947), I, 52-62; C. R. Gregory, in Schaff-Herzog, III. 205-210; particularly valuable for titles of concordances of most European languages. F. W. Danker: Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study (1960), 1-18.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


1. Nature of Work

2. Classes of Concordances

3. Their Indispensableness

4. Concordances to Latin Vulgate

5. Concordances to the Hebrew Old Testament

6. Concordances to the Septuagint

7. Concordances to the Greek New Testament

8. Concordances to the English Bible


1. Nature of Work:

The object of a concordance of Scripture is to guide the reader to any passage he is in search of by means of an alphabetical arrangement of the words found in Scripture, and the bringing together under each word of all the passages in which that word occurs. Thus, in the verse: "Cast thy burden upon Yahweh" (Ps 55:22), the reader will look in the concordance under the words "cast" or "burden," and there will find a reference to the text. The merit of a concordance is obviously exhaustiveness and clearness of arrangement. There are abridged concordances of the Bible which give only the most important words and passages. These are seldom satisfactory, and a fuller work has in the end frequently to be resorted to.

2. Classes of Concordances:

The ordinary reader is naturally most familiar with concordances of the English Bible, but it will be seen that, for scholarly purposes, concordances are just as necessary for the Scriptures in their original tongues, and for versions of the Scriptures other than English There are required concordances of the Old Testament in Hebrew, of the New Testament in Greek, of the Septuagint version (Greek) of the Old Testament, of the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A. D.) version (Latin) of the New Testament, as well as of the translations of the Scriptures into German, French and other living languages. There are now, further, required concordances of the RVV of the English Old Testament and New Testament, as well as of the King James Version. There are needed, besides, good concordances to the Apocrypha, alike in its the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) forms. Textual criticism leads to modifications of the earlier concordances of the Hebrew and Greek texts. It is customary in concordances of the English version to facilitate reference by giving not only single words, but also phrases under which several passages are grouped, and to make the work more useful by furnishing lists of Scripture proper names, with their meanings, and, in the larger works, references to the Hebrew or Greek words for which the English words stand.

3. Their Indispensableness:

The indispensableness of a good concordance for the proper study of the Bible is so apparent that it is not surprising that, since the idea was first conceived, much labor has been expended on the preparation of such works. The wonder rather is that the idea did not occur earlier than it did. No single scholar could ever hope to produce a perfect work of the kind by his own efforts. Modern concordances are based upon the labors of previous generations.

4. Concordances to Latin Vulgate:

The oldest concordances date from the 13th century, and are based, as was then natural, upon the Latin Vulgate. A Concordantiae Morales is attributed to Antony of Padua (died 1231). The first concordance of which we have actual knowledge is that of Hugo of Caro, Dominican monk and cardinal (died 1263). It was called Concordantiae S. Jacobi from the monastery in which it was compiled. 500 monks are said to have been engaged upon its preparation. Hugo’s Concordance became the basis of others into which successive improvements were introduced. The words of passages, at first wanting, were inserted; indeclinable particles were added; alphabetic arrangement was employed. Verse divisions were unknown till the time of Robert Stephens (1555).

See Bible.

5. Concordances to Hebrew Old Testament:

The earliest Hebrew concordance seems to have been that of Rabbi Mordecai ben Nathan (1438-48). It went through several editions and was translated into Latin by Reuchlin the (1556). Both original and translation contained many errors. It was improved by Calasio, a Franciscan friar (1621), and more thoroughly by John Buxtorf, whose Concordance was published by his son (1632). This latter formed the basis of Dr. Julius Furst’s Libr. Sacrorum Vet. Test. Concordantive Heb atque Chaldaic; 1840 (English translation, Hebrew and Chaldean Concordance). A later Hebrew Concordance in Germany is that of Solomon Mandelkern (1896). In England, in 1754, appeared the valuable Hebrew Concordance, Adapted to the English Bible, by Dr. Taylor, of Norwich. With it may be classed The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldaic Concordance (1843; revised edition, 1876).

6. Concordances to the Septuagint:

Though earlier attempts are heard of, the first printed concordance of the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) was that of Trommius, published in Amsterdam in 1718, in the author’s 84th year. This important work remained the standard till quite lately.

It is very complete, giving references not only to the Septuagint, but to other versions (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion) in which the words occur, and showing by an index at the end the Hebrew or Chaldaic words to which the Greek words correspond. In 1887 Bagster published A Handy Concordance of the Septuagint. Earlier works are superseded by the recent publication (1892, 1897, 1900) of Hatch and Redpath’s scholarly Concordance to the Septuagint, and Other Greek versions of the Old Testament.

7. Concordances to the Greek New Testament:

Concordances of the Greek New Testament began with that of Xystus Betulius (his real name was Birck) in 1554. The Concordance (Tameion) of Erasmus Schmid (1638) has often been reprinted and reedited. On it is based the useful abridged Concordance published by Bagster. Recent works are Bruder’s (1842; 4th edition, 1888; based on Schmid, with many improvements); in America, Hudson’s Critical Greek and English Concordance, revised by Ezra Abbot (1870); in England, Moulton and Geden’s Concordance to the Greek Testament according to the Texts of Westcott and Hort, Tischendorf, and the English Revisers (1897).

8. Concordances to the English Bible:

The list of concordances to the English Bible is a long one; it is necessary here to particularize only a few of the chief. The oldest is a Concordance of the New Testament, brought out before 1540 by one Thomas Gybson, though, as appears from the Preface, it was principally the work of the printer John Day (the producer of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs). The first Concordance to the whole Bible was that of John Marbeck (1550). In the same year was published a translation by Walter Lynne of the Index Librorum of Bullinger, Conrad Pelican and others, under the title of A Briefe and a Compendious Table, in manor of a Concordance, openying the waye to the principall Histories of the whole Bible, etc. Alex. Cruden, whose own Concordance, the most adequate of all, was published in 1737, enumerates most of his predecessors in the intervening period. Cruden’s personal history is a pathetic one. A recurring mental malady overshadowed his career; but his indomitable perseverance and fixity of purpose, joined with a clear idea of what he wished to accomplish, enabled him to overcome all obstacles, and produce a book for which the Christian world is grateful. The work is entitled A Complete Concordance to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, etc.; to which is added, a Concordance to the Books called Apocrypha. Mr. Spurgeon said regarding it, "Be sure you buy a genuine unabridged Cruden, and none of the modern substitutes, good as they may be at the price. .... You need only one; have none but the best." Many editions of this valuable book have been published. It no longer remains, however, the only authority, nor even the most complete and serviceable, though perhaps still the most convenient, for the purpose of the student. In 1873 was published the Analytical Concordance to the Bible by Robert Young, LL. D., to which an appendix has since been added. This bulky work contains "every word in alphabetical order, arranged under its Hebrew or Greek original; with the literal meaning of each and its pronunciation." It marks 30,000 various readings, and gives geographical and antiquarian notes. Yet more comprehensive is The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, LL. D. This includes the new feature of a comparative concordance of the Authorized and Revised (English) versions It embraces also condensed Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek words, to which references are made from the English words by figures. It thus differs in plan from Young’s, which gives the Hebrew and Greek words in the body of the concordance at the head of the passages coming under them. Lastly must be noticed the very valuable work published in the same year (1894) in America by J. B. R. Walker, Comprehensive Concordance, with an Introduction by Marshall Curtiss Hazard. It is stated to give 50,000 more passages than Cruden.


See articles on "Concordance" in the various Dictionaries and Encyclopedias; articles by Dr. Beard in Kitto’s Encyclopedia (Volume I); and by Dr. C. R. Gregory in the New The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge Encyclopedia (Volume III); Preface to Cruden’s complete Concordance, and Introduction by Hazard to Walker’s Comprehensive Concordance.