James Strong, LL.D., S.T.D., compiled the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Many have claimed that he was a Mason and that this affects the authenticity of his work. But does it really affect whether his work can be trusted? No. First, the claim that he was a Mason is an unsubstantiated rumor, possibly spread by someone who wants to advance their own ideas without the blockage caused by a widely respected and accurate work.
Who was James Strong? He was born in New York city in 1822 and died in Round Lake, NY in 1894. Dr. Strong was a Methodist. He graduated valedictorian from Wesleyan University (a purely Methodist university) in 1844. In 1856 Wesleyan University granted him the degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). From 1858 until 1861, Strong was both Acting President and Professor of Biblical Literature at Troy University (New York). In 1868 he became Professor of Exegetical Theology at Drew Theological Seminary, where he remained for twenty-seven years. In 1881 Wesleyan honored Strong with the degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).
His work on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance has been criticized by some solely for the fact that he was never fluent in either Greek or Hebrew. But is this really reason to criticize his work? Consider when you write a report on a book or some scientific subject. Do you need to be fluent in those subjects for your report to be considered accurate? Do you need to have a degree in physics to write about the effects of a quasar? No. Time and the wide acceptance and standard use of his work have proven that it was a scholarly effort.
However, what if he was indeed a Mason? Should we be concerned? Concerned about what? Secret societies, obscure rituals, hermeticism, and strange conclusions culled from obscure research? These things in no way affect whether one's work can be considered scholarly. Scientists and archaeologists draw conclusions from very little data that eventually gets disproved all the time and does this affect their reputations? No. But are we talking about theories and speculation with Strong's Exhaustive Concordance? Not even close. Strong's Concordance was based on preexisting research, not on Dr. Strong's knowledge. All he did was number every Hebrew and Greek root word found in the Bible and scholarly recorded the major uses of those words in various translations. That is the extent of his contribution.
Now it may be that some are confusing "hermeticism" (the practice of pseudo-scientific magic adopted by the Masons) with "hermeneutics" (a research philosophy). Biblical hermeneutics is the practice of determining relationships found between the author, the reader, and the text. This field of study would only have affected Strong's work on "McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature", "A New Harmony and Exposition of the Gospels", and maybe "The Tabernacle of Israel in the Desert". It would in no way affect his work on the Exhaustive Concordance.
Could Dr. Strong get away with changing the meanings of words and over 100 years later not one single person has exposed it? What matters is the attestation of other scholars, and James Strong not only has the attestation of leading scholars, but they use his reference works for much of their own work and have made many works that utilize the numbering. There is a reason why his work is so widely used. It is because his work has withstood the test of time and reflects legitimate scholarly workmanship of the highest caliber.
But has Strong's work been left unedited? On the contrary. Since its creation, it has been revised and updated repeatedly to reflect the latest understanding of Biblical texts. But in whose hands has this occurred? Under the hands of Masons? Not solely. Currently it is published as "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible" by Thomas Nelson Publishers (Not associated with Masons, but with Methodists), "The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible" by Thomas Nelson Publishers, and "The Stronger Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible" by Zondervan Press.
Also see the following articles:
James Strong (Theologian)