The most-visited page on my website remains How NOT To Use Strong’s Concordance. It’s slightly frustrating that a page which has essentially nothing to do with this site’s central message is it’s all-time leader in views, pulling in more than quadruple the amount of search traffic as most other sections of the site. I’m not too frustrated however because the gospel-centered hermeneutic I’m dedicated to here is a much narrower niche. So I thought I’d pause a moment and answer a question I see a lot about Strong’s concordance: Is it reliable?
This is the final entry in a series of posts on the use of Strong’s Concordance:
When asking questions about “reliability” and “accuracy” you need to first answer the question, “What are you trying to be accurate about?” If you want to measure the size of a book then a ruler is your best bet. If you want to measure the number of votes for a presidential election a ruler, however accurate, isn’t what you want. That task requires a ballot box.
So when we ask if Strong’s concordance is reliable we need to ask ourselves what we’re trying to do with it first. Remember the most important insight from the first article:
Strong’s is primarily a concordance, not a dictionary. A dictionary defines words. A concordance acts like an index.
What does that mean? Just like the ruler, it’s accurate for one thing and useless for another. Continue reading