According to Google, a concordance is “an alphabetical list of the words (especially the important ones) present in a text, usually with citations of the passages in which they are found.”
A Bible concordance alphabetically lists all the words in the Bible and tells every single time each word is used. Once you find the word you are looking for in the appropriate passage, then you will find a number which corresponds to a definition, either in a Hebrew (for the Old Testament) or Greek (for the New Testament) dictionary.
The definition of the root word, which comes from those original languages, often gives a greater understanding of the passage which you may be studying. It may help clarify a word that is outdated and no longer used today, or it may be a common word whose definition has changed drastically since the time the Word was translated into English. Of course, it is important to use a concordance that is made for the same translation of the Bible that you are using. Otherwise, the words will not be the same.
A word study is one of the richest ways to explore God’s message to His children. Let’s say you are reading along in the gospels, and you come across the word “light.” You may want to look in the concordance for other uses of the word. Is the same word always used in the original language? If not, what are the differences between the root words? Is the same root word translated into different English words? If so, which ones?
Then as you read the different passages that use the same word, you can begin to synthesize the information. Does “light” always refer to Jesus or to salvation? What can we learn about “light” from the different passages? Does everyone respond the same way to “light,” or not?
Examining each of the different times the word is used will give you a deeper understanding of that word and often will expose a spiritual lesson - sometimes many lessons.
The most common concordance is the Strong’s Concordance. You can choose the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, which literally lists every single word and every single occurrence of each word in the Bible. There is also a Concise version available, which refers to only the important words and only lists the best known passages that use the word. The large volume is readily available at most Christian book stores and at many online retailers.
I trust that you will continue to dive in to the study of God’s Word. A concordance is one of the most basic, yet rewarding, tools to help you do just that!