This is a step by step tutorial into using all the features of the Bible Explorium search capability. I should probably start by warning you that this is an extremely sophisticated system design to help people new to Bible searching but also to stretch people with PhDs in Theology. In other words, if you are new to Bible Searching you are not going to learn all of this in a day; however, if you follow this tutorial then you will be finding out new and exciting things within the first day. Actually, you should be able to find out new things inside the first five minutes - so let's get started!
Note - all of the search examples here are hyperlinked - if you click on them it will take you to the search in question.
The Bible tells us to search the scriptures; if you are familiar with your Bible you may even remember that there is a verse that tells us to search the scriptures daily. But do you know where it is? If you have a concordance, either separately or in the back of your Bible, then probably your first instinct is to pick a fairly rare word, perhaps 'scriptures' and go look it up in the concordance. Well - the Bible Explorium can act like your concordance for you. At the prompt labelled 'Search the Bible by Expression' enter
and then press the button next to the prompt labeled 'Search'. You should find a window appears listing the 21 verses in which the words 'scriptures' appears. You can then click on each one of those verse references; look at the verse and see if it is the one you want.
Looking at 21 verses to find the one you want is not such a bad thing; but if there were a hundred verses then the chances are you would give up. Fortunately the search engine can make your life easier. Unlike a concordance you can search upon multiple words at the same time. Thus rather than finding all of the verses containing 'scriptures' you could look for all of the verses containing 'search' and 'scriptures'. You do this by typing them both into the search expression box separated by a space. Thus:
this should return you one single verse (John 5:39). Incidentally, you may have noticed that along with your search results you get the 'Search the Bible' prompt back with your last search already filled in. This is to make it easy for you to refine (or 'fiddle with') your search easily.
Now, back to the verse we found, if you look at it did you notice something? I stated at the start of this section that we are told to search the scriptures daily. I have heard this from the pulpit many times. But is that actually what the verse says? So have the preachers simply been making up the 'daily' part? Well, yes and no. Part of the problem is that the Bible Explorium search tool will return exactly what you ask for (this is the Word of God so I don't intend to 'fudge' things). Try this search (note - the OR has to be in UPPER CASE):
You should now get back two verses; John 5:39 but also Acts 17:11. In the latter verse we find the Bereans are commended for searching the scriptures daily and in John 5:39 we are commanded to search the scriptures. Stating that we are told to search the scriptures daily is really an extension upon scripture (but one that is hard to argue with!)
But what is happening in the search I told you to type in? The search engine has the ability for you to specify alternatives; these are separated using OR. You can have multiple ORs in a row; so if you wanted to make sure there were no other 'searching' verses lurking out there you might type:
although you would get back the same two verses. But this leaves the question why have I put the () in there? Consider this query:
does it mean "find all the verses containing the words Lord & Jesus or all of the verses containing Christ & Jesus "or does it mean "find all the verses containing Lord and 'Jesus or Christ' and Jesus"? This is one of those horrible arcane questions which can get computer guys excited for hours. In this search engine the rule is that the OR splits the expression - so the query above is equivalent to:
therefore if you want to put a list of things together into an OR put them inside (). One quick 'gotcha' to mention again - the OR has to be in upper case (this is so that if you wish to search for the word 'or' you can by putting it in lower case)
Well - congratulations - if you have gotten this far you already have more search power available to you than any other scripture search engine (I know of) on the web. Here are a few exercises to stretch your muscles : if you get stuck you can just click on the question and it will bring up the answer for you:
It is important to understand that when you type words next to each other in the search box the system will find all verses that contain both words; it does not guarantee that those words are next to each other in the verse. Thus, for example, if you did exercise 3 of the previous section you would have found 21 verses in which the words 'holy' and 'spirit' both appear; but only 7 of those verses have the words next to each other! If you wish your search to return a sequence of words in a phrase then you need to include the phrase in speech marks. Thus to find the seven verses referred to above you would use:
It is not unusual for a Bible search program to allow phrase searching; what is much less common is that with the Explorium you can have a search expression which contains phrases and other things too. Suppose for example you wanted to find all of those verses that contained the "Holy Ghost" but also a reference to Jesus - you could do this:
Now I've thrown quite a few things into that; but don't panic break it down one by one. First "Holy Ghost" is just a phrase meaning return all verses containing that phrase. Then you remember from the previous section that if I put something NEXT to something else then it simply means 'and also'. In this case the 'and also' is another expression containing an OR. The expression gives a list of all the verses containing Jesus OR Christ. The result is 13 verses. Supposing though that you only wanted those verses containing "holy ghost" AND 'Jesus' AND 'Christ' - what would you do? Simple -
You can even go further and have more than one phrase in an expression. For example; have you ever wondered how many of the 532 occurrences of "Lord God" in the Bible happen to coincide with the 187 occurrences of "Jesus Christ"? Well, it is easy enough to find out:
Strange huh? This is the kind of question you can begin to ask yourself, and get the answer to, once you have to tools available to you. To help open up your mind and to give you a little more practice here are some more exercises :
Sometimes what a verse doesn't contain can be just as interesting as what it does. For this reason the Bible Explorium search engine has the ! operator (pronounced 'not'). Thus, to continue the theme of the last chapter, to find all of the verses containing the word 'Jesus' but not the word 'Christ' one can enter:
conversely to find all of the verses containing Christ but not Jesus one would type:
The negation operator (!) applies to whatever follows it immediately. Thus if you type in
you will get back the 87 verses which contain Jesus do NOT contain Christ but DO contain God. If you wanted all of those verses which contain Jesus but do not contain Christ AND do not contain God you would need:
If you wanted those verses which contained Jesus but did not contain both God and Christ but which may contain either then you would need:
If the above has gotten you confused don't worry; many mathematics teachers have spent years trying to teach boolean logic without succeeding. You can answer many, many interesting questions without getting quite as involved as the above; but for those of you that think Venn Diagrams are fun - this search can answer all the questions you can think of.
For the rest of us there are still one or two more simple things we can do with phrases. Negating a phrase in a search can often remove some 'common cases' which would otherwise hide some very interesting verses. For example there are 256 verses which contain the words Jesus and Christ; but wouldn't it be interesting to look only at those which do not use the words in the phrase "Jesus Christ" or "Christ Jesus" ? Here is how:
hmmm ... I wonder why the Bible switches from Jesus to Christ in Rom 8:11 ... interesting verses.
The other is to remove verses containing a bigger phrase whilst still leaving a component of that phrase. For example - suppose you want to find all of the verses containing the expression "Jesus Christ" but not those in which it is part of the expression "Lord Jesus Christ". Easy to do -
Well - this section got a little sticky - the next one is easier - but first one or two exercises just to help the ideas sink in:
For many Bible believers the closest they will ever be able to get to understanding the Bible in the original language is the use of Strong's numbers. If you are not familiar with these and don't want to be then you may wish to skip this section. If you would like to know more about them then I have a couple of articles about the subject; a long one and a short one. There is also a useful wikipedia article on the subject.
One of the major aims of the Bible Explorium is to get people to dig deeper into Strong's numbers. If you have a Strong's number for a word then entering it into the box entitled Hebrew/Greek word to study (by Strong's number): will bring up everything you ever wanted to know about that Strong's number (and quite a bit else besides!). That section of the Explorium is really designed for people working in Strong's numbers. However, it is also possible to use Strong's numbers as part of your Bible search; this section will show how.
The basic concept for using Strong's numbers in a search is very simple - put them in angular braces. Thus to search for all of the Bible verses containing G25 (agape) you enter
Note: the G must be a capital and spaces are not allowed. Much as with words in the English text you may enter more than one original word on the line and the system will require both of them to be present. Thus
will search for verses containing both <G25> and <G4139>. You can also use OR and ! just as you would for English words. Note that you cannot use Strong's numbers inside phrases.
For those 'dabbling' in Strong's numbers, or for those interested in the way the Bible had been translated, a very powerful feature is the ability to mix English and Strong's numbers in the same search. For example, the query below shows all of those verses that contain H6299 and the English word 'redeem'.
With the above two examples though it is important to realize that <H6299> redeem does not search for all of the instances of H6299 translated redeem; simply all of those verses containing both words. If you want to find all of those instances where redeem is used as a rendering of H6299 you need to use a slightly different syntax:
Note the two leading angle braces; that is not a typo. The << syntax means that the word (or phrase) immediately to the left of the << has to be a rendering of the Strong's number to the right. You should find that the new query returns eighteen verses rather than the 20 of the previous query. Thus there are two verses in which H6299 appears along with redeem but where redeem is not a rendering of H6299. You could find them by inspecting the two lists by eye; but of course you can also search for them using the search syntax:
Powerful huh? In fact, for the really heavy hitters among you, you don't need the parenthesis in the above expression. << is a higher priority operator than ! - but personally I think the () make things easier to read.
Sometimes you don't know the Strong's number you are after; rather you would like to discover which Strong's numbers were translated by a particular word. This can be done using the ? syntax:
Note that a much more detailed version of this search can be obtained from the word analysis section of the Explorium. For an example click here: redeem.
One final point to repeat in this section, these enquiries allow lots of detail about combinations of words in the original language to be searched out. If you really just want to know a lot about a particular Strong's number there is an easier way to do it. For example : here is the detail on H6299.
Most of the Bible Explorium is dedicated to giving precise answers to precise questions; however, there are a couple of features available for those occasions when you want to be a little more vague.
For example; suppose you want to investigate the use of the word 'Lord' alongside the words Jesus and Christ. Unfortunately before you have done the investigation you do not quite know what you mean by 'alongside'. Obviously there is the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" but what about the others: "Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ", "Jesus Christ our Lord", "Jesus Christ is Lord" etc etc. What you can do is simply look for all verses containing the three words:
but this returns some where the three words are at opposite ends of the verse! Instead what you may prefer is to find those verses where the words Lord Jesus and Christ are pretty close; where perhaps by pretty close you mean within four words of each other. Well, you can do that using this syntax:
note that WITHIN has to be in capitals (to allow you to use 'within' as a normal search term; as long as it is not all in capitals). If you ran the WITHIN example and compared it to the usual 'Lord Jesus Christ' example you would find that only 6 verses were removed. This is because by far the commonest expression in the group is "Lord Jesus Christ" which is essentially hiding the result. Fortunately you can remove it using the negation we saw a couple of chapters back. Thus
Finds the 18 verses in which Lord Jesus and Christ appear within four words of each other but not in the expression "Lord Jesus Christ".
Sometimes the 'within' may be far more effective than in the previous example. For instance if you are searching for verses involving Jesus and Love the normal search
returns 22 results whereas
returns only 4.
Perhaps the most powerful single feature of the Explorium becomes apparent when you almost know the phrase you are interested in. Returning to the Lord Jesus Christ example: in the expression "Jesus Christ ? Lord" I wonder what values might fit into the '?' spot? Type it in and find out!
the Explorium now does two different things for you. Firstly it finds all of those verses that fit the specified pattern: "Jesus Christ" any word and then "Lord". There are eleven of them. It has then looked at all of the words that fit into the slot and counted them and produced a table of results. The benefit of this automatic counting is apparent when there are lots of results: try
I suspect that checking all 222 results yourself by hand would have been difficult! Perhaps you are 'old school' and think it would be much better to read a couple of hundred verses yourself than trust a computer. If so you may wish to try:
there are 13,399 verses to scan. The Explorium can return the summarized results in less than five seconds! Incidentally this pattern also demonstrates that more than one ? can appear in a phrase although you cannot have two in a row. If multiple ? appear in a phrase then one word count table is returned for each ?. They are identified by the "after 'the'" or "after 'of'" annotation in the first column.
It should also be noted that the counting is done on the verses that match the whole search expression; not just those that happen to match the phrase. Thus if you use the same pattern as above but include Jesus in the same query you only get words counted for those verses that contain the phrase pattern and also the word Jesus. Thus:
only matches 325 verses and it is those for which the ?s in the phrase pattern are tallied.
It is possible to find multiple occurrences of a pattern in a verse using the repetition syntax. Thus:
finds verses in which that pattern occurs twice. If you look at those verses you will find that sometimes the ? is filled in with the same word in the verse; and sometimes it is a different word. If you wish to find those verses in which only different words appear in the slot you need to use the DIFFERENT syntax. Thus:
There is no easy way to find those verses where it is the same pattern; but you can do it by being sneaky!
What you are really doing here is constructing a list of all verses in which the pattern "God of ?" occurs twice. You are then removing from the list all the verses in which the pattern occurs twice with different words filling in the ?. What you are left with is all the verses where the same word fills in the ?; which is what you wanted.
If you wish to allow for multiple words between two others the repetition (*) syntax is used. Thus this expression finds all verses with Jesus followed by three words followed by Christ:
If you simply wish to enforce that the word Christ follows the word Jesus then omit the number. Thus:
Sometimes you don't want an answer which is vaguer than normal; you actually want to be more precise. For example when searching for the word 'god' you may only want those occurrences in which the word 'god' appears in lower case. That can be achieved using the CASE keyword (the CASE keyword must itself always be upper case). Thus to find 'god' you use
There are effectively three types of case you can search for: all lower, all upper and leading capital. If you wish you can search for all of these at the same time. Thus
finds the one verse in the Bible which has the word Lord in all three cases.
Of course you can use different words in each case as well. The below finds those verses containing both GOD and LORD in capitals:
In addition to specifying case it is possible to specify the number of times a word occurs in a verse using the * syntax. Thus to find those verses in which the word Holy occurs at least 3 times you would use:
If you wish to find verses in which a word occurs an exact number of times then you need to negate the higher number. That sounds confusing but this syntax should make sense by now:
It literally means 'find all verses in which the word God occurs at least 3 times; but not at least 4 times. In other words it has to occur exactly three times.
Another occasion you may with to count rather than simply take the simple result is when you have a list of terms which are OR'd together. For example if you search for
you will find verses containing any of those words; but suppose you want to find verses containing two different words. Then you can use
and those verses that contain 2 of the 3 options will be returned. It could be noted in passing that:
is the same as Jesus OR Christ OR Lord and that
is the same as
Congratulations; you have now learnt all that the Bible Explorium search tool presently has to offer. One final piece of advice: traditional search tools only allow simple searches - this tends to stop you from asking difficult questions. The Bible Explorium is designed to help you answer much much harder questions: so let your imagination loose. If you begin to find that there are questions you want to ask but the Explorium doesn't have the capability yet - then feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't guarantee I'll be able to do what you need; but I'll do what I can.
The English word analysis and Strong's Analysis tools are covered in the help file.