Bible Gateway puts a lot of tools at your disposal. So where do you begin? These tutorials will walk you step-by-step through the most popular tasks at Bible Gateway.
Bible Gateway is a website that lets you read, search, and interact with the Bible. We offer a lot of other tools and resources to support you in those activities—things like Bible reading plans, devotionals, Bible reference works, a mobile app, and more—but at its core, Bible Gateway is about engaging with the text of the Bible. Specifically, we make the Bible available in a variety of different languages, versions, and translations for you to read and study.
If you're new to the Bible, you might find these questions-and-answers useful:
For a quick introduction to reading the Bible on Bible Gateway, watch this short tutorial video. After the video, we'll explain some of the features in more detail:
All of Bible Gateway's basic functions can be accessed through the Search Bar, which you can find near the top of most pages on Bible Gateway. It looks like this (click to enlarge):
The Search Bar lets you interact with the Bible in the following ways:
- Browse to any part of the Bible
- Look up a specific Bible passage, such as John 3:16
- Search for a name, location, or any other keyword in the Bible
- Select or change the version of the Bible you want to read
More advanced search features are available to you (and are detailed below), but mastering the basic Search bar is a good way to get started. The following sections walk through each of the basic search functions in detail.
If you want to browse to and read through any part of the Bible, you can do so by clicking Bible Book List directly below the search form. Doing so opens up a complete list of the books of the Bible, ordered as they appear in print Bibles:
This list shows each Bible book in the Bible version that is selected in the Search Bar's drop-down menu. Note that while the list of Bible books is the same across most Bible versions, it does differ across some translations. For example, some Bibles on Bible Gateway contain the deuterocanonical books while others do not. Also, some of the Bible translations on Bible Gateway may only contain the New Testament or another subset of the complete Bible text.
Clicking on any Bible book in the list opens a second panel below the book list, displaying each chapter in the selected book. Clicking on any chapter number opens up that chapter for you to read:
This is a good way to peruse Bible books and chapters if you aren't sure precisely which passage you want to read, or if you want to quickly skip to a specific, complete chapter.
If you know exactly which Bible passage you want to read, you can type it into the search form and click Search to read it. The search form is quite versatile; you can enter Bible references in different ways. For example, the search form recognizes the following search terms:
- Genesis 1:1 (the standard way that Bible verses are described)
- Genesis 1:1-10 (a Bible passage encompassing several verses)
- Genesis 1-3 (multiple contiguous Bible chapters)
- Genesis 1-2,5 (more than one Bible chapter, not necessarily contiguous)
- Genesis 1:1, John 3:16 (Bible passages from different books)
- Gn 1:1 (Bible Gateway recognizes most common Bible book abbreviations)
Bible Gateway is fairly forgiving of misspelled Bible book names. Nevertheless, if the search results aren't what you expected, double-check to make sure you spelled your search terms correctly. If Bible Gateway can't find what you want, or can't interpret what you typed into the search form, you'll be taken to a Bible book list so that you can browse to your destination instead.
This search method is ideal if you already know exactly what you want to read.
You can search for any word across all of the Bible from the Search Bar. Simply enter your desired search word or phrase into the search form and press Search. For example, try searching for the following terms:
- Jesus (a name)
- grace (a concept)
- What is truth (a multi-word phrase)
Bible Gateway lists all Bible passages that contain the word of phrase you typed, starting with the Bible passage that is (as best as Bible Gateway can determine) most relevant to your search.
If this straightforward search is not adequate for your needs, you can customize your search in many more advanced ways using the advanced search feature, detailed below.
The drop-down menu to the immediate left of the Search button indicates the Bible version or translation that Bible Gateway will use when performing your search and displaying the results:
By default, Bible Gateway searches the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. However, you can change this by clicking the drop-down menu and selecting a different Bible version from the resulting list. Bible Gateway will remember your selection and, going forward, will use your last selected Bible version when performing searches, until you close your browser session. You can set your own default Bible version by visiting the Preferences page and choosing a default Bible version there.
Now that you've gotten familiar with the basic search features, you've probably noticed some of their limitations. What if you want to do a search for something a bit more complex? Or what if you want to see your search results in several different versions at the same time, or restrict your search to a specific section of the Bible? The answer is to do an advanced search.
There are two types of advanced search at Bible Gateway: the Passage Lookup and the Keyword Search. Click on the links below to learn more about these advanced features:
Once you've looked up the Bible passage you want to read (using any of the above techniques), you'll spend most of your time on Bible Gateway reading Scripture. Once you're on a Bible passage page, you have a number of tools to customize your reading experience. Below are links to tutorials to walk you through the use of these features:
- How to change Bible text display options (verse numbers, headings, footnotes, etc.)
- How to read more than one Bible passage side-by-side
- How to take notes on a Bible passage as you read?
- How to highlight a Bible passage
- How to mark a Bible verse as a favorite
- How to access online Bible commentaries alongside your Scripture reading
All of Bible Gateway's basic features are available for free. However, some advanced features—such as the note-taking and highlighting features mentioned above—require that you be logged into a free Bible Gateway account in order to use them. Creating a Bible Gateway account is free, easy, and gives you access to the following advanced Bible Gateway features:
- Take and store notes as you read Scripture
- Highlight and bookmark Bible passages
- Sync your notes across multiple devices
- Subscribe to any of our free, customizable Bible reading plans and devotionals
- Remove banner ads and gain access to a greatly expanded online study library with a membership in Bible Gateway Plus
It's easy to create a free Bible Gateway account—just follow the steps outlined here.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
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