An Important (Free) Resource for Your Study of the Bible
You may not be aware of the www.biblegateway.com website, but it is one of the best digital resources for Bible study that you can find. The basic website is what I would describe as a digital concordance – though it is much more than that. The home page opens to a verse of the day for you to read but the real magic is at the top of the page. Here you can enter a keyword, a phrase, a passage reference (e.g. John 3:16) or a topic and then you can search for it in one of more than 200 different Bibles, including more than 50 English language translations. The list includes the most popular versions such as the ESV or English Standard Version (this is the one I prefer), the HCSB or Holman Christian Standard Bible (beginning next year it will be called simply the Christian Standard Bible – it has become one of the top two or three best-selling English versions of the Bible), the NASB or New American Standard Bible, the NIV or New International Version, the NKJV or New King James Version, and the NRSV or New Revised Standard Version.
It is once you have done a search that the “magic” begins. If you have done a verse or passage search (e.g. John 3:16 or John 3:16-20) you now have the option of adding to the screen the same passage references in other translations. Often I am curious about the way different Bible versions translate a passage. Without digging out all my printed Bibles and looking it up, in a quick keystroke I am able to add additional columns on the page showing me the passage in other translations (which I get to pick from). I am currently leading a Bible study on Galatians. We have just started chapter 3. In a matter of seconds I can pull up Galatians 3:1 in several different translations to help us in our study.
- ESV – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?
- HCSB – You foolish Galatians! Who has hypnotized you…
- NABRE – O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you…
- J.B. Phillips – O you dear idiots of Galatia… who has been casting a spell over you?
If you do a word search the first thing you will see on the results page is the numerical result of your search. For example, in the ESV the search for “love” brings up 684 results in the Bible. You can then read through a listing of the results by the verse in which the word is found (e.g. “love” is found in Genesis 22:2, Genesis 24:12, Genesis 24:14, etc). You can then go to any of the single verse results and pull up other options. If you go to the result found in Genesis 22:2 you can show the result “in Context” which in this case shows you Genesis 22:1-3. If you prefer, with a single click, you can pull up the full chapter, Genesis 22:1-24 – or you have the option of looking at a page which shows you the verse in all the other English translations. You can also share the verse using twitter, facebook or email as well as print it.
You can limit your search to the Old Testament books alone, the New Testament books alone or you can choose to search in a single book of the Bible. Once you have found the verse you are looking for, you can then take advantage of the advanced Bible study tools including Study Bible Notes (The Reformation Study Bible notes are included for free – this is the Study Bible I use), Bible Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries, Encyclopedias of the Bible, and Maps. Some of these tools are free and others are available only if you subscribe to Bible Gateway Plus which costs only $3.99 a month. Bible Gateway Plus also allows you to write and store notes as you read the Bible, to sync your study across multiple devices (your laptop, your tablet, your smart phone), to use customizable Bible reading plans (standard daily reading plans are available for free) and to listen to the audio Bible of most translations (also free).
This website/app also has a host of other links including one to the Bible Gateway Store (it is owned by the Zondervan Corporation, remember?) which takes you to a version of the www.christianbook.com website. This is a site where you can find almost any Christian book or resource – and usually at a pretty reasonable price.
All in all this is a rather powerful website for those interested in reading and studying the Bible – I use it all the time. There are some advantages to the “Plus” membership, but it is not necessary to use the site’s many Bible study tools. You can either go to the site on your PC or laptop at www.biblegateway.com or download the Bible Gateway app for your tablet or smart phone. I think you will be glad you did.