Using the Tools You've Been Given and Developing Your Own System
There are literally 31,101 verses in the Holy Bible. With such a quantity, it seems impossible to be able to remember all of them. Yet, there have been some rather great people throughout history who have been able to memorize it in its entirety. Although, they were under extreme circumstances and most incidences come with divine assistance.
For instance, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German minister who lived until 1945 when he was executed along with Jews. It is reported by survivors of the Nazi execution camps that Dietrich read the Holy Bible, while he indeed had no Bible. It is said that while he was locked in solitude, he could see it in front of him and he used it to minister to the Jews even up to his death. By the way, it was him who said, “When Christ bids you come, He bids you come and die.”
Whether you believe Dietrich to be blessed with divine intervention or you have another explanation, it is important to understand the meaning. The passages of the Holy Bible are very valuable to us. They provide us with guidance for our confusions and healing for our inflictions. But, how do you find one passage in the haystack of passages measuring 31,101 verses high?
There are several tools to assist you, and then there are systems that you can create for yourself. If you have a general understanding of the Holy Bible, you will be able to find any passage you need.
- The internet has several sites where you can run a search for Bible passages. Simply run a search in any search engine and at least three Bible websites will appear. These websites have all the passages indexed according to their own system. The best Bible websites have several systems.
- You can look for a keyword if you know a word in the passage. Remember that different Bible translations use different words in their passages. There’s no need to get wrapped up in understanding all of them. The best Bible websites have several translations and definitely the most popular ones are indexed. Therefore, if you read the NIV translation you will most likely know the keyword to use in the NIV search engine because you’ll be familiar with the wording in your Bible’s translation. Likewise, if you read the King James Version, you’ll also be able to pick the best keyword in the KJV search engine to find the passage you need.
- Other ways Bible websites index passages is by the passage itself or by the topic. To answer the question though, we would not need to discuss searching for the passage using the book and verse. But I mentioned that capability to be thorough. Anyway, searching by topic is another way to find a passage. You may not know the keyword, but you know the context of the passage. Therefore, type in what the passage is about and you should be able to find the passage you seek. These search engines are getting quite complex with their new algorithms, so you should be able to find any passage rather quickly.
- There are books called The Exhaustive Concordance. At the back of most Holy Bibles, you will find a concordance. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s helpful. You can find most passages that you need. But if you have a craving for a passage you read one day and just can’t seem to get it off your mind – you know it’s there but you just can’t find it – go to an exhaustive concordance.
Exhaustive concordances come in most common translations of the Bible. They list just about every word that is used in the Bible. Even some articles are listed, if they are significant words that add meaning to the sentence. But most words in a concordance are only those words that are meaningful. For instance, if you would like to find a passage that has the word “Life” in it, you will find nearly 600 passages that contain the word “Life” in them. So it’s like performing a keyword search on the Internet. Therefore, the concordance comes in handy when you don’t have access to the internet.
- Thinking about the context of the passage can help you find a general location. When all you need is a starting point and you can go the rest of the way on your own, think about the topic. Why was that passage included in the Bible? What purpose did it have? You can easily determine if it is an Old Testament passage or a New Testament passage. You can further determine whether it is an historical event, a directive from God or one of His chosen prophets, a prophecy or worship. Determining its content can help you pinpoint where it would be in the Bible.
- The first five books are commonly referred to as the Pentateuch or Torah. They are often also referred to as the Law of Moses, namely because of what they stand for and also due to the commonly agreed-upon author. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy give us our origin and our directives. They are a report of our history and a very detailed description of perfect Law – right down to how to behave if another person’s cow dies on your land, the laws are very detailed and the history is very informative.
- Beyond those first five is a historical account of how the lineage of Jesus Christ is established. From Joshua to Job, we have a history that comes with lessons for life and God’s interaction with His people. Psalms are a documented history of worship that serves both purposes – to teach us how to pray and give us insight into certain historical events. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon are suggestions on how to live a pure and fulfilling life. The Old Testament is wrapped up with prophecy from Isaiah to Malachi.
- The New Testament begins with the four Gospels, which are Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. These books give different versions from four different perspectives of the life of Jesus Christ. The Acts spell out the explosion of the Christian church and the travels of the apostles including Paul. Then the letters from Romans to Jude are for further clarification of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Finally, Revelations is prophecy of the end times.
The Holy Bible is a bit more complex than that. That is a very brief introduction to the purpose of each book. But by reading the Holy Bible every day and getting to know it on a more personal level, you will begin to understand the purpose for each book. When you can do that, you can guess rather accurately where a passage might be in the Bible.
- A similar trick is to determine who might have said the passage you seek or how it might have been said. Moses had a certain voice, just like Paul and Peter each had their own voices. Every book in the Bible is marked by a certain style, a certain way in which things are said. Get to know the Bible that well and you can certainly identify at least the author or voice. If you know their voice, their style of speaking, you can determine who might have written the passage you seek and start searching through those particular books. It helps when you can narrow down your search to just a few books or even only one book.
Finding passages can be difficult at times, especially when you or someone else is in need. If you haven’t picked up on the underlying principle involved in finding passages, it is to keep reading the Bible and become more acquainted with it every day. If you want to treat the Holy Bible like a book of quotes that helps you in your times of need, that is certainly up to you. But becoming more intimate with the Word of God will help you find anything you need, whenever you need it.