Bible Gateway is an online Bible tool. For 30 years we’ve made the Bible available for free, and accessible to anyone who wants to read the Bible. It is the backbone of our faith, and we encourage even deeper Bible study to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Studying the Bible, with the right tools, deepens understanding of God’s Word, providing insight into how to live your life.
There are generally 4 key tools you need to learn more about a Bible passage. These 4 tools give you historical background, and definitions for complex words, and help you understand how to apply God’s Word to everyday situations.
The Bible itself is the first tool you need.
Bible Gateway has over 60 Bible translations in English alone for you to choose from. Some are classic, like the King James Bible, but you can also find more popular translations like the New International Version or the English Standard Version. Each of them is written in a style that is easier to understand.
You can read more about the differences in Bible translations at BibleGateway.com, but the main goal is to choose a translation that resonates with you and make sure you are reading it regularly.
If you’re not sure where to start, you may want to consider the available features or the translation style. Or, you may want to talk to your Pastor to hear their recommendations. Learn which Bible translation is right for you.
If you are new to Bible study, you may also want to start with a study Bible. We recommend the best-selling NIV Study Bible (available with Bible Gateway Plus).
Add a Bible Commentary with insight from trusted pastors and scholars
Bible Commentaries are one of the most thorough Bible study tools you will find. Usually written by pastors and trusted scholars, they are comprehensive and take you beyond the meaning of a single Bible verse.
Commentaries include historical background information about each passage, as well as additional insight. These insights pull together the culture, history, and meaning to help give context to how it can apply today.
It is especially helpful to have a Bible Commentary on complex passages to get clarity on theological concerns. With a commentary, you will be able to avoid misinterpreting passages and gain clarity.
Bible Dictionaries come in many forms
If you are just starting out with Bible Study, we recommend using general Bible dictionaries that will help define complex words that are in the Bible. From place names, Biblical concepts, and doctrine all the way to the animals.
For example, if you study the gospel of John on Bible Gateway, you’ll find several dictionaries to choose from. In John 3, you’ll find the free The Dictionary of Bible Themes covers over 100 themes alone.
Bible dictionaries help connect the dots between passages and clear up confusion about what a word means. With a Bible Gateway Plus membership, you can enhance your study with general dictionaries like:
- The Essential Bible Dictionary
- The Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times.
Additionally, you’ll find Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, based on the languages the Bible was originally written. A Hebrew Dictionary defines the Hebrew and Aramaic words from the Old Testament and Greek defines words that appear in the New Testament.
If you want to go deeper into Word studies, you’ll find excellent resources that happen to be included in Bible Gateway Plus are:
- Vines Old and New Testament Words
- Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.
- New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (abridged)
A Bible Concordance is packed with data
Bible concordances are one of the most fascinating tools you can use. They encompass years of work by scholars. If you happen to enjoy working with databases, then you’ll be entirely fascinated by this resource.
If you were to purchase the NIV Exhaustive Concordance, you would have a reference book on your desk that includes several features:
- An index of all the words that appear in the Bible (excluding words that assist in translation; ‘the’ for example), listed in alphabetical order, followed by the verses they appear in.
- Definitions of those words are based on the original Hebrew or Greek.
- Counts of how frequently these words appear in the Bible.
- Cross-references between the Old and New Testament words.
Concordances are used to study specific topics, or themes in the Bible. The good news is that you can use some of the simplest functionality on Bible Gateway to accomplish one of the main tasks of a Concordance.
You won’t find anything exactly like it, but you can use Bible Gateway’s search to create your own concordance for what you are studying. Here’s how:
- Select your translation and search for the word you are studying on Bible Gateway. Let’s search for “hope” as an example.
- The search results page will tell you how many results there are, and list all the verse references. If you searched for “hope” in the New International Version, you’ll find 180 results.
- On the right, you can see how it breaks down in the Old Testament, New Testament, and even individual books of the Bible. Here’s a breakdown of the results:
- 97 in the Old Testament.
- 83 in the New Testament.
- 34 from the book of Psalms alone!
Bring it all together!
It takes time and practice to unravel the basics of the Bible. Using all of these tools together, along with your regular Bible reading, you will be confident in your studies.
When you are looking for the best Bible app, look to Bible Gateway and upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus to get the best value in Bible study. You’ll have access to all the tools you need, and more, to do in-depth Bible study.