The microscopic method, or Bible Study by concordance, is an extension of the parallel method of Bible Study by marginal references, only, instead of giving us some of the references to other passages of Scripture in which the subject of the text is dealt with, as in the case of marginal references, the concordance gives us all the references to all the other passages of Scripture in which every word in the text is found.
The purposes for which we turn to the pages of a good concordance are these
(1) To find the place in which a word or a passage occurs.
(2) To obtain a list of all the occurrences of that word.
(3) To obtain a knowledge of the exact force and the exact shade of meaning conveyed by the original Hebrew or Greek word which the English word in the passage translates.
The writer recommends Strong's " Exhaustive Concordance," published by Hodder & Stoughton , but if anyone already has Young's "Analytical Concordance," that also is an excellent work, arranged on a different principle, but perhaps equally useful, and certainly sufficient for all practical purposes. Personally the writer has both, and would not on any account be without either. For those who wish to follow up more closely the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek originals, without having the advantage of any knowledge whatever of these languages, the writer recommends The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance to the Old Testament," and " The Englishman's Greek Concordance to the New Testament," but these are expensive works. Strong's " Exhaustive Concordance " consists of eight parts. It is necessary to read the preface in order to know how to use it. It is a concordance to the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures in English, a concordance to the A.V., and a concordance to the R.V. all in one. Its treatment of the subject is, as its name indicates, exhaustive. It gives every word, including every "a" and every "the" in the Bible, and all the passages in which every word occurs. It is so complete and so perfect that it can never be superseded.
Part 1. Main Concordance
Here every word in the Bible, except those in Part 3, is found arranged in alphabetical order, and under each word is given a list of all the passages in which it occurs, with one line of the verse containing it.
Part 2. Addenda This in unimportant.
Part 3. Appendix to the Main Concordance
This gives every passage in which forty-seven little words like " a," " the," " and," " as," " for," "he," "she," " it," etc., occur.
Part 4. Comparative Concordance
This is a concordance to the R.V., exhibiting every instance in which it differs from the A.V., and from the version of the American Revision Committee, of which the author, James Strong, LL.D., was a member. An asterisk (*) indicates a change from the Authorised Version (A.V.) in both the British Revised Version (R.V.) and the American Revised Version (A.R.V.). An obelisk (t) indicates a change in the R.V. only. A double obelisk (tt) indicates a change in the A.R.V. only.
Part 5. Notanda
Though short this is very interesting. It is a list of all the one hundred and forty-three longer passages in which important changes have been made in the R.V. and the A.R.V., as compared with the A.V.
Part 6. Addenda -Unimportant.
Part 7. Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary
This contains every Hebrew word in the Hebrew Bible, and gives the exact shade of its force and meaning. For the benefit of those who do not understand Hebrew the eight thousand six hundred and seventy-four words in the Hebrew Old Testament are numbered. The number of the Hebrew word is given in the Main Concordance. By turning to the number given in the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, we can ascertain the exact meaning of the original, without knowing a single word of the Hebrew language, or even a single letter of the Hebrew alphabet. At the end of Part 7 there is a list of the places where the chapters and verses are divided differently in the Hebrew from the way in which they are divided in the Authorised Version.
Part 8. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament This contains every word in the Greek New Testament, and gives the exact shade of its force and meaning. For the benefit of those who do not understand Greek, the five thousand six hundred and twenty-four words in the Greek New Testament are numbered, and to distinguish them from the words of the Hebrew Old Testament the numbers of the words in the Greek New Testament are printed in italics. The number of the Greek word is given in the Main Concordance, where of course it is again printed in italics. By turning to the number given in the Greek dictionary we can ascertain the exact meaning of the original, without knowing a single word of the Greek language or a single letter of the Greek alphabet.
As an illustration of the method of using the concordance, we may take the word " interpretation." From the Main Concordance we see that the word occurs thirty-eight times in the Old Testament, where it translates five different Hebrew words, and eight times in the New Testament, where it translates five different Greek words. By turning to the Hebrew dictionary and finding the numbers given in ordinary type, we get the exact force of the original Hebrew words translated in the thirty-eight passages of the Old Testament in which the word " interpretation " occurs ; and by turning to the Greek dictionary and finding the numbers given in italics, we get the exact force of the original Greek words translated in the eight passages of the New Testament in which the word "interpretation" occurs.. This feature renders Strong's " Concordance" a Hebrew and a Greek as well as an English concordance, available for the use of the Bible student who knows neither Hebrew nor Greek.
An anonymous English writer has made a microscopic analysis of all the books, chapters,.verses, words, and letters of the English Bible and the Apocrypha. The results are given in Dr. James Townley's "Introduction to the Literary History of the Bible." They are based on an earlier massoretical analysis, and the author is said to have spent three years of his life in making the calculations necessary for its completion.
1. The Whole Bible
Old Testament New Testament Total
Books ... 39 27 66
Chapters ...929 26o 1,189
Verses ... 23,214 7,959 31,173
Words 592,439 181,253 773,692
Letters 2,728,100 838,380 3,566,480
In the Apocrypha there are 14 books, 183 chapters, 6681 verses, and 152,185 letters.
The middle chapter and the least in the whole Bible is Ps. 117.
The middle verse is Ps. 118: 8.
2. The Old Testament
The middle book of the Old Testament is Proverbs.
The middle chapter is Job 29.
The middle verse would be 1 Chronicles 29:17 if there were a verse more, and 1 Chronicles 29:18 if there were a verse less.
The shortest verse is 1 Chronicles 1: 25.
The word Jehovah occurs 6,855 times.
The word " and " occurs 35,543 times.
The verse Ezra 7:21 contains all the letters of the English alphabet.
The verse Zephaniah 3:8 contains all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
2 Kings 19 identical with Isaiah 37
3. The New Testament
The middle book of the New Testament is 2 Thessalonians.
The middle chapter would be Romans 13 if there were a chapter more, or Romans 14 if there were a chapter less.
The middle verse is Acts 17:17.
The shortest verse is John 11:35.
The word " and " occurs 10,684 times.
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