Ever wanted to compare how two or more different Bibles translate the same passage? Bible Gateway makes it easy to compare Bibles! Watch this video introducing this useful feature—and then follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to do this yourself for free on Bible Gateway.
It’s easy to compare more than one Bible side-by-side (sometimes called a parallel Bible view) on Bible Gateway. Here’s how to do it.
How to Compare a Bible Verse in More Than One Bible Translation
Start by looking up the Bible passage you want to view—for example, 1 Corinthians 13. It doesn’t matter what Bible version you use; choose one of the Bibles you want to compare.
Once the passage appears, look for the button to the top right of the Bible text. You can find it here:
Click or tap that button to add a second Bible panel right alongside the original, showing the same Bible passage you looked up (in our example, 1 Corinthians 13).
Use the drop-down menu directly above the Bible text to choose a second Bible translation to compare to the first:
You’re now looking at the same Bible passage in two different translations side-by-side! (Here’s what it looks like to view two different Bibles side-by-side.) But that’s not all you can do. You can continue adding new Bibles to compare by clicking the button again:
You can view a total of up to five Bible translations in parallel in this manner. Here’s what it looks like to view five different Bibles side-by-side. To remove a Bible translation, click or tap the button in the top right of the Bible panel.
That’s how easy it is to compare different translations of the same Bible passage! Go give it a try—look up any Bible passage (try our example, 1 Corinthians 13) and add a few parallel Bible translations. How do the Bibles you chose differ in the way they translate the same passage?
Once you’ve gotten the hang of this feature, there’s one more useful tip to learn. We’ll talk about it below. But first, let’s step back for a moment and ask…
Why View a Bible Passage in More Than One Bible?
That’s a neat trick, but you may be wondering: what’s the point of comparing different translations of a Bible passage? If you already have a favorite Bible translation, shouldn’t you just stick with it? Is there any value in seeing how other Bibles render the same passage? There are several cases in which comparing Bibles side-by-side is very useful.
1. It’s an excellent way to look for nuances in the Bible text that can’t be conveyed in a single translation. There’s not always one correct way to translate the original languages of the Bible; sometimes the full meaning of a passage becomes clearer when you see how different translators chose to translate the same Greek or Hebrew text. Sometimes one translation brings out a shade of meaning that isn’t evident in another translation. Think of it as examining a Bible passage from several different angles, to make sure that you understand the full meaning and message.
2. Comparing Bible translations is a good way to try different Bible versions and identify the Bible that speaks most clearly to you. There are a lot of Bibles out there to choose from (there are over 50 English Bibles on Bible Gateway, for example!) and it can be tough to find the one that’s just right for you. If you’re uncertain which Bible is best for you, use this feature to compare several different Bibles at once. You’ll quickly identify Bibles whose language and translation styles are a good fit for you.
3. It’s a great way to learn to read the Bible in a different language. You aren’t limited to just English Bibles—you can read any Bible on Bible Gateway side-by-side with any other. If you’re learning a second language, this is a great way to practice your new language skills. You can even use this as an aid in learning the original Bible languages—try looking up a verse in both an English translation and in an ancient Hebrew or Greek translation! And in addition to helping you read the Bible in a new language, this makes it easy for you to share Bible verses with friends who don’t share your language.
Use a Shortcut to the Side-by-Side Bible View
Above, we described the most common way people use Bible Gateway’s side-by-side Bible feature. But there’s one extra trick worth learning: a shortcut that will save you some time if you use this feature frequently.
If you know in advance what Bibles you want to compare, you can save some time (and clicks) by performing your search on the Passage Lookup page. On the Passage Lookup page, look for the Select version(s) box. Click Lookup passage(s) in multiple versions directly beneath the drop-down:
This will expand the version selector to five drop-downs. Select the Bibles you want to compare:
Clicking Lookup passage will then show your specified Bible passage in all of the Bible versions you selected, side-by-side.
(This trick also works on the Keyword Search page, in case you want to search multiple Bibles for a particular keyword rather than for a specific Bible passage.)
That’s it—you now know everything there is to know about Bible Gateway’s side-by-side Bible feature. it’s one of the easiest ways to deepen your Bible reading and study. Go give it a try and see what you learn!
Now that you’ve learned how to compare different Bible translations, you’ll find it useful to learn about some of Bible Gateway’s other useful Bible study features: highlighting, favorites, and note-taking. These features are all available when you create a free Bible Gateway personal account. Create your free account today and get more out of Bible Gateway!