How To Find a Bible Verse Fast

find-verse-fastI was recently writing something about biblical archaeology, and it happened again, that thing that’s always happening to me in Bible study—does it happen to you? I was trying to find the location of a verse whose exact wording I was pretty sure I already knew. The phrase that was cemented in my head was, “declared to be the Son of God with power.”

I sometimes used to try searching a Bible website because it was easy to get to—since I’m often already in my browser. But I gave up, because most of the time I get either way too many hits or I got this:

“NO RESULTS COULD BE FOUND”

I tried it again, for old time’s sake, and sure enough, that’s what my search for “declared to be the son of God with power” got me.

Man! I know that phrase is in there! But where? And which Bible translation(s) is it in?

Two quick ways to search multiple Bibles

The best way to find out is to search multiple Bible translations at once. I know two quick ways to do this in Logos.

1. Make a shortcut to a Bible search

I set up a Bible search in Logos that searches All Bible Text in All Passages in Top Bibles.

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Then I dragged the “Search” tab into my menu bar, and it created an icon I can use to access my Top Bibles search (my most common search) any time I want.

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2. Search from the command box with keyboard shortcuts

I like my computer to obey me quickly, sweetly, and completely. Especially for my most common exegetical tasks, I want speed. There’s an even faster way to search your top Bibles for “declared to be the son of God in power,” a way that doesn’t involve using a mouse at all, and is therefore fast.

For the animated gif below, I used my mouse to show you what I was doing. But the mouse is not actually necessary. You can search your top Bibles with two keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Hit Alt+D in Windows or Option-Command-L (⌥⌘L) on Mac to bring the focus to the command box. (Now type the words you want to search for—in my case, “declared to be the son of God with power.”)
  2. Hit Ctrl+Enter (on both Mac and PC)

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A search window pops up that searches all the Bible translations I’ve chosen to be part of my “Top Bibles,” which for me is the ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV, and HCSB.

Logos finds my verse and reveals to me why I wasn’t finding it in the online Bible: I missed one little word. I had the KJV in my head (I grew up with it), so searching just the ESV wasn’t going to find the statement I was looking for. Logos searches all the translations I’ve got mixed up in my head, and it finds what I need.

Search the Scriptures

When I was maybe 14 and my little sister 11, she challenged me the way little sisters do: “You don’t tie your shoes right! That way is slower!”

“Oh, yeah?!” I cleverly retorted.

“Yeah! Let’s race!”

“You’re on!”

She won.

I admit it. Her way is faster. But now, 21 years later, I still tie my shoes my way. I don’t care enough to change.

Don’t be 14-year-old me when it comes to keyboard shortcuts. The computing tasks you do repeatedly can almost certainly be accomplished more quickly with your keyboard (if you don’t use it already). Alt+D (or ⌥⌘L on Mac) and Ctrl+Enter will seem awkward and slow at first, but if you use these keyboard shortcuts at least five times a day for a week, they will become part of your muscle memory.

mark ward
Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.

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Comments

  1. Bryan Waggoner says:

    You wrote…
    For the animated gif below, I used my mouse to show you what I was doing. But the mouse is not actually necessary. You can search your top Bibles with two keyboard shortcuts:
    There is no animated gif that comes up on my computer a MacBook.

  2. Benjamin Ho says:

    I typed “declared to be the son of God in power” into Google search, and it gave me the verse reference immediately. Don’t have to use a mouse or keyboard shortcuts. No need to set up any search criteria. I really wish for this kind of simplicity when searching in Logos.

    • With that kind of simplicity also comes diffusion: you can’t narrow your search to only the NT or only the letters of Paul or only verses with an aorist verb. Google can do a lot, and I use it, too. But what it gives you in simplicity it can take away in power. It canvasses the whole web, and that’s great, but it can’t get as specific as Logos does.

      But there’s no reason to cut a false dichotomy between the two tools: use each one for what it’s best at.

      • Paul Thibodeau says:

        When you aren’t sure on the exact wording of a verse Google is great, then just pop the verse into your standalone and away you go. It is just a fact of the matter that free services like Bible Hub + Google are in some ways superior to standalone programs. That’s not to knock them though. They have the great specialty content, special features and tight integration. But basic packages are up against very strong free alternatives.

        • There are definitely other good tools out there. I do sometimes use the ESV’s site for quick passage look-up when I’m already in my browser. But for serious work I always find myself frustrated if I’m not in Logos.

    • Will Scholten says:

      I agree with you Benjamin, sometime I try Logos for a phrase and get 0 results, go to google and it is right there. Some times my search is exact and I still get 0 results in Logos. But I think Logos is still the best Bible study software out there.

  3. David Moticka says:

    Hello, I tried your search recommendation, “All Bible Text in All Passages in Top Bibles” but could not find “in top Bibles.” How do I do that?

  4. Edward Hatch says:

    Is there any reason for the Command Shift L in Mac? What does the “L” stand for? I remember better if I can make associations!

  5. Post those verses!

  6. Steve McKinley says:

    Thanks for the new tips! Yes, a google search is probably faster, but I don’t like to be in the habit of circumventing my Bible software because I’m too lazy to figure it out. Google works like a charm to find Rom. 1:4, but then another search need comes along where Google is worthless, and I still don’t know how to use the software.

    I have this need to find verses that I have a vague memory of quite frequently. My method before this post was to go to the general vicinity, such as Mt. 1 or Rom. 1, and do a search with ctrl+f. However, a footnote or some other marking next to a key word will cause Logos not to find it. I have spent some time in frustration looking for a verse using this method. Anyway, thanks for the tip. I’ll begin using it.

    • By the way, I would like to put in a request to the powers that be for ctrl+f search to ignore everything but the text. Is that possible?

      • Boy… I’d have to think through the implications of this… But I will send this to those powers.

        • Did a little testing… I’m not sure I agree with your request, though the powers may do what they will!

          I believe I want to preserve the power to search for commas and periods. Again, inline search is probably what you’re looking for.

          • Steve McKinley says:

            I definitely want to preserve punctuation. I wish the ctrl+f search would search the text just as if I had chosen “Bible text only” in the visual filter. I can’t think of a scenario where I would need to use that search for footnotes, and even if there were, the need to omit footnotes is much more common. It’s impractical to set the filter to “text only” every time I want to use that search. But without it, I’m handicapped. The search ignores case, why not extra markings? My hand muscles are trained to quickly hit ctrl+f as I do in most other programs. :-)

    • You nailed it. And I’ve used the same search strategy you propose in the second paragraph—and failed, sometimes, for the same reasons. That’s why the inline search is often best. It’s a basically a search window baked into any given resource that allows you to search just it and it alone.

  7. Ah. So helpful! I wish I would have known this sooner. Thank you.

  8. Alan Sanders says:

    I was excited by the title of the email I received, “How to find a Bible verse Fast”. Google is still faster, requires less accuracy, and almost always gives me the passage I’m looking for. Logos is indispensable for my Bible study, but not helpful when looking for the location of a passage…

    • This is a fair comment, and I’ve been there. But here’s my thing: once Google finds my passage, I can’t do anything with it. I have to go look it up in Logos. But by training myself a little bit on the more exacting search syntax in Logos I ensure that 1) I can find what I need and 2) I can apply to it all the exegetical tools I enjoy using without added steps.

  9. Wilson Hines says:

    I’ve got to admit, I have used Google for that “quick search” of a phrase for the past several years now. Usually, it fills in what you’re missing in the search box drop down.

    After practicing it over the past few days first, I used your method this morning for the first time in a real situation. It’s slick, no doubt. Thanks for the tip.