What do you mean? [strongs number 5547]?

by Edward Langenback

© 7/6/03

Not very long ago, someone asked me "what do you mean ' [strongs number 5547] ' ?". They were referring to my practice of providing strongs numbers for words that I am examining the original Hebrew and Greek meanings of.

Most people don't realize the Bible wasn't written in English because they have been speaking and reading English (or any other non Hebrew or Greek Languages.). They automatically assume that the English translation of the Bible that they are reading is how it was originally written. This is not true.

When the books and letters that comprise the modern Bible were written, English did not exist as a language. The Old Testament books were written in ancient Hebrew while the New Testament books and letters were all written in the form of Greek that was in use two thousand years ago. English originated much more recently than that starting with the Angles and the Saxons. Later the Anglo-Saxon peoples were eventually known as the Britons. Over time, the language that they spoke changed and grew as any language does. In 1611, King James of England authorized a translation of the Bible into English. This is the version of the Bible that many people are familiar with and still use today.

It allowed English speaking people to read and study the word of God for themselves instead of simply taking someone's word for it. In 1890, James Strong published a concordance that listed alphabetically every word in the KJV (King James Version) along with every verse that the word appeared in.

By itself, this is a valuable tool that enables a reader to find any verse by looking up any word in it. However, Strong went a step farther. He compiled dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek words that the KJV was translated from. These words were arranged in alphabetical order. To make it easier for people who do not know the languages to find words, he assigned a number to each word. The numbers are listed in the concordance after the English translation.

Here is an example of an entry in the concordance:

On page 613 of the Main Concordance the following entry appears:

lord (or Lord) See also lord's (Lord's); Lords.
ge 2:4 that the L' God made the earth 3068

This entry starts out with 'ge' which is an abbreviation for 'Genesis'. The '2:4' shows that this is in chapter two verse four. There is then a brief sample of text that shows where the word 'Lord' was used. Following this is the number 3068.

It is now possible to turn to the back of the book and locate the Hebrew dictionary. At the beginning of it, there are a couple of pages that explain the abbreviations used and basic pronunciation guides for Hebrew letters. Entry number 3068 can be found on page 47 of the Hebrew dictionary:

3068 XXXX   YYYY  yeh-ho-vaw' from 196 (the) self-Existent or Eternal; jehovah, Jewish national name of God;- Jehovah, the Lord. Comp. 3050, 3069.

Where I've used XXXX is where the word would appear written in Hebrew letters. Where I've used YYYY is an English rendering of the word with special accent marks to show how each syllable is pronounced, followed by a normal dictionary style pronunciation guide in italics. The next thing we see is that this word is derived from word number 196. Then appears the English translation of the word that was translated 'Lord' in Genesis 2:4.

The listing of verses in which the word Lord appears continues for twenty two pages. Truly an exhaustive reference, the concordance fills 1217 pages of small type in three columns per page.

To be clear, this concordance is not merely a 'verse finder', it is a thorough language reference for both Hebrew and Greek as they were used in the writing of the scriptures. Many concordances have been published but most function simply to locate verses and do not have the language references. The book that I am writing about here is "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries". Accept no substitutes.

For the inevitable question "WHY include strong's numbers?", the answer is simple. Just as I provide scriptural references so that the reader can look them up for themselves, I also provide the strong's numbers for words that I am examining in detail so that the reader can do his own study.