Sep 30, 2016 David Sanford

Researching the Word “Providence”

[Editor’s Note: We recently welcomed David to our marketing team, and asked him to plunge right in writing a few blog posts as a newbie. This is the third in that series.]

Fall Theme - Providence

A. W. Tozer correctly observes: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

How good that we can thank God daily for his sovereignty, providence, holiness, love and mystery.

Yes, we can rattle off a lot of other theological and biblical terms, but these are delightfully immense reminders of who God is.

While four of these terms appear throughout the Bible, the word “providence” does not. “Providence” appears in the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence. It appears in thousands of other works published over the past 450 years. Yet, by most accounts, it doesn’t appear in Scripture.

So, is God’s “providence” a theological term we bring to the Bible, or is it intrinsic within it?

After I installed Accordance Essential, my first research term was “providence.” In less than 20 seconds, I confirmed each of the uses cited below.

  • NIV – 1 verse (Job 10:12)
  • MSG – 1 verse (1 Cor. 10:1)
  • NKJV – 3 instances (section headings)
  • NRSV – 9 instances (Apocrypha)

Plus...

  • JPSS – 1 more verse (2 Sam. 22:36)
  • Weymth – 1 more verse (2 Cor. 2:12)

I also had instant access to entries for “providence” in…

  • 30 dictionaries
  • 48 commentaries
  • 13 Hebrew and Greek lexicons
  • 3 grammars
  • 12 theological volumes

In less than 90 seconds, I could see that Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant writers down through the centuries have discussed scores of Scripture passages that demonstrate God’s providence, even if the term itself isn’t used by most biblical writers.

I live within easy driving distance of 11 theological and biblical libraries. Still, no matter how long I kept at it, I never could have found such a wealth of research on “providence.”

Thanks to God’s providence, I’m now using Accordance!

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