Back in the days of T-Rex, a caveman named Strong took his newly acquired pet Stegosaurus outside the cave to do his duty. On the way, a cockroach scurried in front of them, enticing Steggie to give chase. A quick lunge jerked the leash out of his hand and away Steggie flew. Fearing the wrath of Mrs. Strong if he returned without Steggie, Caveman Strong set off to retrieve his escaped charge.
After hours of false leads, he traced his quarry to a nearby riverbank. Skirting a large pile of Dino doo-doo, he slipped on a leaf and tumbled into a large cave filled with a myriad of stone tablets. Relief washed over him when he looked up and spied Steggie peering over the edge. Grabbing Steggie’s leash that had fallen down, he climbed out of the cave and led the compliant pet home.
Life returned to normal, except for mornings when he took Steggie for his morning ritual. During those moments, he pondered over the possibilities for the tablets.
Meanwhile, Caveman Strong continued gathering needed supplies to get them through the long, cold winter. Once he fulfilled his duty, Mrs. Strong gave him leave to explore the tablets.
Fashioning a crude hammer, he began the arduous task of etching his message on the tablets. Dull tools and painful mishaps hampered his efforts. One day while inscribing the final period on page 948, he struck the flint too hard and shattered the tablet. Another day, focusing so hard on finishing a tablet he forgot about Steggie’s morning ritual. When He completed the tablet, he discovered he could begin the next, so he grabbed a frozen tablet, brought it near the fire and began carving. The warmth of the fire, mixed with an obnoxious odor revealed he had retrieved a frozen chunk of Steggie’s doo-doo.
With dogged determination, he persevered until he completed the last tablet. Mr. Strong then packed all 1,473 stone tablets in saddle bags, loaded them on a now full grown Steggie and headed off to find a publisher. To his chagrin, the sheer size and bulk of the manuscript dissuaded any publisher from touching it.
Despairing of ever seeing his manuscript in print, Caveman Strong had one last hope: Decalogue Publishing. This upstart company had no credentials, but they did have a new product called paper. Strong had no idea what that was, but it didn’t matter – they were going to publish his work.
Several months later, the Pterodactyl Express delivered the first copy of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Now, any student of the Bible could find specific verses or references even if they only remembered a word or phrase – a great pastime on those cold winter days when they were stuck in the cave. Moreover, the concordance forever changed the notion of comparing scripture with scripture. With its unique concept of assigning numbers to every Hebrew or Greek word in the Bible, anyone could trace a word or phrase throughout the Old or New Testament. All they needed was a magnifying glass to read the tiny print by firelight, as well as a lot of time.
Today, many centuries later, cyber space has replaced the printed page for Caveman Strong and sped up the search process. A Google search of the word ‘Bible’ yields about 4 million hits in two seconds. The first page contains a link to a site called The Blue Letter Bible which offers unique search capabilities.
Let’s say you just read John 15 and decided to trace the word ‘abide’ through the New Testament. You type the word in the search box and hit enter. To your delight the search reveals that the word occurs 32 times in 28 verses. As you scroll through the verses however, you discover two different Greek words are translated ‘abide’. You don’t want both words, just the one found in John 15.
Going back to the website you learn that Caveman Strong assigned this Greek word the number 3306. When you enter that number into the search box you find out it occurs 120 times, not the 32 of the previous example. Closer examination reveals the translators of the King James Bible rendered that single Greek word with the synonyms abide, remain, continue, dwell, tarry, and endure. Now you have the foundation for a fascinating and complete New Testament word study.
And to think this all began with a pet Stegosaurus chasing a cockroach. Who would have thought?
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