I love BlueLetterBible.com!
The Blue Letter Bible (BLB) is as valuable to my Bible study as my pen — and I love my pen.
(That’s “the pen” in the photo above. It’s the Zebra nuSpiral CC Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm — my favorite pen for writing very small, clean lines in the margins. That was a Bible Study Tip freebie for you.)
When I study a chapter of the Bible, I first read through it carefully in my Bible word by word, phrase by phrase and make my own personal notes with my awesome pen.
My studying will often produce questions I can’t answer, so I turn to my current favorite resource: BlueLetterBible.com. Plus I like to read what the professionals have to say anyway.
What’s so great about The Blue Letter Bible? There’s more to this website than I can feature today, but that’s ok, because one of their great features is the many website tutorials. No need to fumble around, trying to figure it out yourself.
Click the link to be taken to the video tutorials help page: BLB Help — Video Tutorials
If you prefer to read, here are their non-video help tutorials: BLB Help Tutorials
Now I’ll give you the bare basics of BLB, and how I use it every day. I’ll walk you through a short example of my using BLB to study Genesis 3.
Using BLB to study Genesis 3:
You can click the blue links below to see the features in the actual BLB website. Click on the photos to see a zoomed image of the photo.
Every Chapter in the Bible is listed in various translations or versions.
First, I studied Genesis 3 in my Bible.
Then I pulled it up on BLB. Genesis 3
You can choose from many translations/versions located in the upper right corner. For this example, I pulled up the NIV.
BLB sets off every verse by itself and supplies various tools for studying them.
For this example, let’s look at Genesis 3:1.
To do that, I clicked on the words: Gen 3:1, which took me to the tools available for this verse.
3. Interlinear Tab
When you click on a verse, BLB defaults to the Interlinear tab, which means it gives a word for word translation of the verse in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, depending on the original language in the Bible.
Hang in there. This is more exciting than it sounds.
For example, we see in the Interlinear tab that the word for LORD is Yehovah (Jehovah).
I remembered from studies I’d done before that the name Jehovah is the name God used most often when referring to His having a personal covenant relationship with man. (See my post: What’s in a Name?)
I then noticed that the word for God is Elohiym (Elohim).
I’d already learned the meaning of Elohim from my previous study of this word in BLB, but for our example, let’s look at it.
A. Strong’s Lexicon
To look at the meaning of the Hebrew word Elohim, I clicked on the Strong’s Lexicon number for the word H430.
If I had clicked on the word “God,” I would have been taken to a concordance — a list of every place in the Bible where the word “God” is used. There are also wonderful tools available there. (You’ve got to click around and have fun.)
When I clicked on H430, I could see the various meanings for the word. By looking at them all, I could sum up Elohim’s meaning as: God is the one true, God.
When reading this verse in the Bible word by word, I’d noticed something interesting concerning this word, which is what sent me to BLB.
The verse says that the serpent was more crafty than any beast … that the “LORD God” had made. But, then we see when the serpent talks with Eve, that he refers to God not as “the LORD God,” (Jehovah Elohim) but as simply “God” (Elohim).
I also noticed that when Eve quoted God to the serpent, she also used only His name Elohim, not Jehovah Elohim. I found that intriguing.
I wanted to see if Eve ever referred to God as Jehovah Elohim or only as Elohim. I needed a concordance.
After each Strong’s definition, BLB provides a concordance of the word, which means a listing of each place in the Bible where the word is used.
(You can also see a concordance by clicking on the English word in the Interlinear tab, as I mentioned above.)
The Bible explains itself, so a concordance is valuable.
Scrolling down to the concordance, I looked to see where else Elohim and Jehovah Elohim were used. What I found made me stop and think.
As God was creating the world, He was called Elohim. (Genesis 1 – 2:3). As He was creating man, He was called Jehovah Elohim (Genesis 2:4). The Bible continues to call God Jehovah Elohim until the serpent says God’s name. The serpent referred to God as Elohim.
I know from studies I’ve read that the serpent is Satan. To me, the fact that Satan doesn’t call God Jehovah or Jehovah Elohim, but rather Elohim, is Satan confessing that, yes, God is the one true God, but he doesn’t claim any relationship with God.
Satan refuses to see God as Jehovah, but he can’t deny that God is Elohim.
I then wondered if Eve called God Jehovah or Elohim.
Using the concordance, I saw that she called God Elohim, like the serpent did.
Well, then I had to see if she ever called God, LORD (Jehovah).
I went back to the interlinear tab and clicked on the word LORD. This took me to a concordance.
I could have also gotten to a concordance by clicking on the Strong’s number for Jehovah (H3068).
I scrolled down the concordance until I saw that in Genesis 4:1, Eve called God LORD (Jehovah) when He gave her a son, Cain.
This was a beautiful picture to me of her eyes being on her relationship with God when He gave her a son, who was a confirmation that God would indeed fulfill His promise to them to send the Savior. (God gave them this promise in Genesis 3:15)
This led me to wonder if the serpent did indeed intentionally refuse to call God Jehovah.
I also wondered if Eve, in the midst of her temptation and sin, had viewed God only as Elohim instead of considering her Jehovah relationship with Him.
I wondered what might have happened if she’d focused on God as Jehovah Elohim that day. It reminded me of 2 Corinthians 5:14 where Paul says that the “love of Christ controls him.”
I wondered if Eve would’ve resisted the temptation if she’d focused on God as Jehovah Elohim, the God in a love relationship with His children?
There’s no way to know what she would have done because the Bible doesn’t say (that I’ve seen), but these questions got me thinking and sent me to the commentaries to see what the professionals had to say about these verses.
With my questions on my mind, and after having used the concordance to look around in the Bible to possibly find the answers to my questions, I turned to the commentaries.
The Commentaries tab offer a wealth of information written by Biblical scholars, who I affectionally call “the professionals.”
Some of the resources in the commentaries tab are teachings about the actual chapter or they’re about subjects related to the chapter’s topic(s).
I love the commentaries.
My current favorite commentator is David Guzik. He gives an easy to understand, but in-depth, step by step explanation (commentary) on each chapter in the books of the Bible he’s commentated on.
I’m not going to go further into my example of Genesis 3:1, by telling all I learned from reading the commentaries. I think you’ve gotten a good enough picture of how valuable the BLB site is for me, at least, which was my point. I could have used any of the following resources as well in my journey to understand Genesis 3:1 better.
4. Bible Translations
The Bible Translations tab offers many different translations.
I find it helpful to read the same verse in different translations. It gives me a fuller picture of its meaning.
In this Bibles tab, you can actually drag the translations around, putting them in the order you want. You’ll see a little hand ready to grab the blue box with the translation abbreviation.
5. Cross References
The cross reference tab lists other verses in the Bible where you’ll find the same words, but not every word. I’m not sure how they choose which words to highlight. Remember, I’m not a professional.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t used this BLB feature much. I have a cross reference right in my Bible, plus I love using www.Biblehub.com for its cross-references.
There are numerous interesting dictionaries to take you deeper into various topics based on words or subjects in the verse.
There’s more here than you have time to study. I’m jealous if you do have the time. I need to take more time to delve into these more.
The miscellaneous tab is where they put all the stuff that doesn’t belong in the other tabs. It can be a lot of fun. Maps, time lines, art, etc.
There’s much more to BLB than I’ve shown you, but I hope I’ve gotten you excited to try it out for yourself.
If you only use the BLB for its Commentaries, you’re Bible Study will be deeply enhanced, but I hope you’ll take advantage of the other resources. I particularly hope you’ll look at the original meanings, letting the Holy Spirit help you discover powerful truths yourself.
Dig in and have fun studying!
Have you used the Blue Letter Bible website before? I’d love to hear what you love about it most. Please leave a comment, and pass this on to your friends so others can benefit from their resources.