Here’s how to do an in-depth Bible verse search.
Use index or concordance
If you are new to the faith, I hope this can show you where to start in your Bible study. You may be interested in certain areas and have a lot of questions, but I hope the resources mentioned here can help you better understand the Bible and God, but especially the topics that interest you. The first place I try to search for a Bible verse in my Bible. Hope I know it well enough to know where to start, without using the index, however it doesn’t always work, so I turn to my index finger with it and start looking at the different verses that have been provided for a keyword I’m using it. If I remember a certain word in the Bible verse that I am looking for, I look at the index or concordance to find that word, then I look and I turn to the dozens of scriptures that relate to the topic or to the person. My index or concordance lists the scriptures in chronological order so that you can narrow your search by knowing the period in which you think the Bible occurred. Sometimes you can go to that chapter and that verse and then look at the referenced verses of that verse. For example, I went to John 3:16 and John 3:18, 3:36, and 6:40 all returned. I have found what I was looking for, so following this method allows you to search for those other verses to see if you can find the bible verse you are looking for.
I use my search engine for a lot of things but especially when it comes to searching for a bible verse. I was just looking for the verse that says “study to show yourself approved by God” and then hit “enter” and dozens of bible references came from several different websites and almost all of them referred to 2nd Timothy. 2:15 in search results. I was close enough to get the right verse then I was able to find the right verse that says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved person, a worker who need not be ashamed, properly handling the word of truth.” I had a fair game but I wanted everything to be fair. Internet searches can fill in the blanks with the rest of the words in a verse that you cannot remember. You can use grace + saved + works and you get Ephesians 2: 8-9 which says we are saved by grace alone and not by works. If you can only remember a word or two, that’s a start. This should be enough in most cases to get you to the bible verse you are looking for. One last thing; it is faster to use an Internet search engine than to leaf through a concordance, a Bible dictionary or my own Bible. Of course, the speed of your search depends on your internet speed and your provider.
BibleGateway is a great resource for searching for keywords in a verse. Sometimes that’s all you get when looking for a verse. If you only know one word on finding a bible verse, just type in the word or its home page and it will show you all the places in the bible where you can find them along with the total number in the entire Bible. I was looking for a verse on the ark so I typed “ark” and it showed me over 202 verses. Then I widened the search using the words “ark” + “covenant” and found that the 202 bible verses that I found with the word “ark” were now reduced to 48 bible verses. Finally, I added “David” to the search and found that there are seven Bible verses that mention David, the ark, and the covenant. It took less than 2 minutes. I found what I was looking for. BibleGateway also has a keyword search page to refine your search and the search box has a list of Bible books just below the search box so you can go directly to that book in the Bible. BlueletterBible.org is also an exceptional research resource with many other research options.
Concordances and dictionaries
Many Bibles come with a concordance or an index, but buying a Bible concordance is even better because it is like a Bible index but much more comprehensive because it comes in a book. There are often images and pictorial categories where you search for the left and right columns and find multiple verse references and many have footnotes and comments. The same goes for Bible dictionaries. They also have several biblical references. Searching a Bible dictionary and concordance can provide more than enough Bible verses to check when searching for a Bible verse. I would also suggest a new believer to use a good study bible like the John Mac Arthur study bible or the reformation study bible (both ESVs) with Dr. RC Sprouls as editor.
This is just an overview of the many tools and resources available and there are applications that allow any wireless device to easily access any of the Internet resources or download your own. There are so many places where you can download an audiobook from the Bible that it is ridiculous and most Christian Bible sites have their own apps. This means you can take your Bible with you wherever you go … and have it read as well.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is the pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the senior editor of What Christians Want To Know, whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.