James Strong’s Thirty-Five Year Undertaking
JAMES STRONG was born in New York City on this day, 14 August 1822. Despite being troubled much of his life with ill health, he gave the church an extensive body of Biblical works—at least one of which is famous to anyone who has ever looked up anything in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
Strong’s parents died while he was still a young man. He determined to make his way as a doctor and began his studies while still in his teens. However, physical weakness compelled him to abandon medicine. Following his graduation in 1844 from Wesleyan University, he taught in Vermont until ill health forced him to leave that job as well. He then served as mayor of a city in New York, studied and taught Biblical literature, and organized, built, and managed the Flushing Railroad. Finally, he became a college professor.
It took James Strong thirty-five years to compile his concordance. He assigned each Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek root a number which allowed its every use to be tracked through the Bible. This proved invaluable to later scholars.
He published this Concordance in 1890 while Professor of Exegetical Theology at Drew Theological Seminary, a Methodist school. His association with Drew spanned two and a half decades. During those years he also published a work of Biblical chronology, a study in the doctrine of future life, and a mathematical study of the wilderness tabernacle. He assisted with the English Revised Version of the KJV (published in America in 1901 as the American Standard Version) and was a key editor for the ten-volume Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.
Perhaps doubly aware of the subject because of the weakness of his own body, Strong once wrote about the Christian’s future glorification based on the evidence of Christ’s glorified appearances: “It is a matter of biblical information and of Christian belief that the body of Jesus took on an additional change in its ascension to heaven beyond what it assumed at its resurrection from the sepulcher, and that it has since existed in what has usually been termed its ‘glorified state’ in the immediate presence of the divine Father.”