BAR 23:06, Nov/Dec 1997
Electronic Echoes: Using Computer Concordances for Bible Study
(For Eugene Schwartz)
Have you tried those wonderful computerized Biblical concordance programs? Theyre a modern miracle. With them, you can find lots of interesting connections to enrich sermons and personal Bible study. But are the programs useful in scholarly study? And can a layperson successfully do research with them?
I have tried many concordance programs and can tell you. Also, I made friends with a layperson who used the programs to explore some interesting scholarly hypotheses. Let me tell you how it happened.
In 1993, I met Eugene Schwartz, an advertising executive; he and his wife were knowledgeable and avid collectors of contemporary art. Among Genes wide-ranging interests were Biblical studies and religion in general. He wrote You Are Not Far From the Kingdom of God,1 a well-received book that used traditional printed concordances to show parallels between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Before he died of a stroke in September 1995, Gene and I did some very interesting work with computerized Bible concordances, which I would like to convey to you in his memory.