Inside BST

Inside BST

Inside BST goes behind the curtain of and into the minds of our editors and developers. You'll discover encouraging stories, information about the site, links that interest us, and devotionals.


John UpChurch, Senior Editor (

Stephen McGarvey, Senior Director of Editorial

Stephen Sanders, A/V Editor

What Lies Below?

You probably know how easy it is to use our multi-search bar from any page on our site. You just type in a book of the Bible, a chapter, a verse, a word, or anything, and we’ll find what you’re looking for in Scripture. Once you’ve found the verses, you can read them in a number of translations.

But that’s not the end.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the reading pane (where the verses are), you’ll find a list of resources connected to that particular verse or section. Each one has a small plus beside it. Click the plus, and you’ll get links to some solid commentaries that will help you in your study. (Tip: Open them in a new tab in your browser by using your alternate click so that you don’t lose track of where you were.)

If you click on “Cross References,” you can also follow a chain of thought through Scripture and see how it relates. You never know where a click might take you and what nugget of wisdom you might dig up.

Try it now on John 3. Read down to the bottom and get started opening up our resources. Then, come back here and tell us what your favorite commentary is.

Are We Staying in Touch?

Those of us at BST love social media. In fact, you’ll find us all over the Internet, sharing God’s Word. We never get tired of taking the Bible to the world.

If you’re already a member of a social media network, chances are you can keep in touch with us there as well. Our social media channels present some unique content to inspire and encourage you.

Here’s where you can find us:

  • Twitter: On our Twitter account, we share a daily verse to get your day started right and some helpful articles and tips.
  • Facebook: Our Facebook community continues to grow quickly, and those who “Like” our page interact to answer each other’s questions. You’ll also receive some encouraging posts and pictures right in your newsfeed.
  • Pinterest: We admit it. We love to pin things... especially Bible verses, encouraging quotes, and inspirational prayers.
  • Email Newsletters: Based on your feedback and interests, we try to add email newsletters that fit your life. Take a look at what we currently offer (with more to come).

We hope to meet you there.

Aholibamah or Oholibamah?

Recently, someone wrote in asking us why names in various translations of the Bible can be spelled differently:

I have a question about names of people in the Bible in different translations. Why do different English versions have different names for the same people (e.g., Aholibamah in KJV is Oholibamah in NIV)? Some have just one letter different, others have a letter added or taken away. I understand the translation being different, but why are names different?

So, why the alphabet shuffle with certain names? While you could fill a book explaining the details, here's the short answer:

In the original Hebrew, there are no vowels, just consonants. That's not so much a problem when you're reading in the original language, but it is tough for transliterating words into English. Now, this isn't a problem in understanding what the words mean... just how they're pronounced. For example, you may have heard that God calls Himself Yahweh in Exodus, but in the Hebrew, it's just YHWH.

So, when translators are moving ancient Hebrew names into English they do so by providing vowel sounds. When you factor in tradition and also Greek-icized versions of names that came to us through the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), you can see why there are some variations. (In fact, formalized spelling of names wasn't common until recent times even in English.) In Greek for example, you have Elias instead of Elijah or Jesus instead of Y'shua (or Yeshua).

When you factor in those differences, you can see why there's some variation. Tradition generally wins out for most modern translations. For example, we know of Nebuchadnezzar instead of Nebuchadrezzar, even though he was called both.

Quick Look: ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament

Even for those who have learned biblical Greek somewhere along the line, maintaining that skill can be somewhat challenging. After all, it's not a language most of us use every day. So, wouldn't it be great if there were a Bible that helped you both study the English and brush up on your Greek? That's where the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament (ESV EGRINT) comes in.

Most interlinears, including the one on our site, give you the Greek first and then the English translation underneath. But by turning things around, the ESV EGRINT gives you another valuable tool in your study arsenal:

This state-of-the-art reverse interlinear New Testament, created in partnership with The German Bible Society and Logos Bible Software, breaks with the convention of traditional interlinear texts by keeping the English as the top-line entry and placing the Greek text underneath it. This approach allows you to see firsthand the accuracy with which the translators of the English Standard Version of the Bible (ESV) rendered the Greek text.

In other words, you can study Scripture smoothly in English... and also dig into the Greek.

Great for: pastors, theologians, seminary students, and anyone wanting to learn some Greek

Sharing Your Love for Bible Study

Getting your children interested in Bible study is a tall order for any parent. But it’s certainly not impossible. An article from Quick Relief for Sunday School Teachers offers a few tips to get you started:

Model it. Passionately, enthusiastically, and practically - make the Bible part of who you are. Carry it with you, memorize it, consult it often, and let your students know that you are obedient to it.

Use the Bible. Keep your Bible in your hands or nearby throughout the lesson. Let the children see you referring to it as you tell the story. Read verses from the Bible, not from the teacher's guide. Let the Bible be the ultimate authority in your class.

Make Scripture interesting. Use teaching techniques such as drama and role-play to bring the past into the present. Explain unusual Bible customs, serve Bible-time food, and explain and enjoy the imagery of Bible poetry.

What tips do you have for sharing your love for Bible study with the next generation? Leave them in the comments below.

Bird's-Eye Overviews

When you study the Bible, sometimes you may like to get a quick overview of a particular book. Well, we've got an easy way for you to do that with our Books of the Bible page.

A while back, we quietly rolled out a new page on our site that features a quick overview of every book of the Bible. If you're trying to decide what to read next, these short descriptions make that pretty simple. Just use the tab at the top to jump between the Old and New Testaments.

You can also click on the titles of each book, and you'll be taken to a more in-depth overview that includes a summary, background, author, date, theme, and more. (Check out the overview for the book of Genesis to see what we mean.) Using the tabs at the top of these pages, you can also browse the chapters and see what videos we have for that particular book.

So, head over and take a look at our Books of the Bible page. Then, start studying.

7 Ways to Get Creative with Bible Reading

Bible reading plans don't have to follow any set rules or patterns. If you completed something more traditional recently, you could change things up. Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

  • Divide the 66 books of the Bible by months or weeks. Instead of following a set reading plan, you could either shoot for reading five or six books each month or one or two per week. Since some of the minor prophets and letters are short, this isn't as daunting as it may seem. Split the short ones up so that you have at least one each month or save them for weeks that you know you'll be busy.
  • Instead of reading through the whole Bible this year, consider zooming in on one book each month. Read it through several times and take notes about what God's showing you. Use several versions of the Bible for added insight. Then, watch some videos or read study materials on our site to really dig in (you'll find them linked below the reading pane).
  • Read out loud. Sometimes, hearing the words spoken aloud can help you in your studies. You could even read in a group of others so that no one person has to read the whole book.
  • Commit to memorizing one verse from each book you study this year. That may sound scary, but it's not. We memorize things all the time. Plus, it'll help you remember a lesson from each one.
  • Memorize an entire chapter or book of the Bible. This is a big challenge for anyone, but it's well worth the investment. A Psalms 1, Philemon 1, or Jude 1 could be the place to start.
  • Write out verses. Another method of study that some people find helpful involves copying Scripture in a notebook. It can be a slow process, but you might be surprised how well you connect with what you're writing.
  • Learn Greek and Hebrew. There are many sites on the Internet that will teach you these ancient languages. Learning to read the original manuscripts of the Bible is well worth the effort.

How Do I Deal with Distraction?

Distraction while studying the Bible is a real stumbling block for many people. Technology, worries, and events all seem to work against us digging into Scripture. So, how can we overcome the noise (and wandering minds)? Here are some general principles that can help.

1) If possible, set aside a time to read. This helps your mind know that a particular time is for nothing but God's Word. There's something about having an appointment that helps many people keep the right perspective.

2) Give yourself a buffer between work or anything stressful and your reading time. This will help get your mind off the troubles of the day. (Many of us here like to read first thing in the morning so that we're not as distracted by other issues.)

3) Remove as many distractions as you can. While we love online Bibles, as you might guess, if your phone or computer is a distraction, use a traditional Bible and turn those things off (you can also print verses from our site if need be). It's easy to wonder what updates or emails you're getting, and when your phone is right there, the temptation can be too much. If you prefer studying on your phone, turn on the "Do Not Disturb" mode and cut off notifications. That will help keep your eyes on the prize.

4) Pray before you read. Just ask God to help you focus and understand what you're reading. You'd be amazed how this can get our minds and hearts in the right place.

5) Write notes, thoughts, and prayers as you read. If you're reading with the purpose of taking notes, you're more likely to focus. Simply sign in on this site, and you can take and access your notes from anywhere.

In addition, there are some other steps you could try if you need a little extra help:

Catching Up

We're a couple weeks into Bible reading plans for this year. So, how are you doing? If you've already fallen behind a bit, don't worry. You can get back on track.

First, don't feel guilty. The Bible is a gift to us, and reading any of it is good. Even if you're not keeping pace, you're still getting into the Word. Once you start feeling guilty about falling behind, you're much more likely to just stop reading. Keep going with whatever you can get in each day. It's time well spent.

Reschedule all you want. Our site lets you change the start date of your plan. Plus, you can see all the daily readings for the entire duration. Make adjustments as you need.

Get daily readings delivered to your inbox. If you sometimes forget to come to the site to read, we can deliver daily readings right to your inbox in one of four versions of the Bible. Sign up on our newsletter page.

Consider changing plans. If you picked something that's a bit too ambitious for this year, go with something a bit shorter. Just click that you're finished with the plan and start a new one, such as reading through the New Testament.

Read along with us. On our Facebook page, we're reading through the Bible together this year. Join us as often as you can.

Whatever you do, don't worry about "falling behind." Just read as you can.

Who Are You Guys, Anyway?

Who runs What do we believe? And how do we pick what's included on the site? is a part of the Salem Web Network, a for-profit company that manages a number of Christian websites. Some that you may know are,,, and That means we're not owned or operated by a particular church, ministry, or denomination. However, we are committed to the historic tenets of the apostles' creed. Those of us who work here come from a variety of backgrounds, but all of us are committed to sharing the gospel and the truth of Scripture. (We're Bible geeks who love what we do.)

As for the study materials, we are very careful about what we chose to feature on the site. The reference materials are on here because they are faithful to the Bible and have stood the test of time (John Gill and Matthew Henry, for example) or because they are relevant to historical studies (e.g., Josephus). Newer material comes from biblically faithful publishers who agree to let us post content or trusted Christian writers and bloggers who agree to let us repost their articles on our site. Rest assured, however, that each article or post is carefully reviewed.

We're certainly not perfect. But our goal is to carefully and faithfully help people around the world study God's Word.

Let's Make It Through the Bible This Year

Those of us at love New Year's. During this time, many Christians consider their life plans and what changes they'd like to make. And while we can't do much to help you with weight or exercise goals, we can help you with your renewed focus on God's Word.

Here's how we can help you make it through the Bible this year:

  • A Bible reading plan: This is the most straightfoward way to meet your goals. You could plunge in and read through Scripture one day at a time for 365 days, but not all of our plans are for the whole Bible. You could start off small and work your way up. Whatever you choose, we'll keep your rolling.
  • Scripture by email: With all due respect to your spouse or mom, there's no better email in your inbox than God's Word. We'll send it to you in one of four translations.
  • Daily articles and blogs: Every weekday, you'll find new Bible study articles and blog posts on our site. Each one helps you understand Scripture and grow in your faith. We also provide tips for getting the most from your Bible study.
  • Audio Bibles: Some of us at BST prefer to listen to our daily Bible reading. And if that's you, then we've got you covered.
  • Online library: We've got more than enough books and resources in our free online library for you to study a new one every day of the year. Try digging into one of our classics this year for some added study.

Whatever your goals, make a part of your daily reading, and we'll do our best to keep you going.

The Most-Watched Bible Study Videos of 2014

You love videos. That’s one thing we can say for certain after a record-breaking 2014. So, what videos made the list as the most watched. As they say, seeing is believing.

Here are the top three videos of the year:

3. What is the significance of the "144,000" mentioned in Revelation 14? What is the significance of the from biblestudytools on GodTube.

2. What is the unforgivable sin described in Mark 3? What is the unforgivable sin described in Mark Chapter 3?-Brian Hedges from biblestudytools on GodTube.

1. Is homosexuality worse than the other sins listed in Romans 1? Is homosexuality worse than the other sins listed in Romans 1? - Rena Lindevaldsen from biblestudytools on GodTube.