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What Is an Interlinear Bible?

Interlinear Bible illustration

An interlinear Bible is a word study tool for those interested in the Bible’s original languages and how the Bible was translated into English (or any other language).

The Bible was written primarily in Hebrew and Greek, and translating it into another language is naturally not a word-for-word task. Many Greek words require the use of more than one English word to properly convey its meaning, and word order must often be changed for the English to make sense.

A typical interlinear Bible is not a translation itself. It’s a way of showing the English words from a modern translation below the original language text. Students of the Bible who know or are learning Greek or Hebrew can use an interlinear Bible to conduct word studies and uncover information about translation choices and original meanings or nuances.

A tool like this is especially useful for busy pastors whose grasp of Hebrew or Greek isn’t as polished as it used to be—or for those who struggle with learning languages in the first place.

But because an interlinear Bible maintains the original-language word order, with the English shown below it, it makes the English much less easily readable. Below is an example, so you can see what it looks like. The image is of an app offered by Olive Tree.

Image of the interlinear Bible app by Olive Tree Bible Software

Bible Gateway doesn’t offer an interlinear Bible, but we do offer a few reverse-interlinear options!

What Is a Reverse-Interlinear Bible?

Glad you asked!

A reverse-interlinear Bible (a term coined by William D. Mounce) shows the English above and the original below, while maintaining the English word order instead of the Greek or Hebrew. The reverse-interlinear exists so that you don’t have to be a Bible scholar or student at all to do personal word studies for deeper biblical understanding.

Reverse-interlinear Bibles are practical and easy to use. And at Bible Gateway, you have free access to the Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament, in which the Greek words are clickable, opening up a concordance in the sidebar.

If you’re interested in learning more about concordances, read our blog post about them here. Put simply, a concordance is an index that supplies the location and usage of words in the Bible. The pairing of these two powerful tools has the potential to radically change the way you read and appreciate Scripture.

Easily conduct Bible word studies by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it right now!

Filed under Bible, Bible Reference, Languages