Amazing Bible resources

Mar 15, 2024 | READ

As a young Christian I remember dreaming of the Bible one day being freely available on a computer. I could never have imagined in those days that are at-once-so-close-and-yet-so-far-off that we would one day be blessed to have such extensive Bible resources available at the touch of a button. Praise God for all who had the vision and the wherewithal to make these great resources a reality: may we be hungry, thirsty and determined enough to make good use of them!

There are many excellent commentaries and bibles with worthwhile interpretative notes available in the English tongue; far more so indeed than in any other language. You will have your own favourites, but I thought it you might appreciate me sharing just a few of the things I have found helpful here. Anything that helps us to see old truths in a new light, and to take them deeply to heart can only be a good thing. In this button we will be looking at:

Seeing passages in multiple versions at the same time on Bible Gateway
Making good use of Bible Hub
Vine’s Expository Dictionary
The Bible project and a wealth of other resources

But first, what do you think this says?

Uumaccho ka ki magahiis Yeed layadeeh a jire one, Yeed Waakhe leejire, Yeed la a Waakh ekkatiissa. Ulla uumaccho ka Waakhe leejire. Waakh usu ka, walah tuumman a soouume. Walah lasoouume laantiis lasoouume mala. Usu jiroti rummaat lakeela. Jirota la weeli enenyete banay ikeenta. Banayhaas la mug’di goya kabolkhaane, i’daasenyi mug’di jirtuu ma khaato. Etoo Waakh leesoofarme a yimiyye, magahiis la a Yoohana.

It is taken from a translation of the first five verses of John’s gospel into Rendille, the language of a Cushitic tribe in North-East Kenya. Thank God for the work of Bible translators! They bring food to the hungry and water to the thirsty and help us all to feed on the Bread of Life. There is lots on the web about the powerful transformational effects the Word of God has been having on the Rendille community. See this video and this brief testimony from a visitor to the tribe.

I also loved this short You Tube by Ann Voskamp about the vital work the Wycliffe Bible translators play. You may want to remind yourself too, of this post that offers an insight into the world of Bible translation, and helps us to pray for the work of those seeking to translate the Scriptures into the ‘heart language’ of different ethnic groups around the world.

For me, as a linguist, it is particular joy to nurture my spirit by following the trail of word studies that takes me right down to the roots and usages of the original words. Most of you will very familiar with Bible Gateway, which allows the user free access to over 230 versions of the Bible, in more than seventy languages. Here’s a tip that may help you to get more out of it: I keep two versions of it permanently open on my web bookmark bar: one being Gateway’s regular home page (which permits me to easily look up any verse in the Bible, along with the possibility of looking that verse or passage up in dozens of versions). I keep another open however, set to Parallel Versions, so that I can instantly compare any verse or passage in up to five versions at the same time.

If you are not familiar with this great resource, click here to see how to open Parallel Bible View.

I vary the cross section that I use here, usually including one ‘dynamic equivalent’ translation (such as the New Living Bible or the Good News) in additional to such regulars as the NIV or the ESV. I sometimes add one that is still more of a paraphrase again into that mix, or, alternatively, one in a foreign language. Anything that slows my reading down can help to see different aspects of passages, I thought I was entirely familiar with. For the same reason, I keep a wide variety of Bibles in the ‘rest room’ (fondly referred to by one visitor as the ‘languages room’), including copies in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Norwegian and Latin. Anything that casts a different light on familiar passages that helps to reinvigorate and freshen our devotion is worth pursuing.

Bible Hub is a perfect hub

When you search for a particular verse, word or phrase (take care not to include punctuation in your search terms), Bible Hub first displays multiple translations of it, followed by a selection of commentaries on the verse or verses in question. I usually find that Ellicott and the Pulpit Commentary have something worthwhile to say, and I also occasionally click through to read related sermons.

Below all these resources (and also linked from the top of the page), you will see the verse displayed in its original language, along with the various shades of meaning of each word. Links are provided to Strongs Lexicon to expound shades of meaning and specific usages of individual Greek and Hebrew words. Its cross references are helpful, and I commend this great resource to you.

Check out an easily accessible commentary on any verse

Of the various very good verse by verse commentaries that are freely available online, https://www.bibleref.com/ makes a good starting point.

Sparkling Gems from the Greek

I have often recommended Rick Renner’s weighty two-volume daily devotionals that not only bring out the meaning of the Greek words used in the Scriptures but pack a punch in applying them. The good news is that these are also freely available online.

Exploring the Fruit of the Vine with Vine’s Expository Dictionary

Vine’s Expository Dictionary continues to be a great resource, as it cross-references key English words from the KJV text of the New Testament back to the original Greek, before unpacking them in more detail. This is another resource that has stood the test of time, and which has now been enlarged with the addition of an equivalent dictionary for Old Testament words.

On your mobile phone, you may appreciate . . .

Bible Gateway and Bible Hub both work on mobile phones. Sally also likes the Youversion Bible app which has well over half a billion users around the world, and which comes with a staggering number of Bible versions and other resources. She has recently discovered the Literal Word App – a blue cross on an open Bible in a blue circle. This too has different versions of the Bible, and enables you to select any word and get the Greek, together with a list of all the verses where the word is mentioned.

For following up specific themes and topics

Colin Day spent thirty years analysing biblical themes and topics, and has presented his findings in an easily accessible way in his book Colin Day and Roget’s Thesaurus of the Bible. It is preferable to have a hard copy of this book, but you should be able to download it from here, too.

The Bible Project

This crowd-funded non-profit initiative offers an amazing array of free resources to help users engage with the Bible in a transformative way. There are detailed videos, podcasts, brilliant study notes, articles and classes, all with the aim of demonstrating the way in which the whole Bible is a ‘unified story that leads to Jesus.’

Bless the Lord for those who have laboured long and hard through the centuries to make the word of God available to us in our own tongue. The names of men such as Wycliffe and Tyndale are amongst the multitude who have devoted themselves to the studying the Word of God. Their names live on in Heaven, together with these more modern interpreters and commentators. May we take our place with them not, for most of us as Bible translators, but as those who love His word, and love Him the more as a result of taking His word into our hearts.

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash

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