A young person's review of
BIBLE GATEWAY - A Study Resource
Bible study has changed. In the old days you'd hunker over an ornate desk, all carvings and inlays, put a taper to some dribbly candles, grab your quill and parchment and look with fear at the collection of scholarly tomes. A crow fed on scraps of meat in the background.
Or maybe it was never like that. But it is different now. Gone are the books and stationery; all you really need is a laptop. The tools you need can be found online, either in searchable websites or software for installation. One such resource is BibleGateway (www.biblegateway.com). It's a pretty simple concept: store a gazillion of bible versions in electronic format, and give you and me the ability to search them.
Select your favourite version, type in the passage you're looking for, and away you go. No need to type the whole book name; part will do. You can read one or more chapters, a single verse, a passage, or even a couple of passages separated by commas in the search field. It'll bring them all up on the screen for reading.
We don't all have the memory for verses, and sometimes all you've got is a couple of words. No dramas; ask an old person. Better yet - do a keyword search, based on the one or two words that you remember. Let's say you remember an awesome verse, but all you remember is that it says something about God's ways and thoughts. Easy: look up "thoughts ways" in keyword search. It'll pop right out (try it - it's a great passage).
If you're particularly interested in passages talking about 'mercy', just type it into a topic search and it'll give you a whole list of passages talking about that theme. It's great for doing studies or helping with talks. One thing to note: The verse it provides will be based on someone else's understanding of the bible, so it might miss important bits or give you something that'll leave you scratching your head.
BibleGateway isn't good for much else. There are a couple of name dictionaries and commentaries, but if you're looking for fancy Greek and Hebrew meanings, you won't find that here. If that's what you want, you can go to somewhere like E-sword and start downloading. BibleGateway is what it says it is.
Sometimes it'll give you links to other websites underneath all the bible verses, and since BibleGateway is run by others the material will say things that as Christadelphians we don't believe.
Its strength lies in the variety of versions, including old favourites like the King James, and some that are not readily available in electronic format, like the NIV and The Message. Particularly useful is the English Standard Version, which provides you with masses of linked references to other scriptures. If that's not enough, there are translations in heaps of other languages.
And if you want to share a few verses with a friend, it couldn't be easier. Once you've found the passage, just copy the URL from the bar in your browser, and paste it into an email. Done.
A computer may never replace the feeling of a book in the hand but if you're at a friend's house or travelling, want to check out a passage in a version you don't own, send a link to a mate or you're searching for that tricky hard-to-find verse, BibleGateway is a great resource.