So, you’ve seen the new Bible Gateway, either at BibleGateway.com (where it’s being rolled out gradually this week) or at the beta website. You’ve probably realized by now that the basic stuff—searching Scripture and reading Bible passages—works more or less like it always has.
Many Bible Gateway visitors use the site to look up Bible verses and little else. And that’s great! But Bible Gateway can do a lot more than just display Bible verses. Here are five simple things you can do at the new Bible Gateway to move beyond “just” looking up Bible verses. (Please note that you’ll need to be using the new Bible Gateway site to do most of these.)
1. Create an account.
Bible Gateway user accounts are new, and they unlock a lot of the site’s best features. Among other things, an account lets you store your personal notes (and sync them across multiple computers/devices) and maintain your own library of Bible reference works. And new features we add in the future will make full use of user accounts whenever possible. Here’s how to create an account.
2. Try Bible Gateway on a mobile device.
Do you have an internet-capable phone or tablet? Visit BibleGateway.com on it and you’ll notice that the site automatically adapts to look good and work well on any size screen. If you’ve got a supported device, the Bible Gateway App is still the best way to experience Bible Gateway on a small screen, but the new responsive website means that you can visit it on any device with internet access without settling for a sub-par reading experience.
3. Mark up the text.
If you’re the sort of person whose print Bible is filled with highlighted verses, underlined passages, and notes scrawled in the margins, you’re going to love the new Scripture annotation tools. They let you mark up the digital text the same way you can with a yellow highlighter and your physical Bible. Here’s how to get started writing notes and highlighting verses.
4. Read more than one Bible side-by-side.
Ever wanted to compare how different Bible translations render the same passage of Scripture? It’s easy! Just look up any Scripture passage (say, 1 Corinthians 13) and then click or tap the Add parallel button. It’s just above and to the right of the text and looks like this:
You can click that button a whole bunch of times (well, up to five) if you want to really go crazy with parallel Bibles. We won’t stop you. Select any translation you want from the drop-down menu in each new Scripture panel that opens.
5. Add a Bible study reference to your reading.
We don’t “just” want you to read the Bible—we want you to understand and engage with it. And that’s not always easy, given that the Bible was written thousands of years ago in vastly different cultural contexts than what we’re used to today. Fortunately, a lot of really sharp people have written helpful explanations and commentaries about every part of the Bible. And a lot of those insights are available right within your Bible Gateway reading experience.
Visit any Bible passage (let’s try John 3 this time). See the Related Resources button to the top right of the text? It looks like this:
Click that button and you’ll see a list of all available Bible commentaries that talk about the text you’re reading. It’s a great way to get detailed discussions and explanations about Bible passages you’re interested in (or that you don’t understand). Much of that study material is free; some of it can be purchased and unlocked in your account.
So, have you tried each of these? If you have, consider yourself a Bible Gateway “power user”—and keep exploring around the site for more tools and features that will help you get the most out of your Bible reading!