I’m not an expert in what I’m writing about in this post. Please forgive any mistakes in the details.

Most people seem to use Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon if they want to look up some definitions in the original languages, which isn’t very helpful for definitions because the lexicon (dictionary), is very brief. The current lexicon that most modern commentators would use is the BDAG, which costs about $150, although there is an abridged version for about $80 which may be adequate for lay people.

But there are in-between resources, one of them called Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions for the Hebrew. As with Strong’s, these can be found to be used free in e-Sword and some other Bible software.

I rarely use these and find it much more helpful to look at 6-8 different translations and see what they did with it. If there are diversions, it can be helpful to try to find out why, or just to see which words or phrases the translation committees chose.

If one would want to look up some definitions and see the range of words that might be used, Thayer’s may be a better choice if you’re looking for a free resource.

Also see:
How NOT To Use Strong’s Concordance
How NOT To Use Strong’s Concordance – Part 2
How To Properly Use Strong’s Concordance
Strong’s Concordance – A Good Example

8 Responses to “Strong’s”

  1. 1 Dave

    People should never use concordances as dictionaries; they are different classes of tools.

    A lexicon, like BDAG, is a DICTIONARY. It explains what a word means within a context.

    A concordance, like Strong, is an INDEX. It tells you where you can find the word in Scripture. The short definitions don’t help you understand what the word means within any particular context.

    I wrote a series called “How Not To Use Strong’s” a few months back that explains the major pitfalls of using Strong’s improperly and gives some suggestions on how to use it properly. And updating to Thayer is not one of them.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    If you’d like, could you give me a link to your series. The short definitions are probably why I haven’t found it useful and have used Thayer’s on occasion, but even that not much at all. I haven’t used these much because I think if I don’t know Greek I shouldn’t be using it much anyway. Like a tourist using a dictionary to form sentences.

  3. 3 Dave

    I see you already found the series so I won’t bother posting links in the comments. I hope the posts don’t discourage you in regards to concordances. Someone with limited or no experience in the original languages can learn a lot by using a concordance – if they use it properly (ie not as a dictionary). Hope this helps!

    In Christ,

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Thank you Dave. Like I said I never found it useful as a dictionary anyway. I’ll be reading the articles. What I’m saying is if people want to use it that way, at least use something like Thayer’s, which nobody seems to know about, even more experienced people.

  5. 5 THEOparadox

    The absolute best resource I know of for word studies is the Complete Word Study Bible (OT and NT in separate volumes) by Spiros Zodhiates (published by AMG). For most of the important words, Zodhiates provides lexical notes which include a nice combination of etymology, definitions, usage, ranges of meaning, related words, notes on specific texts, and any other pertinent information that would be helpful to non-experts. You can buy print or digital versions for about $40 per volume. If I had to choose only one word study resource, this would be it.

    Another good one, and much more in depth, is the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (published by Moody). I’m not sure if there is a version of this for the NT. I like Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT, which is available for free.

    You and Dave are right. Some people have gone way off track using Strong’s. It’s a great index or broad overview of word meanings, but you have to have more beefy books to gain certainty about Hebrew and Greek definitions in particular texts.


  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks Derek. I’m not much into word studies either so I’d only be looking for free stuff. But I’ve never heard of those, other than Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT. I’m sure they would be helpful, especially to know if there is any etymological significance and if so, what it is. Such big words.

  7. 7 Stan McCullars

    A good dictionary I have is the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Abridged Edition. $19.89 at and worth every penny!

  8. 8 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks. I think Mounce may have mentioned that. I have it on my secondary list. Even though MacArthur thinks (Little) Kittle is THE authority on anything Greek.

    I wonder how it compares to The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

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