Bible study takes effort. It takes time. It takes the willingness to dig into difficult passages or verses or stories. And it takes the right tools. Fortunately, you (and I)have access to dozens of online Bible study tools. Bonus – most are free!
If you search for “online Bible study tools” you will get 72 million results on Google. Since you don’t have the time to figure out which ones are worth your time, I’m sharing some of my favorites. (Honestly, I haven’t checked out all 72 million either!)
I have been using online Bible study tools for quite a while – along with my hard copy favorites. Below are the ones I return to time and again, as well as a few new ones I ran across that I’ll be spending more time exploring.
Top 5 Bible Websites
These 5 Bible websites – which all have a variety of study tools – are my long-term favorites. They’ve all been available for several years. I suggest, if you are just starting out with online Bible study tools, that you try each of them for at least a week.
You may prefer the layout or colors of one site over another. Or you may like the tools that are available on this site but not that one. Poke around. Check out all they have to offer. Then settle on one as your ‘go-to’ while bookmarking the others for occasional use. (Sites are listed alphabetically – not by preference)
Like I said, each Bible site has different strengths. Below are brief desciptions of each, to help you decide which site to start with. But there really is no substitute for spending time on each site.
You might want to do a quick word study – perhaps choosing 5 of the Fruits of the Spirit – and study one topic using each website. Taking an approach like this would give you a chance to dig into more of what each site offer. It’s like taking a test drive for 3 days instead of 15 minutes!
With more than 70 languages and well over 50 English versions of the Bible available, Bible Gateway wins the award for most versions. I love their parallel Bible feature – a feature many other sites have as well. I also like that when I search for a word, it brings up all words that start with it. For example, if I search for “king,” it will also bring up “kings” – so if I’m off on the exact wording I’ll still often be able to find what I’m looking for. Another plus – with their free account you can write and save your notes. They also have a paid account which I had for about 6 months – but for me, it wasn’t worth it.
I really like the look and feel of Biblehub. It has multiple study resources including encyclopedias, concordances, dictionaries, and commentaries. In all fairness, Bible Study Tools, Bible Gateway, and the Blue Letter Bible all have those tools as well.
One of my favorite tools on Biblehub is the ‘Bible Book Summary’ from Wilmington’s Bible at a Glance. This tool (abbreviated BBB) gives a thumbnail sketch of each book. It includes basic facts about the author, people, places, and events of each book. It also includes a short comparison with other books in Scripture as well as a section of ‘Titles and Types of Jesus.’
Biblehub is not as easy to use as some other sites but I think what it offers makes it worth the effort. An example of this is using the Bible Book Summary. If you click on the link (BBB), it takes you to Genesis. You then must click on the right arrow until you get to the book you want. Which would be terrible if you wanted Revelation!
An easier way to get to the right book is to start from the homepage. First, scroll down to where all the books of the Bible are listed. When you click on the one you want, it will take you to chapter 1, verse 1 of that book. Then you click on the BBB link and jump to the Bible Book Summary.
The same approach must be taken for all their tools, the library of sermons, the commentaries, the outlines, and the topical studies. First, choose the book from the homepage, then choose the tool. Of course, there is a search tool also, which returns not just verses, but information about the topic also. You click on ‘Bible,’ ‘OT,’ ‘NT,’ or ‘Topical’ to navigate between results. It isn’t easy, but you can get great information.
Bible Study Tools
Bible Study Tools is one site I use frequently. I can toggle various tools on and off depending on what I am researching. These tools include Strong’s numbers, footnotes, cross-references, and red-letter. I can even ‘turn off’ verse numbers is I want to copy just the text of a passage.
Like the other sites in this list, Bible Study Tools has audio versions, encyclopedias, commentaries, and dictionaries. You can also sign up for a free account to save your notes and track your reading through a variety of plans. One novel feature is the ‘Bible Stories’ located under the Study link. Click a story and you get a page with the passage (s), an explanation, related passages, and links to articles, videos, and audios about the story.
Blue Letter Bible
Blue Letter Bible is the hands-down favorite for many people. I think their interface could be improved, but otherwise, the site is awesome! In addition to the standard tools, they have timelines, charts, and maps, creeds and confessions, and resources for missions (near to my heart) and cult awareness. To make up for the less-than-perfect interface, they provide a series of videos showing you how to use their site.
Along with these basic resources, Blue Letter Bible has some unique offerings. One I could spend a year on (and maybe one day will) is the ‘Put Off…Put On’ page. This page lists more than 70 traits believers are to put off and put on – with references, of course! It makes a great launching pad for some in-depth character traits study!
Just one more resource on this site I want to mention. Blue Letter Bible has an overview and outline for each book of the Bible from two wonderful scholars: J. Vernon McGee and John MacArthur. This introductions page is a great place to start when doing a book study.
The stepbible.org site has one specific feature I love! If you hover your mouse over a word in a passage, at the bottom of the page a short definition will come up. And if you click on the word, a more detailed definition comes up on the right, along with a link you can click to find every use of that word in the Bible. Love it!! So much easier than the Strong’s interface on Bible Study Tools.
The interface, like that for Blue Letter Bible, could be better. But it is so easy to to find definitions, meanings, and cross-references that it definitely deserves a look-see. On the upper-right of the page is a 3-dot menu – which will provide you with instructions and video guides. Very useful!
Other Online Bible Study Tools to Explore
This list could be a million miles long, so I’ve just picked a few sites to share. Every ministry today has its own site, so if you’re a fan of an author or ministry – check out what they offer as well. There are plenty of websites I enjoy that are not included! Just explore.
Precept Austin has a ton of resources for study. The foundation of all Precept-based learning is inductive Bible study. Inductive Bible study, as popularized by Kay Arthur has three components: observation, interpretation, and application. If you are interested in learning more about this approach, this website has many resources to teach you.
Precept Austin also has many resources to guide your study. Dozens of commentaries, all linked to the related book, are available from both the homepage and the ‘Commentaries’ link. They also have articles on several different topics, verse-by-verse explanations, and links for charts that help you understand the Bible better.
Study Light is another website dedicated to Bible study that is worth taking the time to explore. They have more than 100 commentaries available along with concordances, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Two of my favorite unique resources are the Quotation Archive (under Pastoral Resources) and the classic Bible illustrations of Gustave Doré, also found with Pastoral Resources.
The King James Bible Dictionary
The King James Bible Dictionary website is not just for those who prefer the King James Version. As its name implies, this website defines every word in the King James Bible using 4 different dictionaries, Nave’s Topical Bible, Strong’s Concordance numbers, and 2 lexicons. You will very likely end up with more information that you expected!
When you search for a word on The King James Bible Dictionary, all results are returned on one page. With additional clicks, you can jump to all uses of the word in the KJV or of the original language by using Strong’s numbers. The results also tell you how many times the searched word – and related terms – is used. It’s a very handy site!
Finally, I cannot leave out the Got Questions? website. They proudly proclaim they have answers to more than 600,000 questions about God, Jesus, the Bible, theology, and a huge variety of related questions. You can search the archives, review the most popular questions and answers, check out the newest articles, or click on ‘random’ to read the Q&A for a random topic.
When doing book studies or verse analysis, you can search for the book name (e.g. Genesis) or the topic (e.g. the fall of man). Searching by chapter or verse (e.g. Genesis 3) isn’t useful. This is really an excellent tool for when you are confused about something in your study (e.g. the unforgivable sin).
One feature on Got Questions? that I appreciate is that suggestions pop up when you are typing in the search box. So, for example, typing in ‘gra’ brings suggestions related to grace, Mardi Gras, grandparents, and grapes. The more of the term you type, the more specific the suggestions become.
I hope you find this list of online Bible study tools to be useful in learning and improving your Bible study skills. As I said, this list is far from exhaustive. It just includes some of my favorites I think you should check out. If you want to know more about how to study the Bible for yourself, you might find the Digging Deeper Bible Study Workbook to be helpful. In this digital tool, I cover 5 Bible study approaches with step-by-step directions and plenty of examples. Of course, the important thing is to be in the Word. If this workbook and these online tools help you, great. If not, don’t use that as an excuse to avoid getting into Scripture regularly!