Two years ago someone asked me if I knew of any good reference works on the Internet for students (or staff) to use for their studies. At the time, I could not come up with anything. It did get me thinking, however – and searching. I now have collected approximately 200 relevant links and put them together in an eBook: Your Digital Toolbox: Internet Resources for Studying and Teaching the Bible.
There is an amazing array of free tools and materials available. I have been surprised by the quality and the possibilities of some of these sites. If we want to go deeper in our study of God’s word we do not necessarily need to get an expensive Bible program. There is a lot we can do with these free tools, even though they normally do not include recent and up-to-date reference works; this still is the big advantage of Bible software you pay for.
In the remainder of this article I would like to point to five of the websites that I found particularly impressive. All of them are Bible study sites with numerous options, but each with its own strengths and unique features. I won’t attempt to describe these, but I will give you the link to a YouTube video for each that gives you a taste of what the website can do. In fact, two of these sites (Blue Letter Bible and STEP) have their own YouTube channel with additional tutorials.
In alphabetical order, these are the five websites and the YouTube videos that give you an impression of what they have to offer:
Biblearc (http://www.biblearc.com) is the most specialized of these five; it is meant for detailed textual analysis working in the original language, but as the video shows, you can also do simple things with it. It is published by Bethlehem College and Seminary.
Bible Hub (http://www.biblehub.com) is produced by the Online Parallel Bible Project, a private
Blue Letter Bible
Blue Letter Bible (http://www.blueletterbible.org) is put out by a Christian non-profit, Sowing
YouTube 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWuXcaDUCGI
YouTube 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9w_DoPSOhI
Lumina (https://lumina.bible.org) is published by Bible.org (yes, a website published by a website…).
STEP (https://www.stepbible.org), Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP), is being developed by Tyndale House in Cambridge.
That makes five great options to choose from. And more good news: you can watch all six videos in only half an hour! Personally, I particularly like STEP. For one, it includes a reverse interlinear (hover over or click the English word and you get to see the Greek or Hebrew original behind it with its meanings). In addition, there are literally several hundred Bible versions in many languages you can use with this site – ideal if you are not in the English-speaking world.
The eBook with additional sites and links is available as a free download starting 4 June 2015. If you are interested, it is available through my website, Create a Learning Site (www.wilrens.org) when you sign up for free monthly updates (no risk: if you do not like the updates, it is easy to unsubscribe).
By Wilrens Hornstra
Wilrens Hornstra for many years involved with the SBS in Germany, presently on staff at YWAM’s Leadership Retreat Centre near Malaga, Spain, and coordinator for the SBS hub in Europe.