Since our Pastor primarily uses the English Standard Version of the Bible from the pulpit here at Christ Church, this is easily the most used bible web site for us. We not only use it for brief passages on Sunday morning in the bulletin, we also use some of the web master tools provided to embed ESV scripture into web pages. For the average user this is the best site I’ve found to get accustomed to using the bible online. The user interface is simple, efficient and powerful. Overall, we’ve found it to be an excellent online bible for everyone from beginner to expert.
There are three main sections denoted by tabs at the top left of the window: Search, Browse and Devotions. The Search tab is actually the home page, the default landing page and the most used of the three. The Browse tab is simply a list of links to all 66 books of the bible. And the Devotions tab takes you to a list of ESV versions for various bible devotional reading plans. Explore this carefully to find out which, if any, suits your needs.
Scripture Text Search
Of course there is a powerful and FAST search box at the upper left corner of the window. Just type in the scripture text you want to look up, click “Search” and you are instantly taken there. You don’t even have to type in the complete formal text reference as long as you type in enough for the search engine to figure out what you meant to find. So you could type “ge2 20” as a shorthand and find Genesis 2:20.
You can also look up multiple scripture references at one time and the result will show them one after another on the page from top to bottom in a single column For example we could use a shorthand multiple search of “ge2 20 rev 22 3 jos 3 12 ezk4 12-14 num3 7” and get THIS RESULT!
There is also an “Advanced Search” link you can explore. I haven’t had much need to use it, since the basic search box answers about 98% of my needs. We won’t be exploring this feature right now, so if you’ve used it and have some input on it for others, please leave a comment to enlighten us all.
The One-Year Tract Bible Reading Plan based on the M’Cheyne reading system is one of the all-time standards. There are also several other one-year plans to choose from and, if you store the links as a bookmark in your browser, you’ll be able to jump directly to the reading plan’s page. Then you can immediately see your current day’s reading, because the home page for each devotional always lands on TODAY’S reading by default. But, if you missed yesterday’s reading, or want to see tomorrow’s, there is easy calendar-based navigation. To see the list of currently available devotional plans in this section GO HERE!
Hearing the Word
Users also have the option to listen to the scripture displayed with a simple click-and-play link labeled “Listen.” Whatever scripture is displayed on your screen will be played to you over your computer speakers. Just be sure you have your speakers turned on at a high enough volume to hear. (One note: sometimes I have to click a second time to get it to play, so keep trying if it doesn’t play the first time you click.) This is not the only web site which provides the opportunity to listen to scripture, but it is the only one I’m aware of which will let you listen to a single verse at a time instead of an entire chapter at a time. On first blush that may not seem like a big advantage, but if all you want to listen to is the last two verses of the chapter, you probably don’t want to listen to the first 48 verses of a 50 verse chapter in order to get there.
At the top left of every page is an “Options” link which allows you to tell this web site want you want to see when you ask for a scripture reference. There are many display options such as “Show words of Christ in red,” or not, “Show verse numbers,” or not, along with several others. Take your choice, BUT REMEMBER TO CLICK THE SAVE BUTTON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN OR YOUR OPTIONS WON’T WORK!
You also have several “Audio” options about how you want to set up to listen, such as what type player you want, or who is reading the scripture. If your “Listen” link doesn’t work, try a different player choice. Each computer is set up differently and while the “flash” player may work on one computer, your brother’s computer may be set up better for MP3, Windows Media, or RealAudio. Again, as with the display options, YOU MUST CLICK ON THE SAVE BUTTON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE, OR YOUR CHOICES WON’ TAKE EFFECT!
Easy Web Site Tools
I briefly mentioned web master tools in the opening paragraph of this article. If you’ve seen the Christ Church home page you probably saw the “Daily Scripture” near the top right side of the page. This is actually provided by an ESV Bible Online webmaster tool. The scripture changes daily as it is fed directly from the ESV web server, providing a valuable service for everyone who visits this web site.
Immediately below the Daily Scripture you’ll find an opportunity to “Search the ESV Bible.” This is another valuable service provided by the ESV Bible Online. The search criteria are the same as the search box on the actual online bible page, but are provided to the viewer directly, without having to leave the Christ Church home page. I’ve inserted a live search box here for demonstration.
Who’s Behind All This?
Good News / Crossway is a not-for profit ministry responsible for publishing the ESV bible in its various forms, both print and electronic. To learn more about the ESV bible in all its various iterations go to ESV.org and explore the information provided there.
Included Links List
In the above article the links inside the paragraphs were opened in a pop-up window for demonstration only and, though they showed the actual pages, it was not easy to determine the URL (web address) to use in your browser to go there unless you are on this page. Below we have provided both the linked text which will open in a new browser window or tab, and the text of the link in plain text which you can copy and place in your browser’s navigation bar to go to these pages directly. Please use these URL’s to make bookmarks at your own convenience.
- Search — http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/
- Browse — http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/browse/
- Devotions — http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/devotions/
Choice of Online devotionals:
- One-Year Tract Bible Reading Plan — http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/devotions/one.year.tract/
- GO HERE! — http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/devotions/
- Options — http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/options/
Who’s Behind All This?