Accordance Bible Study –– 6. Keys to the Original
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Sample Accordance Bible Study

K. Allison Brannon

Introduction to Keyed Bible Texts

Some versions of the Bible are keyed with numbers that tie significant words in the text with a database of words in the original text. These versions are especially useful in finding the original meaning of a given word, and also in seeing where other forms of that word in the Greek or Hebrew are found. This leads the student of the Bible to connect words and meanings in the original text that may not have been obvious in the English versions.

Key Numbers and Accordance

Accordance offers several versions of Keyed Bible Texts, including KJV (KJVS), NASB 1995 version (NAS95S), and the NIV (NIV-G/K). The KJVS uses the original Strong's numbers, whereas the NAS95S use a modified Strong's scheme. The NIV-G/K is based on an entirely different system of numbering. Choose the version that suits you and type in the passage we are currently studying: Mark 1:1-13.

You will see as you move the cursor across the words that the keyed words, their keyed numbers, the definitions, and the words in the original language (Greek in the New Testament, Hebrew in the Old) appear in the Instant Details box at the bottom of your screen. Using the text in Mark, you can see that such words as beginning, Jesus, message, water, and heaven are featured below. Smaller, insignificant words such as of, about, and was do not appear, as they are not included in the keyed database.

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(click image to see at full size)

Triple-clicking on a word with a key number will bring up the dictionary it is linked to, in a new window. This will give you more information, along with other numbers that are associated with the word you have chosen.

Key Numbers in Mark

Look at the word gospel in Mark 1:1. Triple-click on the word to bring up the new window. You can see, in the NIV-G/K, that the number associated with the word is 2295. The word, euaggelion, means gospel or good news. You can also click to the links 2292 and 34 to see related words.

Beginning in Mark_6_2

You can also look up the word love in verse 11, where God the Father proclaims His love for His Son. The dictionary definition for agapetos shows that God's love for His Son is the highest form of love, and it defines their relationship.

If you want to see where else in the Bible the same Greek word for love is used, you can easily do so. Click in the word and then press the Option key as you click the Amplify button in the Library next to the text you want to search.

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Notice that the new window has searched for the key number rather than the word love. If you add a parallel pane with the KJV you will see that the word used there is beloved.


The Analysis button on the search window gives you access to a completely different way to search. It opens a new zone that gives you access to various forms of analyzed search results. You can see your search displayed in various Analysis forms, such as a Graph, and more. The Analysis option is tied to the search window and will automatically search for the word you have chosen.

For example, let's continue our study of the word love in Mark 1:11. You have already searched for the word by pressing the Option key as you amplified to the text. Now click the Analysis button () and choose Analysis. You will see a list of the way the word agapetos is translated (8 times as Dear, 6 times as friend, 11 times as love, etc).

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Now click the Analysis button () and choose Hits Graph. This feature will give you a visual of where and how often in the New Testament that word is found. Double-clicking on the graph will display the text of that particular passage. To illustrate how this function can be helpful, let's do a search for Jordan from the Mark text. It may be interesting to see where in the New Testament that important river comes into play. As we look at the Hits Graph function, we see that the Jordan River is mentioned only in the Gospels, with the most mentions being in Matthew.

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Advanced Features of Key Numbers

If you want to study an entire verse and the keyed words that make it up, simply select the verse and choose Parsing from the Language option under the Amplify menu. This will show you the entire verse laid out in a column with the key number and the definition for each significant word next to it.

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You can also search with key numbers by using the phrases and commands found in the Search menu, the way you would with English words. Use the Search window which has the key number: [KEY G0028]. Then add commands such as , , etc. from the Enter Command submenu. These commands enable you to search for places in the Bible that a given word occurs with another word, or where that word or a similar word occur. [KEY G0028] son will find verses containg son and agapetos. The most helpful symbol is @. This symbol allows you to link a word in English to a key number, thus searching for all the times that word is translated that particular way. For example, [email protected][KEY G0028] will find love where it translates agapetos.

What Can You Learn From Key Numbers?

Looking up words by using key numbers allows you to gain definitions of words by tracing them back to the original language. It also allows you to see where other forms of that word were used, even if they are translated differently in English. But how can this teach you anything about the Bible?

Look up message in Mark 1:7. By reading the definition here, you can learn something about the message John preached. The definition explains that the Greek word refers to preaching or proclaiming, often cautioning listeners about consequences for not listening. So you can learn, though key numbers, that John was not just preaching a sermon, that there was a warning imbedded in it.

For another example, let's look at the word tempted in verse 13. From the actual English text, we learn that Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan. When we look up the word in NIV-G/K, the number is 4279. The definition is "to test, tempt, to try to trap, to examine (oneself)."

By looking up other locations in the New Testament where this word occurs, we find that it is found 39 times. Most of these refer to instances where Jesus was being tempted or trapped by enemies, but a few times, Jesus is the one doing the testing. According to the dictionary definition, He is trying to "determine and sharpen true character." By examining these other instances and reading them in context, we can see that tempting or testing is something that can be done by Jesus and Satan, albeit with different motives for each.

Try looking up other important words in the text and see what you find.


In this article, we have covered the basics of using Keyed Bible Texts. We have seen how and why to use them, the way they are presented in Accordance, and their value to the student of the Bible. There are many more interesting things to be discovered by using Keyed Bible Texts in the Old and New Testament; the insight and knowledge gained can be invaluable.

(Article content and images updated September 2013)

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