A Quick Tutorial

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.

By far, the most popular tool at Bible Gateway is the Search. The Bible search is easy to learn and use. As you grow more comfortable with it, you can start making use of advanced search options to refine your searches further. But let's start out with the basics: looking something up in the Bible.

Looking up something in the Bible

You can search through the Bible for anything—a verse, a keyword, a name—by entering it into the Search box on the Bible Gateway homepage. For instance, to look up all instances of the word "love" in the Bible, just type the word love into the search box and press the "Search" button:


You don't have to be at Bible Gateway homepage to do a quick Search." The Search box is almost always available at the top of the page; you can access it from most pages on Bible Gateway. Just enter your search text and click the "Search" button.

The Search box understands many different types of searches. Practice using the search box by entering the following into the search box to see what happens:

  • Jesus
  • Genesis 1:1
  • grace
  • 1 John 1:1-4

You don't need to worry about proper capitalization. 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.

Digging deeper: advanced searches

Now that you've gotten familiar with the Search box, you've probably noticed some of its 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 a different language or Bible version—or in several different versions at the same time? 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.

Passage Lookup

Let's start with the Passage Lookup. Click on the "Passage Lookup" menu item on the left-hand side of the page:

Link to passage lookup

Here, you can search Bible Gateway for specific passages just like in the Search—but here, you have some extra options available. In the Enter Passage box, you can enter the Bible passage you'd like to look up. If you click the "Lookup multiple passages" link, you can enter up to four additional verses at the same time. When you press the "Lookup Passage" button, all of the verses you entered will be displayed next to each other on the results page. Try entering more than one verse into the forms to see how it works (try Matthew 1:1, Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1, and John 1:1 and compare the opening verse of each of the four gospels).

Passage lookup

The second section on the Passage Lookup prompts you to Select Version(s). This form lets you choose which version or versions of the Bible you want to search. Choose a Bible language and version from the drop-down list (if you don't choose one, it defaults to the English New International Version). You can specify more than one Bible version by clicking the "Lookup passage(s) in multiple versions" link.

Passage lookup version options

Lastly, the Options section lets you choose whether or not to hide footnotes and cross-references in your search results.

Passage lookup options

The last two items note whether or not Deuterocanonical books (the Apocrypha) are included in your search and also if you are limiting your options in your preferences. Follow the link provided to change your Deuterocanonical settings and visit the preferences page to change all other options.

Once you've made all of the choices you want, click the "Lookup Passage" button, and you'll see your search results. From there, you can further refine your search results or do a new search. You can always return here by clicking the Passage Lookup line on the navigation bar at the left side of the screen.

Keyword Search

The other type of advanced search you can perform is the Keyword Search. It functions much like the Passage Lookup (described above), but is designed to let you search for words and phrases instead of Bible verses and passages. So, if you want to find out where the phrase "For God so loved the world" appears in the Bible, the Keyword Search is the tool to use.

Get started by clicking on Keyword Search on the navigation bar at the left side of the screen:

Link to keyword search

The initial dropdown shows the available language of the Bibles you may search. By default, it is set to English. (You can change your default language in your preferences.)

The first box prompts you to Enter a word or phrase. You can enter any word or phrase into the search field. Bible Gateway will search the selected translation(s) for places in the Bible where those words or phrases appear. Capitalization isn't important, although misspelled words can cause the search to fail.

The drop-down box below the search field lets you choose how strictly Bible Gateway will search for your chosen words. You can tell Bible Gateway to find results that include any of your search terms, only results that contain all of your search terms, or only results that contain all of your search terms exactly as you have written them. (Note that word order is only important if you've chosen the last option.) The little checkbox nearby tells Bible Gateway whether or not to look for whole words, or parts of words.

For example, a search for the phrase "for God so loved the world" would look like this:

Keyword search

Note that capitalization isn't important, and that the "Match EXACT Phrase" option has been flagged. The results will show each place in the Bible where that phrase appears exactly as written in the search field (just one place, in fact—John 3:16).

The next box allows you to choose which Bible language and version you want Bible Gateway to search. Like in the Passage Lookup (above), you can search more than one Bible version at the same time by clicking on the "Search in multiple versions" link and selecting additional translations.

Keyword search language/version select

Lastly, the options box lets you set a number of different search parameters and characteristics to better refine your search. These options let you choose how and in what order the results will appear on the results page, and lets you optionally restrict your search to certain books of the Bible.

Keyword search options

The last item notes whether or not Deuterocanonical books (the Apocrypha) are included in your search. Follow the link provided to change your Deuterocanonical settings.

Once you've entered your search phrase and set all of your options, click the "Search for keyword or phrase" button, and you'll be whisked away to the search results page!

These are the basics of using Bible Gateway to search the Bible. Paying attention to the different search settings can really help improve and refine your searches, so take your time and explore the interface! If you have further questions about Bible Gateway, don't hesitate to drop us a note.