Book Review: A Concordance You Can Carry

Yes, I know that we all today have an app on our cell phone that allows us to “call up” the Bible and do all kinds of nifty things.  That’s good, I’m not being critical. 

However, there is something about learning to use some standard reference tools that cannot be surpassed by any software product, no matter how powerful.  Now I own and use both Logos Bible Software and Bible Works (which I think is better–you’ll see more about this very soon.)  They’re great!   But sometimes they border on somebody giving you fish all the time and not teaching you how to fish.   And when that happens, they are not being used properly.

So, then, in addition to the wonderful software products we have,  I highly recommend this book.  Of course, to use any of these tools, including both software and hard-copy books, you’ll need to know a little bit of Greek (and we can help you with that.  Just go here for some basics in as little as 6 weeks.)

I highly recommend this concordance to the Greek NT based on UBS 3 and NA 26 (these are both Greek text editions). A revision of the 1938 version. This is a very handy Greek tool.  Click here to see it on
Handkonkordanz zum griechischen Neuen Testament. by Alfred Schmoller (1997). 

Just how important is this?  Well, aside from my NA27 (the NA28 just came out–another time), I carry and use this resource more than any other. Any time I am in a study-, teaching-, or listener-role, this resource is usually open and tantalizing me with trails of pertinent information. For example, reading 1Th 1:2, Paul says, “always making mention . . . constantly mentioning you.” A quick look at “constantly” (adialeiptws) in Schmoller shows that this word is only used 4 times in the NT, all by Paul, and always in reference to prayer. Once in Romans (1:9) and 3 times in 1 Thessalonians (1:2; 2:13; and 5:17). This is merely one of several indications that incessant, ongoing prayer is a significant concept for Paul in this letter. And this takes a total of 2-3 minutes to see with your own eyes. 

Schmoller has a short (2+ page) introduction in both German and English and is worth reading. If Greek students would learn to use this tool and wean themselves from (actually . . . burn!) those “Greek by numbers” books, the level of Bible study would go up exponentially. Yes, the better you know Greek, the better your use of this resource will be. Even so, even beginners can start using this book profitably. And yes, of course, Bible software is a “God-send,” but honestly, using this one little tool is sometimes so much quicker and even more effective than all the bulky software in the world. It is certainly more handy.

Finally, when listening to others expatiate on this or that NT text, this one little book has often allowed me (while listening, of course), to explore areas of a text only (or not) touched on by the speaker. One thing: just watch out for the asterisk (as with *epanw “above”), lest you think there are actually only two occurrences in the NT. Great book. Get it, carry it, use it.

PS:  One more thing.  Yes, there are more complete hard-copy concordances available.  But no book is more handy.  I use this wherever I go because it is so handy.