There are now a good many websites competing for your online Bible study time. Most publishers of individual translations have a dedicated site for their own Bible version, and there are numerous sites which compare multiple translations and offer other study helps. Which site is best? To some extent, the answer depends on your needs and study preferences, and each site has its own strong points – so comparing the options makes sense. In making our own comparison we found that most of the sites we looked at can be helpful and are providing a valuable service, but we did find that some sites are more useful than others. This article compares five sites (all of them free to use) that we consider to be among the best. There are certainly other good sites – such as the fine Blue Letter Bible – which may be perfect for your needs, but the ones we list have the most translations and features. We look at them in reverse order – saving what we consider the best for last …
#5: Bible Study Tools has a limited number of other-than-English language translations available – but it includes most major English versions and allows side by side comparison of verses or chapters in different versions, which not all sites do. It has a type of “interlinear” Hebrew and Greek text with individual words linked to Strong’s concordance entries, but although the English linkage is word by word, those with no knowledge of the biblical languages may find this feature difficult to use. The site has a selection of devotionals, basic commentaries, Bible dictionaries and other resources, and also has a “My Bible” feature which allows users to add and save notes to scriptures and to highlight, bookmark, and categorize verses with tags. Overall, this is a fine, simple to use site.
#4:StudyLight.org has an excellent selection of translations (though not always listed in alphabetical order), including many in foreign languages and with Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin texts of the Old and New Testaments. StudyLight claims to have more Bible commentaries, encyclopedias, dictionaries, lexicons and original language tools than any other site on the internet, and the selection is extensive. It also includes the complete text of many important background works such as those of Josephus and the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The site’s "interlinear" version is like that of the Bible Study Tools site with word-by-word translations, but is a little clearer. The site is often excellent for deeper study, but is limited by the inability to compare different translations side by side.
#3:Bible.com (the You Version site) claims over a thousand total versions in some 780 languages. We didn’t count to check, but the list has every translation we have ever seen and many more. Even seldom heard of translations such as Cook Islands Maori (in addition to New Zealand Maori!) are included, and some versions are available in audio format. You can save highlighted verses, tabs and notes. The site also offers a good number of reading plans and devotionals ranging from 7 days to a year. A mobile app is offered as well as a way to be involved in live discussions of sermons, Bible studies and questions (you can schedule your own discussion event). These are all good features, though the core aspect of the site – the translation interface – is limited in terms of search and commentary features and only allows side-by-side view for comparison of two versions at one time. The “Recently Used” tab is helpful, however, in allowing the user to go back and forth between versions. We did not find any way to work with the Hebrew or Greek texts on this site.
#2: Bible Hub has a quick link bar at the top of the screen for selecting major translations, which some may find more convenient than repeatedly scrolling through drop down menus. The range of translations is relatively limited (a couple of dozen), but a major plus of this site is its fine parallel Bible feature which compares any verse in about twenty major translations, but only one verse at a time can be seen in this manner. Another very useful feature is that a selection of entries from major commentaries is given along with each verse, and further commentaries can also be quickly accessed by clicking a link. This means that checking any single verse shows most major translations and several commentaries on it all on the same page. Like StudyLight.org, Bible Hub has true word-for word interlinear versions of the Hebrew and Greek texts as well as a number of other features, but we think its best characteristic is the time-saving ability to see multiple translations of the same verse – and commentaries on it – together on the same page.
#1: BibleGatewayis our top pick.Those who follow our sites will probably find this no surprise. It is not only the most visited Bible site in the world (with astronomical usage statistics), but it also comes closest of all the sites we know to providing the requisites for one-stop online Bible study. BibleGateway has hundreds of available translations and while it may not have quite as many as Bible.com, it has more than most of us would ever need in all major languages (for example, seventeen Spanish translations alone). You can read our other articles, linked below, to see the many excellent aspects of BibleGateway, and here we will just say that it combines most of the features found on other translation sites, except that it does not have Hebrew or Greek interlinears or study tools in the biblical languages. It also takes a little extra clicking and scrolling to get to commentaries and some other features compared to some other sites, but these are relatively minor points and despite them, BibleGateway is our go-to site for 90% of our online Bible study needs. It has audio capability and is available for desktop use and as a smartphone app. Registered users (free) can insert and save highlights, notes, tabs, etc., as they study. BibleGateway’s search capabilities are unparalleled, and its ability to pull up instances of a given word or phrase from any or all parts of the Bible – in as many translations as one wishes – is also tremendous for deeper comparative study. Overall, we feel BibleGateway provides the most features of any online Bible study site and we are pleased to give it our top ranking.