Research Tools

Adventist Meta Search Tool

Here is a helpful search tool that I made, to make it easier to search for documents in some of my favorite places.

Search Terms:

Research Tools

Online Bible Study Portals

  • Blue Letter Bible
    • Blue Letter Bible is a powerful online Bible study tool and mobile app. It features most common English translations and has powerful original language search, as well as access to a number of commentaries. One of the featured commentaries is David Guzik’s free “Enduring Word” commentary. Blue Letter Bible has access to some of the best original language tools and lexicons available online for free. The interface feels a bit dated, but it’s still one of the most complete tools available. Android and IOS apps are also available, and can function offline (with limited translations available for download). The apps also feature audio bibles in various translations, with and without dramatization.
  • STEP Bible
    • STEP Bible features a modern, intuitive interface for comparing translations and doing original language studies. The default translation is ESV but it features many old and new translations as well as multiple Hebrew and Greek texts, and even Greek (LXX) Old Testament Texts such as the Apostolic Bible Polyglot. The lexicons are more limited than Blue Letter Bible, but are easier to use in my opinion. It has access to some popular old commentaries, but no new commentaries. Overall, it’s a very useful tool (I recommend using a desktop interface. There is a mobile app but it’s very limited).
    • A powerful resource, similar to Blue Letter Bible, but with far more commentaries than BLB. The index of commentaries gives a very helpful overview of the different commentaries available. See below for links to specific commentaries that I reference often.
  • NET Bible
    • The New English Translation with access to the full translators notes. The desktop interface also allows you to do original language studies as well, and the copious translators’ notes are incredibly helpful and comparable to what you would find in a modern commentary.
  • Logos
    • One of the most well-known resources for Bible study. Logos libraries can be quite costly, but there are also many resources available for free as well.
  • Free Bible Commentaries
    • This isn’t really a Bible study portal, but it does have a listing of many links to more commentaries and resources. Many of the links go to commentaries that you can borrow from — not just whole-Bible commentaries but books/commentaries on individual books of the Bible.

Pictures and Bible Illustrations

Imagine if the people in Bible times had smart-phone cameras? Wouldn’t it be nice to have snapshots of the Bible Stories–photos of the patriarchs, pictures of Joseph in Egypt, or a camera roll from the time of the plagues and the Exodus from Egypt?

Check out the Virtual Bible Snapshot Project for a wide variety of Bible illustrations including AI generated artwork and photographs of Bible Lands!

Bible Commentaries and Study Tools

In order to study the Bible well, I recommend the following tools:

  • A good Bible translation, or better, a combination of helpful translations from different families. In doing deep study, it’s helpful to compare multiple translations. Blue Letter Bible and STEPBible each have tools for this. STEPBible has a more flexible interface, but BLB has more translations available.
    • Literal (formal equivalence) translations, which are best for deep study and word studies.
      • New American Standard Bible (NASB) — currently my favorite as a consistent literal, up-to-date translation but still readable.
      • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) — probably the most progressive i.e. least reliant on older/traditional translations.
      • English Standard Version (ESV) — attempts to recreate the style of the ancient languages. Also known for favoring complementarian theology (which I disagree with).
      • New King James Version (NKJV) — Older modern translation based on traditional (TR) Greek manuscripts. Favors language close to KJV. Tends to be the de-facto translation used by conservative Adventists. Not as widely available in online study tools, and when it is, it’s not keyed to the greek so it’s less useful for word studies. The footnotes in the NKJV are particularly helpful in comparing textual variants between TR and critical greek texts.
      • Lexham English Bible (LEB) — tightly connected with Logos Bible Software, it’s still a good translation and helpful to use alongside Faithlife Study Bible and related Logos resources.
    • Dynamic Equivalence Translations, better for reading and listening, and help to give the sense of idioms and other difficult constructions in the original language.
      • New Living Translation (NLT) — currently my favorite dynamic equivalence translation, because of its smooth flow and consistent commitment to its translation philosophy. ie it doesn’t change style just to make the passage sound familiar to people who know the KJV.
      • New International Version (NIV) — definitely one of the most popular, and more widely available than the NLT. However, as you read the NIV compared to other translations you can sometimes feel the tension among translators to cater to traditional wordings or understandings of scripture.
      • New English Translation (NET) — More literal than most “dynamic equivalence” translations, hence less easy to read, but the translator’s notes are incredibly helpful.
  • Tools for Context
    • Bible Timelines & Charts
    • Cross References
      • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is the best-known resource and the most thorough. It is built in to it’s own tab in the toolbox in Blue Letter Bible. It is sometimes overwhelming to wade through the sheer number of cross references, in which case a study bible with cross references or a good commentary can sometimes be more helpful in finding relevant related passages.
    • Biblical Archaeology Resources
  • Word Study Tools
    • Lexicons and Tools for Word Study
      • For most Bible students, the tools built into your Bible Study software / app or online portal will provide adequate Hebrew and Greek Lexicons. Strong’s Lexicon is most well known but very limited. Blue Letter Bible features the Brown–Driver–Briggs (BDB) Hebrew Lexicon as well as Thayers and LSJ Greek Lexicons. STEPBible contains more limited versions of these Lexicons.
    • The Septuagint (LXX) is the New Testament era Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. English translations of the LXX keyed to Greek Strong’s numbers are a great resource, such as Apostolic Bible Polyglot, available through STEPBible. This is helpful in correlating Hebrew terms to their Greek equivalent (or vise versa).
    • Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedias provide commentary and context around words, idioms, and topics used in the Bible. Common old (but free) resources are available in most Bible Study portals including Blue Letter Bible. Common resources that I refer to include:
      • Easton’s Bible Dictionary
      • Vines Expository Dictionary
  • Bible Encyclopedias
    A Bible Encyclopedia is a bit like a cross between an expanded Bible Dictionary and a commentary. Arranged alphabetically, it helps give background and contains lengthy articles on many Bible books, characters, and topics.
  • Study Bibles, Translator’s Notes, Exegetical Notes and Commentary
    I am not a scholar of Greek or Hebrew, and I must be careful in doing word studies not to second-guess the translator’s meaning too much. Exegetical notes can give a much better sense of the text from the perspective of Bible scholars.
  • Homiletical and Expository Commentaries
    Homiletical commentaries come in a variety of styles, from sermon collections of great ministers to compilations of scholarly articles and commentaries. Some are verse-by-verse commentaries but others are not.
  • Topical Bibles and Topical Study Guides
    These approach the Bible topically, rather than focusing on individual passages of the Scripture. The advantage to topical study is that it helps to give a broad Biblical picture on a given topic, involving both Old and New Testament passages. “Systematic Theology” tends to approach the Bible topically. One disadvantage to topical study is that verses and passages are often read outside of their immediate context, which can lead to the passages being misinterpreted. A concordance (or in today’s world, word search in your Bible portal) can be a good starting point for topical study. Searching for original language words (Hebrew and Greek) and using the Septuagint for cross referencing Old and New Testaments can be very enlightening. Also, the search tools at the top of this page can be very helpful for deep topical study.


Historical Christian Writings