Field Searching: Searching the Words of Christ

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post that you can search specific fields like OTQuote, DisputedPassage, and LaterAddition in the NA27 and UBS4 editions of the Greek New Testament. Another field that you might find helpful in your English Bible searches is WordsOfChrist (or WOC for short). You can use WOC searches in most versions of the Bible that cover the New Testament.

A search for WOC:Father in the ESV yields 236 hits. If we want to see only the places that refer to God the Father (i.e., Father vs. father), we would use WOC:case(Father). We could also use WOC:exact(Father) to omit any potential references to the plural "Fathers" (perhaps at the beginning of a sentence), but in this case there aren’t any so the results are the same either way. (To learn more about search modifiers like case() and exact(), see the Searching section of the Libronix Help Manual and this article on searching.)

We can then graph the results and see that by far the majority of Jesus’ references to His Father occur in John.

This is certainly an important aspect of John’s theology of Jesus as the Son of God. Another search of the words of Christ (woc:nostem("son of god")) shows that the only gospel that records Jesus referring to Himself as the Son of God is John.

If we search for all of the words of Christ in the ESV (WOC:*), we get 40,411 hits in 2,042 verses. If we graph the results, we get this.

This information is sure to come in handy for any serious study on the teachings of Jesus.