The use of a concordance


I am wondering if anyone on here uses a concordance for their own personal Bible studies/devotional reading. I am not aware of any concordances that exist for Catholic translations such as the Douay-Rheims, RSV: CE, Jerusalem Bible, etc. I only know of one concordance for the NAB (not the Revised Edition, the original) and it’s not “exhaustive.”

I only know of the popular “Strong’s” concordance that is popular with Protestants. I am disappointed that such an “exhaustive” concordance is available for translations such as the KJV and the NIV, but I don’t know of any for well-known Catholic translations. That may be due to my ignorance (I never see Catholic concordances available at any bookstores).

Assuming you use a concordance, which one do you use and for what translation? Do you do word studies with your concordance? And if so, how exactly do you do a word study? I know some people who are obsessed with “word studies” but I’ve never actually tried one myself.


I use the RSV-2CE Bible translation for study. ‘The Catholic Bible Concordance’ uses the RSV -CE as its base translation and the different words used by the RSV-2CE are listed in an appendix in the back. It is published by Emmaus Road Publishing!


I suspect people don’t often buy concordances these days because if you have the bible on a computer that can do a search, then you just search for all the verses with that particular word in it. I know getting a computer program put my concordance on the shelf and it has sat there since. The die hards will connect the search to the Greek or Hebrew words that lie behind the English translation. That is the point behind the “strong’s numbers”. The Greek and Hebrew words have been assigned numbers.

If you have Strong’s keyed to any reasonably literal translation, you can use it side by side to your Catholic bible in most cases. The problem is the deutero books and the variations between Catholic and Protestant bibles, like verse numberings, and choices of which ancient text to base it on. The underlying Greek, etc. is usually the same, but not always. It would be good enough for devotional use.

There are many websites out there that let you search numerous bible versions by word. I always found it helpful to stick within the same book of the bible. So say I was in Ephesians and I cared about how the word “church” was used there. I’d read all the places in Ephesians that used the word, to get a feel for the usage there. Doing that sort of thing can get you to know a particular book of the bible front to back and in and out.

(I search by Greek and Hebrew, though, so the English version doesn’t matter to me, not that I’ve done much searching recently.)


There is a concordance of the Douay Rheims and Clementine Vulgate here


I guess I’m just not a big fan of concordances. I would rather learn the ancient languages (Hebrew+Greek) and try to have an understanding how the original languages work. Most people may not have the capability of doing this though. But then we have people on the internet who have completely no knowledge of Hebrew/Greek and they themselves are debating the meanings of the original words via Strong’s concordance or some other Greek/Hebrew dictionary. It is quite aggravating for someone like me who is attempting to self-teach one of these original languages and trying to understand it.

Maybe that’s why I’m not a big fan of analytical concordances such as “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.” I don’t have a big problem just trying to see how much a certain word may occur though. I guess word studies are just something I’m not interested in trying, though I was wondering if anyone on here have had any “fruits” come from their word studies.


If you are trying to self-teach Hebrew, I truly recommend having an aid. Strong’s is **not **that aid, though. You will want a good dictionary/lexicon and not what a person usually thinks that word means. The best thing has the important usages of the word listed in sentences below the definition, so you see it in context (it is sort of mini-concordance like that way). The ancient choice is Brown, Driver, and Briggs. You can buy that hard copy or on computer. I found studying Hebrew an effective way to get to know the Old Testament and the Torah. I had to make it some type of challenge or it wasn’t going to happen any other way. Every person is different about what will draw them in to the bible.

Note: you have to be able to read Hebrew letters to use a hard copy of Brown, Driver, and Briggs. Also, it is not alphabetized in what you would call the standard way. It is organized roots, which means it is mostly alphabetical, but not quite.

So, I guess I did have fruits. I learned to love and enjoy the OT, even the laws in Leviticus. But the fruit was not from Strong’s. It was from trying to learn Hebrew and the meanings and usages of the words, so I do classify what I did as “word” studies, since it was about words and meanings and carefully examining the context and occurrence of those words.

Oh, if you are going all hard copy, you might want another aid to help you, unless you are good with languages (I’m not). You might want something that is not organized by the “roots”, but lists the words conjugated and pointed somewhat like they appear in the bible. That way if you are not skilled enough to tell what the root is, you can find out. With a computer you don’t have that problem.

I do want to point out that I don’t think your average slouch like me is ever good enough to know better than the scholars who translate. I was a total slouch, though. Nothing stopping you from getting good. :thumbsup:

EDIT: :smiley: I should have actually read your user name the first time I replied to you. :o


For what it’s worth, I’ve created an exhaustive concordance of the Douay-Rheims Bible, and it’s available for free download at . It will run on any computer or smartphone that has a Web browser, and, once you download the program, you no longer need an Internet connection to run it.
Besides being able to look up single words like “mustard,” this concordance can also look up multiple words. For example, you can find all the verses that contain “father” and “heaven” and “name.”
Personally, I find a concordance more useful in FINDING verses that I vaguely remember than for actual Bible STUDY. For example, if I vaguely remember Jesus inviting someone to sell what he has and have treasure in heaven, I might use the concordance to find the verses containing “sell” and “treasure” and “heaven” to find what I’m looking for.
The Douay-Rheims Bible, admittedly, is not the easiest translation to read (although it’s the only Catholic translation I know of that’s not copyrighted, so I can make it available for free). However, my program allows you to click (or tap) on any unfamiliar word to bring up a brief definition. I don’t pretend that this makes the Bible easy to read, but it helps alleviate one difficulty.
If you do download the program, I’d love to have your comments and suggestions for improvement. Thank you!



For what it’s worth, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible – the NT volume – has a “concise concordance” based on the NT part of the RSV:CE2. So if you get that, you get a mini-concordance as part of the deal.

I do concur with Pug that the availability of electronic searchable Bibles make concordances less useful these days.


I know online concordances are far more superior than any hardcopy concordance, but I do not always have the internet available to me; I do not have a smart phone (I’m old fashioned; still have a regular flip phone), tablet, etc. Bringing a laptop around with me everywhere wouldn’t be an option either. Any concordance browsing would be in my home, not at work or on the go.

I went ahead and ordered this analytical concordance:

It is an analytical concordance for the RSV. I know one exists for the RSV: CE but from the reviews I’ve read, it doesn’t include the original Hebrew/Greek words in a dictionary. The only thing is this concordance doesn’t include the deuterocanon in its search; the RSV I have is the one printed by Oxford University Press which includes the “extra” deuterocanon. I’m not a big fan of the regular RSV but I see it as a better alternative than Strong’s concordance for the KJV.

The main translations I am currently using do not have any concordances; the 1966 Jerusalem Bible apparently has a concordance available, but it’s written in French and is out of print. I’m not sure if they ever printed an English concordance for the JB. I am not sure if the 1966 JB has an online concordance available in English?


Technology has definately been changing the way people read and study! I rarely use a hard copy of a concordance or lexicon since I have internet all the time now on my phone, unless Imm in a cave. :slight_smile:


I use the online RSV concordance at just about every day.

I gave away my hard copy.



I would think using this with the RSV-CE would probably work well as there are not that many differences between the translations. Of course, none of the deuteros would be covered.

#14 covers the Apocrypha. It works well for me.

1 Esdras
2 Esdras
Additions to the Book of Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach
Letter of Jeremiah
Prayer of Azariah
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of Manasseh
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
3 Maccabees
4 Maccabees
Psalm 151



I have this one for the DRV (I got it as a gift):


Isn’t that a concordance of sentences or something like that, not of single words? Because I’ve heard of a Douay-Rheims Concordance (I think two actually) that are set up like that, with sentence instead of words.


The store description makes that particular concordance sound like a “topical concordance”, which is organized by things like “what the bible has to say about justification”, etc., and lists a few choice passages for that topic, not all of them by any means. The kind of concordance that I usually think of has a listing of *every *occurrence of the word “justify” and “just” and “justified” “justifies” etc. and the sentence in which they happen. Nobody has reduced or selected the passages.

One has to be a little wary with the topical things (not that I"m concerned about this particular one). Someone has made a choice, and reduced the number of listed passages. Choices like that can be motivated by a particular doctrine or bias.

closed #18

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