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How Do I Find Greek/Hebrew Words Translated by a Given Word Using Strong's Numbers?
Author: R G Reference Number: AA-02967 Views: 22899 Created: 2014-04-29 14:11 Last Updated: 2017-12-06 11:56 0 Rating/ Voters

Versions Tagged with Strong's Numbers

Strong's numbers are a reference system in which the words in the modern translation of the Bible are tagged with a number that is used to identify the Greek or Hebrew word that the word or words translate. Currently, the NAS, NAU, KJV, NKJ, CSB, RWB, RST, SVV, LSG, LUO and MNT versions have words tagged with Strong's Numbers.

Strong's numbers are primarily used as a search tool and means of identifying information about the given word.

Finding the Appropriate Strong's Number

You can display the Strong's numbers in these versions by clicking the Browse Window Options button above the Browse Window and selecting Toggle Strong's Numbers

You can also toggle the Strong's numbers on or off by clicking in the Browse Window and pressing 'r' on your keyboard. The Strong's numbers will then appear within < > after most words in the verse. The Strong's number also appears in the Analysis tab when you mouse over a word in one of the versions tagged with Strong's numbers. The Strong's numbers do not have to be displayed in the Browse Window to view the information for the word in the Analysis tab when you mouse over a word..

(The numbers in parentheses immediately after certain Strong's numbers describe the parsing information for Greek and Hebrew verbs in the KJV, NKJ, SVV, LSG, and LUO versions).

Searching Strong's Numbers

You can search on Strong's numbers in a variety of ways, but the first step to using them is to figure out what the Strong's number is for the word you wish to search for. One way is to search for the English word you are investigating, and then view the Strong's number. Strong's numbers are searchable and can be an initial way to search for the Greek or Hebrew word that is the basis for translated words. Click here for a video on how to search using Strong's numbers.

You can search on the Strong's number in the Search Window using the Command Line by setting your search version to one of the versions tagged with Strong's numbers, then typing .*@ plus the Strong's number of the word you wish to search for. You can also double-click on a displayed Strong's number in the Browse Window to search for that number.

Strong's numbers can be a helpful tool as an initial means to search for a Greek or Hebrew word, but it is more accurate to search for all occurrences of the Greek or Hebrew word itself rather than to rely only on the Strong's number system. When you display the Analysis tab and then hold your mouse cursor over a word or its Strong's number in one of the tagged versions in the Browse Window, the Greek or Hebrew word it translates will be displayed in the Analysis tab in its basic form as it would appear in a dictionary. This form is referred to as a Lemma in BibleWorks menus and documentation.

To search for all occurrences of that Greek or Hebrew word,

1) with your mouse hold down the Shift key to freeze the Analysis tab, 

2) then move your cursor to place it over the Greek or Hebrew word immediately to the right of the Strong's number in the top line of the Analysis tab window. Double-click this Greek or Hebrew word. This executes a search of that word in a Greek or Hebrew Bible version and the word that was searched for in will be displayed in the Command Line at the top of the Search Window.

Important: When using this technique for Hebrew words you may wish to first turn on Vowel Point Sensitive Searching (Hebrew) for greater precision. Under default settings, the Command Line is not set to search for vowel points and some Hebrew words/lemmas are distinguished from each other only by vowel points. To turn on Vowel Point Sensitive Searching (Hebrew) either double click the grayed out Vowels button on the Status Bar at the bottom of BibleWorks or right click on the Command Line in BibleWorks and check Vowel Point Sensitive Searching (Hebrew). Please be sure to turn off Vowel Point Sensitive Searching by reversing the process if you wish to enter/type only Hebrew radicals as part of a Hebrew search on the Command Line.

3) The search results appear in the Search Window, with the Greek or Hebrew word highlighted in yellow. This action will change the search version to the Greek or Hebrew version BibleWorks used to conduct the search (here it was changed to the WTM).


NAS and Thayer/BDB Dictionaries in the Analysis tab

The NAS dictionary and Thayer/BDB definitions are helpful tools for using the Bible in translation. When you mouse over a word or Strong's number in the NAS and NAU versions, entries from the NAS dictionary will display in the Analysis tab. When you mouse over a word or Strong's number in the KJV, NKJ, CSB, RWB, RST, SVV, LSG, LUO or  MNT versions, Thayer/BDB definitions will display.  If you are using the RST, SVV, LSG, LUO, and  MNT you can right click in the Analysis tab and choose a different Default Strong's Language for displaying the definitions. (The Thayer/BDB definitions have sometimes been referred to as the Strong's dictionary, however they are not the same definitions as found in the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, but are enhanced definitions from the Thayer/BDB lexicons). 

Finding English Words That Translate a Greek or Hebrew Word

The NAS dictionary lists a summary meaning of the word, followed by ways in which the word is translated in the NAS and their frequency of use, see Usage in the dictionary entry.   

In the Thayer/BDB definitions, the list of the ways the Greek or Hebrew word is translated is only for the KJV when you mouse over words in the KJV, NKJ, CSB, RWB).

Using Strong's numbers to Lookup Words in Greek or Hebrew Lexicons.

These dictionaries have their limits. They cannot compare to the accuracy and better information found in many of the Greek and Hebrew lexicons contained in BibleWorks. Lexicon is another word for dictionary. The Greek and Hebrew lexicons in BibleWorks offer a number of benefits over the NAS dictionary and Thayer/BDB definitions. First, the Greek and Hebrew lexicons offer much more information. Second, they organize the information into meaningful groups. Third, they often contain links to Bible verses containing these words. You can place your cursor over the highlighted verse links and the verse displays in a popup window. Fourth, the Greek and Hebrew lexicons are usually more up-to-date than the NAS dictionary and Thayer/BDB definitions. Researchers continue to find more ancient writings and refine their understanding of word meanings. The newer lexicons include this up-to-date information.

It is possible for an non-Greek or Hebrew-user to display and use the Greek and Hebrew lexicons in BibleWorks. Begin your study with the English translation. For example, display NAS in the Browse Window. Click the Browse Window Options button, and then select Toggle Strong's Numbers. Display Philippians 1:5 in the Browse Window. Place your cursor over the Strong's number <2842> in brackets in the NAS. The NAS number 2842 definition shows the word 'koinonia' with a meaning of 'fellowship.'

To view a lexicon entry for a Greek or Hebrew word, we must first identify the word in the Greek or Hebrew text. You can do this in two ways. You can display a Greek or Hebrew text and then look through the text to identify the same word that appears in the NAS dictionary entry. This will be difficult, though, since the words in a Greek or Hebrew text often do not look the same as the dictionary entry word, as the words appear in different forms in the text.

The second way is easier, since you do not have to read any Greek or Hebrew. Because we are studying a New Testament passage, we need to display a Greek text. Display the BGT in the Browse Window.

1) In the NAS of Philippians 1:5, place your cursor over the Strong's number <2842>, the number for the word 'participation.' Hold down the Shift key to freeze the Analysis tab, and then

2) move your cursor to place it over the Greek word immediately to the right of the Strong's number in the top line of the Analysis Window. Double-click this Greek word. This begins a search of that Greek word in a Greek Bible version.

The search results appear in the Search Window, with the Greek word highlighted in yellow. Scroll through the list of search results in the Search Window and select Philippians 1:5. The Greek word will appear highlighted in the BGT text in the Browse Window.

Place your cursor over the highlighted Greek word to show a Greek lexicon in the Analysis Window.

There are other Greek lexicons in BibleWorks. With your cursor over the highlighted Greek word, click your right mouse button, and then select Lookup Lemma in Lexicon Browser to display the lexicon entry. Select Lexicons and you can choose to view the word in any of the Greek lexicons.

How to Read a Lexicon
Each lexicon is slightly different, but there are elements common to the major lexicons. Unlike English dictionaries, Greek and Hebrew lexicons do not always list the most common uses first. While editors of modern English dictionaries can survey thousands of people to find how people use a word, editors of ancient Greek and Hebrew lexicons can only use the written documents and inscriptions that are available from those ancient times. Some words appear hundreds of times, so that the editor has much information to guide his definitions. Other words only occur a few times, so that writing an accurate definition is difficult.
Greek and Hebrew lexicons often include source references with their definitions. These source references provide illustrations so you can see the word in context having a particular meaning.
Some lexicons provide meanings, while others list glosses. A meaning is a description of how the word is used, or what it conveys. Usually meanings are listed separately. A gloss is a list of possible translations. Be careful with glosses, since they are usually listed in such a way that it appears that any or all of the words are legitimate in your context. For example, the English word 'plane' used in a sentence does not at the same time mean a flat surface, a tool for working with wood, a level of existence, and a means of transportation. Usually only one of these meanings is appropriate in a sentence. When using Greek and Hebrew lexicons, choose the one meaning that best agrees with the meaning implied in the sentence.
Lexicons do not give words their meaning. They are simply a guide to help you better understand the way a word is commonly used. The way to understand a word meaning is to see how it is used in the specific context.
Sometimes lexicons show that a word has different meanings depending upon the form in which it appears in the sentence. In such cases, you also need to know the word form if you are to use the lexicon to obtain accurate word meanings. Sometimes lexicons also show that a word has a particular meaning when it occurs with other words. In such cases you will have to look at the words next to your word in order to obtain an accurate meaning.

A Summary of BibleWorks Lexicons

By knowing what information you are looking for and what each lexicon contains, you can use the lexicon that will provide the most accurate information for your purposes. The following is a description of the Hebrew and Greek lexicons available in BibleWorks.


Holladay-The Holladay Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament provides summaries of Hebrew and Aramaic word meanings. It is similar to BDB, but has brief dictionary entries. (This lexicon is the default Hebrew lexicon in the Analysis tab).

BDB-The Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon provides lengthy descriptions of Hebrew and Aramaic words. This is an advanced lexicon containing many Hebrew and other foreign language words.

TWOT-The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament provides lengthy descriptions of words with discussion of ways in which words are found in theological discussions. This lexicon is easy to use for the English Bible-Only user, though there are occasional references to advanced theological concepts.


Gingrich-The Gingrich Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament is an abridged version of a larger Greek-English lexicon. It is easy to use and provides numerous example passages. Sometimes the definitions are essentially glosses, however. (This lexicon is the default Greek lexicon in the Analysis tab).

Friberg-The Friberg Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament is a concise Greek lexicon that categorizes word meanings. It is reasonably easy to use for English Bible-Only users.

Louw-Nida-The Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domains groups words according to their range of meanings. This unique lexicon is helpful for finding related words and creating topical studies.

LS-The Liddell-Scott Greek-English Lexicon is an abridged edition of a very large Greek-English lexicon. It provides definitions for ancient secular Greek writings that were written before the time of the New Testament. A BibleWorks supplement to the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) and Josephus is included in this lexicon. Since the definitions in this lexicon are for materials written before the New Testament, these definitions may not be accurate for defining words in the New Testament.

Thayer-The Thayer Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament is an older work. It is largely superseded by more recent lexicons.

VGNT Greek Dictionary - The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-Literary Sources explores Greek terms as they were used in the papyri of the period that was essentially contemporaneous with the New Testament period. Good for exploration of how Greek terms were used in the New Testament world.

Last updated: GW/MC/RG/May 2, 2014