Referencing Scripture wisely

I wrote over 5,000 words last week. Three blog posts. A chapter. Comments and tweets and status updates. Each of these words were about my Christian faith. They included Bible verses, stories from the Bible, and teaching references. 

What a responsibility, right? 

As Christian communicators, using the Bible and speaking of our faith is key. 

It also requires research. Text taken out of context is just not an option. 

In today’s Tuesday Tip, let’s explore three ways to reference scripture wisely. 

  1. Read it in context

Before quoting scripture, read it first in context. 

Read a few lines and then the entire chapter. Discover why it was said, who said it, who heard it, and in what circumstances. 

  1. Go deeper
  • Read the passage in a second version of the Bible. Sometimes a different version allows you to see it in a different light. 
  • Read a commentary on the passage. Look for cultural or contextual nuances that you might miss if reading a stand-alone scripture or picking a scripture from a Google search. 
  • If you really want to take it deeper, check out underlying root words in the passage. You might be amazed at the depth of a scripture or teaching that emerges. 
  1. Use available resources 

One amazing paid resource is LOGOS. It’s pricey but one of the most comprehensive Bible study/research/library programs available. 

There are several free and semi-free Bible research sites online. Listed are a few of the more popular sites:

Bible Gateway

Bible Hub


Blue Letter Bible 


Choose one of the free sites and explore. You might be amazed at what you find right at your fingertips! Make sure to also leave a comment on the COMPEL blog about your favorite resources! 



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  1. These are great resources. Two I knew and two I didn’t. Bookmarked them!

  2. Blue Letter Bible is my go-to for digging a little deeper into the meaning behind the words, however, when I’m simply comparing translations I appreciate how Biblegateway allows me to open several translations side by side in the same tab.
    I’ve also appreciated Blue Letter Bible’s simple plug-in that makes the verses show up when the mouse hovers over a reference on my blog.

  3. Kelly Blackwell: July 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Bible Hub is probably the one I use most at work and really like it. I always forget about Blue Letter Bible. I think it must have been mentioned here before and it keeps slipping from my grasp. Definitely bookmarking it. Thank you for this post.

  4. My favorite tool is BibleHub. They have Strong’s Concordance, all English versions of the Bible, and interlinear chapters & verses in the original languages.

  5. Jane Anderson: July 2, 2019 at 11:06 am

    The best job I ever had was working for Zondervan as a systems and documentation specialist while they were developing Bible study software. I was in the Word every day for hours at a time. In my role I used multiple translations of scripture, commentaries, through passage after passage. When the project was done I don’t know what happened to the software, but it was the most spectacular resource for Christians. I’ve never seen anything like it since.

    All that to say, we need resources to help us with our spiritual growth and proper interpretation of what God wrote through his people. I chose COMPEL because I saw truth told by your writers. I want to learn to write like them as I serve and worship the Lord through my words.

  6. Excellent advice in today’s post! Thank you for reminding us of the responsibility we have with faith-based writing. May we always do our best to seek the true meaning of Scripture when quoting it in our writing. I subscribe to Bible Gateway Plus. It’s only $3.99 a month and gives access to a wealth of resources, right at my fingertips!