Preface to the 1st Edition of Cruden’s Concordance, 1737

Alexander Cruden (1701-1770) first completed his famous Bible concordance in 1737.It was to be a “Dictionary and Alphabetical Index to the Bible; Very Useful to all Christians who seriously read and study the Inspired Writings.”The following preface was printed in his first 1737 Concordance, as well as subsequent editions, including the first American edition of 1806.

A CONCORDANCE is a Dictionary, or an Index to the Bible, wherein all the words used through the inspired writings are ranged alphabetically, and the various places where they occur are referred to, to assist us in finding our passages, and comparing the several significations of the same word. A work of this kind, which tends so much to render the study of the holy Scriptures more easy to all Christians, must be acknowledged to be very useful; for if a good Index to any other book is to be valued, much more ought one to the Bible, which is a revelation from God, given as the only rule of our faith and practice, and to discover to us the way to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I do not propose to treat of the incomparable excellencies of that divine book, which is above all commendation, and will be in the highest esteem by all the true members of the church of God, whose faith, hope, and comfort are built upon these divine oracles.

What I shall farther do in this Preface, shall be to present the Reader with a short historical account of Concordances, which will tend to display their great usefulness and then acquaint him with the method I have followed in this.

Hugo de S. Charo, a preaching Friar of the Dominican order, who was afterwards a Cardinal, was the first who compiled a Concordance to the holy Scriptures: he died in the year 1262. He had studied the Bible very closely, and for carrying on this great and laborious work the more successfully, we are told he employed five hundred Monks of his order to assist him. He framed an Index of all the declinable words, and referred to them places where they were to be found.

This Latin Concordance has been frequently printed with improvements; and since that time works of this sort have been brought to much greater perfection than formerly. At first it was thought sufficient to specify the chapter wherein the word occurred, with these letters a, b, c, d, as marks to point out the beginning, the middle, or the end of the chapter. But after Robert Stephens, in the year 1545, had divided the chapters of the Bible into verses, the verses likewise began to be numbered, and the letters in the editions of the Concordances to be suppressed: And in 1555 this eminent Printer published his fine Concordance, wherein the chapters and verses are exactly distinguished.

It could not be thought that when so useful a work as Cardinal Hugo’s came to be known, men, who carefully studied the Scriptures, would be satisfied that such assistance should be confined only to those who understood Latin:Accordingly, several have been published in various languages, particularly Rabbi Mordecai Nathan, otherwise called Isaac Nathan, composed an Hebrew Concordance in imitation of Cardinal Hugo’s. He began it in the year 1438, and completed it in 1448, being no less than ten years in finishing it; and besides, as he himself says, he was obliged to employ a great many writers in this work. After printing was invented, it was printed several times: first at Venice by Daniel Bomberg in the year 1523, under the title of Meir Netib, that is to say, Which giveth light in the way; at Basil by Frobenius in 1581, and at Rome in 1621.This was the foundation of that noble work published by John Buxtorf, the son, being assisted by his father’s papers, at Basil in 1632.

As to the Greek text of the New Testament, a Concordance was published by Henry Stephens at Geneva in 1599, and republished in 1624: But a more accurate one was compiled by Erasmus Schmidius, and published at Wittemberg in 1638, which was republished more correctly at Leipsic in 1765, and is reckoned a very complete performance.

A Greek Concordance to the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament, must be owned to be very useful to such as are for comparing the expressions used in it with those of the New Testament, and to those who read the Fathers. Conrad Kircher of Augsbourg is celebrated for his Greek Concordance of the Old Testament, printed at Francfort in 1602.This author has inserted the Hebrew words in an alphabetical order, and placed under them the Greek words to which they answer. But since that time, an excellent Concordance to the Old Testament has been published at Amsterdam in 1718, by the aged and worthy Minister of Groningen, M. Abraham Trommius, who instead of following the Hebrew alphabet with Kircher, has chosen rather to observe the order of the Greek alphabet.

There have been Concordances likewise published in various modern languages: in French by M. Gravelin; in High Dutch and Low Dutch, by several; the most complete one in Low Dutch is that begun by M. Martinitz, and finished by M. Trommius before mentioned. In English we have had many. The first was published by Mr. Marbeck in 1550, which is dedicated to the pious King Edward VI, but this referred only to chapters, not verses: Then Mr. Cotton published a pretty large Concordance, which has been often printed. Afterwards Mr. Newman published one more complete; and lastly, we have had one published under the title of the Cambridge Concordance.There have been several abstracts or small Concordances published: First by Mr. Downame, the next by Mr. Vavasor Powell, then by Mr. John Jackson, and afterwards by Mr. Samuel Clarke.As also other works of this nature have been written by way of a Dictionary or Concordance, but in a different method, as Mr. Wilson’s Christian Dictionary, Mr. Knight’s Axiomatical Concordance, Mr. Bernard’s Thesaurus Biblicus, and Mr. Wickens’s Concordance, &c.

Thus it appears that we have had Concordances to the Bible some centuries ago; and the world has been so sensible of their usefulness, that many of them have been composed and published in different languages; but as there are several in our language, it may be inquired, What occasioned my undertaking this great and laborious work, or what advantages it has above any other hitherto published?

When I first began this work, I designed to compose an useful Concordance in Octavo; but after I had printed several specimens, I found it necessary to alter my scheme, and to compile one to be printed in this large volume, in order to make those improvements which now render it preferable to any other.

The method is easy and regular, and each text of Scripture is generally contained in one line, whereby the reader may readily find the place he wants, if he remembers any material word. When there are two or more texts of Scripture that are parallel, I have generally mentioned the first that occurs in order in the Bible, and have directly added the parallel texts. It is printed with a good letter, though pretty small, which was necessary in order to bring it into this volume, and make it contain multum in parvo, much in a little compass; and great care has been taken that the figures referring to the chapters and verses of the Bible be exact and correct. When a text is marked with a †, it denotes a marginal reading.

This Concordance is divided into three Alphabets.

The first Alphabet contained the Appellative or Common Words, which is the principal part. It is very full and large, and any text may be found by looking for any material word, whether it be substantive, adjective, verb, &c

In this part I have given the various significations of the principal words, which, I hope, will be esteemed an useful improvement, there not being anything of this kind in the other large Concordances: By this improvement the Reader will have many texts explained, and difficulties removed; and the meaning of the Scripture may be here known by that which is accounted the best rule of interpreting Scripture, namely, by comparing one Scripture with another. There is so large a collection of the various significations of many words in Scripture, as may, perhaps, be not only useful to private Christians, but also to those who preach the Gospel; for hereby many important things may be observed at one view, without the trouble of turning over several volumes; and occasion is sometimes taken to give an account of the Jewish customs and ceremonies, by which the Reader is led into meaning of many passages of Scripture, as may be seen in the words, Elder, Ephod, Synagogue, &c.

The second Alphabet contains the Proper Names in the holy Scriptures, which the Reader will receive with improvements, as in Abraham, David, &c. The texts referred to, where those names are mentioned, give a short historical account of the remarkable things recorded in Scripture concerning them. To this part is prefixed a Table containing the significations of the words in the original languages from which they are derived.

The third and last Alphabet is a Concordance for those books that are called Apocryphal, which is only added that this work might not be deficient in any thing that is treated of in any other Concordance; those books not being of divine Inspiration, nor any part of the Canon of Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God.

I conclude this Preface, with praying that God, who hath graciously enabled me to bring this large Work to a conclusion, would render it useful to those who seriously and carefully search the Scriptures; and grant that the sacred writings, which are so important and highly worthy of esteem, may meet with all that affection and regard which they deserve. May those who profess to believe the Scriptures to be a Revelation from God, apply themselves to the reading and study of them; and may they by the holy Spirit of God, who indited the Scriptures, be made wise to salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.Amen.

London, October, 1737.


AS to what respects this new Edition, notwithstanding the great pains taken in the First, there was room for improvements. The filling up of the lines to make the text fuller could not so well be done in the manuscript copy, as in the printed,This renders the sentences more complete, in many thousands of places; moreover, the texts are more distinct in many places, by the leading words being distinguished in Italic characters. Some texts are added, and some improvements are made in the Significations of words, and an historical account is given of some eminent persons under their Proper Names; and other things that need not be particularly mentioned.

The labours of many persons to compile Concordances to the Bible, and their acceptance from time to time by the public, shew their great usefulness: It may be reckoned a good sign that religion is revived in some considerable degree in the present age, by the great demand for Concordances and religious books. The First Edition, of several thousands in number, has been long sold off, which shews this book’s favourable reception from the public; and a demand has been long made for a new Edition. There are few books more necessary to those who study their Bibles than a Concordance, whether private Christians, or Ministers of the Gospel, who make the Scripture the standard of their preaching. I was told by an eminent Minister, that the Bible and this Concordance taught him to preach: This dictionary may be a help, but the Spirit of God is the best Teacher, who alone can powerfully and effectually teach, and impress the heart with the truths revealed in the Scriptures, and make those who read and study the sacred writings wise to salvation.

My great aim and design in this Work is, that it may be the means of propagating among my countrymen, and through all the British dominions, the knowledge of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our selves, as the same is revealed in the Scriptures: for whose good I heartily wish that it were more complete than it is; for though it be called in the title page, A complete Concordance, poor sinful man can do nothing absolutely perfect and complete, and therefore the word complete is only to be taken in a comparative sense yet competent judges are of opinion that the method here taken is the best which has appeared in our Language towards a complete Concordance.

It is hoped that the above-mentioned improvements in this new Edition will serve to recommend the Work ore and more to the favour of the public: May it please God, by the powerful operations of his Spirit, to make it useful for the spiritual benefit of those who diligently and carefully use it.

London, June 11, 1761.


THE great utility of a correct Concordance to the invaluable writings of the Old and New Testaments, by which a recurrence to any passage of Scripture might readily be obtained, appears to have been long confessed, from the numerous attempts that have been made to furnish an accurate Dictionary to the Bible from the time of Hugo de S. Charo in the twelfth century, to the first publication of Cruden’s Concordance in the year 1738. In 1761 the second edition of this work, considerably improved, was printed under the inspection of our respectable and worthy author, and it may fairly be concluded, that he left so little room for improvement in the general plan and arrangement of the work, that the epithet Complete in the title page, belongs as properly to this compilation, as to the production of any man. Many embarrassing errors in the references, however, have been copied from one edition into another, of which we have corrected upwards of nine hundred: others probably may have escaped our notice; but as the sheets have been read by three persons, and not only examined by different editions of the work, by the references compared with the Cambridge, Concordance, and afterwards with the text itself where any disagreement was observed, we hope it will be found as much superior to the best London copies in correctness, as it evident is in paper and print; and as it is not inferior in binding, we have the pleasing reflection upon the completion of our arduous undertaking, that our friends who have patronized the work will not be disappointed in any expectation we have given them concerning it.

In the use of this Concordance, our readers will please observe, that it comprises four alphabets. The first and most useful is an Index or Concordance to the Old and New Testaments, in which all the principal words that are used in the Bible, are arranged in alphabetical order, and the chapter and verse referred to where they are to be found.

The second is an Alphabetical table of the Proper Names in the Old and New Testaments, together with their signification in their original languages. Such names as seldom occur in the Bible, are referred to from this part, but generally the author has confined himself to the meaning of the name, and occasionally given some account of eminent persons.

The third is a Concordance to the Proper Names in the Old and New Testaments; and the fourth and last, is a Concordance to the Books called Apocrypha, in which the proper names and principal words are blended in one alphabet, and the book, chapter, and verse referred to where they are respectively to be found.

Philadelphia, 4th Mo. 21st, 1806