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The value of Strong’s Concordance as an essential tool helps understand how one Biblical Hebrew word can have contrary meanings.
The value of Strong shows in the positive and negative usage of certain Biblical Hebrew words. This is not always the case, but it is safe to say he understood this principle and transmits it throughout his work. His short annotations prior to the list of KJV translations can be of help.
We saw subdue the earth. H3533 כָּבַשׁ kâbash kaw-bash’; a primitive root; to tread down; hence, negatively, to disregard; positively, to conquer, subjugate, violate:
Strong’s concordance is not an inspired work in the sense that the Bible is. His concordance exhibits errors. But that limitation does not take away from the overall value of Strong we can garner from using this study tool.
Credit where credit is due, the value of Strong is he understood this Biblical Hebrew positive-negative principle. One might ask, did he hypothesize or guess at this idea? What evidence is there, this 2nd Key is valid? Despite what Hebrew language scholars might propose or conclude. Once pointed out, you’ll see the value of Strong’s references to Key 2 more often.
Consider that it is neither Strong nor Kneller who are interpreting or pushing the idea of contrary meanings for a single Biblical Hebrew word. The Bible contexts using these words clearly display this key. The Explanation is simply pointing out Key 2 and using the value of Strong’s Concordance as a tool to find our way around Biblical Hebrew with ease.
By the way, the value of Strong is not only was he a theologian but he held office in his hometown city of Lansing New York, and organized, constructed, and became president of the Flushing railroad. A remarkable career. Here are a number of annotations to display the value of Strong. You can verify them using the Bible study tools at UnlockBibleMeaning.com
I have let you off with no exercise for Key 2, contradictory meanings of one Biblical Hebrew word. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice. At UnlockBibleMeaning.com, search for the words below and find the following Strong’s references to read his full annotation. I suggest you do a few and peruse all the Bible verses, specifically noting those that reveal positive and negative meanings for the same Biblical Hebrew word.
- H3533 subdue; negatively, to disregard; positively, to conquer, subjugate
- H4513 mana; to debar (negatively or positively) from benefit or injury:
- H4209 mezimmah; a plan, usually evil (machination), sometimes good (sagacity):
- H2100 zuwb (zoob); to waste away; also to overflow:
- H5643 cether; a cover (in a good or a bad sense):
- H6059 anaqto; choke; to collar, i.e. adorn with a necklace;
- H7280 raga; to toss violently and suddenly (the sea with waves, the skin with boils); figuratively (in a favorable manner) to settle, i.e. quiet;
- H7649 sabea; satiated (in a pleasant or disagreeable sense):
- H3823 labab; to be enclosed (as if with fat); (in a good sense) transport (with love), or (in a bad sense) stultify;
- H1984 hâlal; to be clear, to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify:
We find this in Greek as well, please refer to the context of the verses.
- G459 anomos lawless, i.e. (negatively) not subject to (the Jewish) law; (by implication, a Gentile), or (positively) wicked:
- G820 atimos (negatively) unhonoured or (positively) dishonoured:
- G570 faithlessness, i.e. (negatively) disbelief (lack of Christian faith), or (positively) unfaithfulness (disobedience):
- G2212 zeteo, i.e. (in a good sense) to worship (God) or (in a bad sense) to plot (against life):
You see Strong uses different terms to express this positive-negative relationship, but it clearly confirms the reality of contrary meaning, Key 2 to master Biblical Hebrew and unlock Bible meaning. The value of Strong as a valid Bible Study tool is undeniable. The Explanation and you use it with discernment and wisdom.
This is the end of Key 2. Strong does not include all the words with contrary meanings. You’ll find more as you study. Other words in Genesis, like dominion (Genesis 1:26-28), breath (Genesis 2:7), nefesh (soul – Genesis 2:7)… have these two-sided meanings. It’s the understanding of this double-sidedness that helps unlock meaning like the reason a good God can create a Tree of Death and a Tree of Life. When you can answer such questions, you’re unlocking Bible meaning.
Remember, the importance of Key 2 is not the contradictory meanings but how it helps us unlock Bible meaning. One of the fundamental elements of the Bible is the two Trees leading to Death and Life. They symbolize the contradictory nature of the plan of God. A perfectly good God planted BOTH those Trees. Understanding this seemingly contradictory action of God opens up the understanding of God’s plan and why He does things, the way He does.
Meditate on this. A question debated in a theology forum I saw recently, but a regular question that arises. “Once saved, always saved.” True or false? Key 2, the reality of contrary meanings, answers that question unequivocally.
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