In a conversation with friends, someone asked who Melzar was. A short discussion ensued in which everyone agreed they were “pretty sure he’s from the Bible.” Then an iPhone was produced to consult with Google to find out whether or not this was, in fact, true. The first Google results contained Bible references interspersed with links about a videogame character, a Canadian politician, and a LinkedIn profile.
That’s when I suggested we just go straight to the source and search Bible Gateway. There are times when using a dedicated resource is the best approach. If you’ve ever wanted to look up a particular character in the Bible but weren’t sure how to go about doing so, here are some tips for using Bible Gateway to look up a Bible name.
Where to Find Biblical Character Names on Bible Gateway
Bible Gateway has three venerable dictionaries of Bible names: Hitchcock’s Bible Names, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, and Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary. Smith and Easton provide an encyclopedic overview of the character, while Hitchcock offers a short English definition of the name.
How Do I Use the Bible Name Dictionaries to Find a Name?
Let’s say you want to look up ‘Melchizedek.’ There are two approaches:
- Look it up in the alphabetical list
- Access it from the Resource Drawer
Let’s look at each of these approaches in turn.
Go to the Dictionaries page. Under the heading for each dictionary is an alphabetical list:
Click on a letter to get an alphabetized list of Bible names that start with that letter. This is extremely useful if don’t know the exact spelling of a name, but know at least the first letter.
2. The Study This Sidebar
The second way to find a Bible name is through the Study This sidebar on any Bible passage page. Search for the name using the main search bar on BibleGateway.com. From the list of search results, click on a passage in which the character is mentioned. Once there, click Show Resources:
For example, to get more information on Melchizedek, type “Melchizedek” in Bible Gateway’s search bar. On the next screen, click on the first search result, Genesis 14:18. Clicking on Study This brings out the resource sidebar which lists all of the commentaries, topical indices, and dictionaries that are related to the passage being shown. Here’s the top part of the sidebar on this page:
This lists all of related additional resources for the passage, including any characters mentioned. Click on any of the headings to bring up the associated article. Scroll through the list and look for the name you’re looking for—in this case, Melchizedek. After you’re done reading the article, click the word Back at the top of the resource sidebar (just below “Study This”) to bring the list up again.
This should help you the next time you’re wondering about a biblical character. The Bible has a cast of thousands of characters, both famous and obscure. The next time you hear or see an unfamiliar Bible character mentioned, try using one of these techniques to look him or her up!