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Bible Editor
Nov 19th 2013, 02:22 AM
Search the Bible with Regular Expression

"Regular Expression" is a way to find information in computer science. Using its standard patterns, it is easy to retrieve the required bible verses.
The following examples (for New International Version) illustrate the use of Regular Expression.

Single Word or words

Example 1:

To search the bible verses about a person or a place, just enter the name. For example, input the word "Stephen" and it displays 11 verses within a second.

Example 2:

In a Bible Study Fellowship we discussed the "8 blessings". I entered "blessed are" and it displays 38 verses. In addition to the Beatitudes, the Bible also proposes a variety of blessings.

Example 3:

In an ordination ceremony the senior pastor encouraged the new pastor by quoting a verse in "2 Timothy", saying something like "Do your best...", but I could not hear clearly which chapter and verse. I immediately used my cell phone to connect to Internet (bibletool.net). At "2 Timothy" I entered "Do your best". It displayed 3 verses. The one I was looking for is
"2Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."

Example 4:

I have a favorite bible verse I can remember that it is in Chapter 42 Verse 3, but cannot remember which book. Enter "42:3" and it displays 16 verses. The one I want is
"Isa 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."

Multiple words of similar or opposite meaning (OR)

Example 5:

To prepare a sermon regarding "stupid", "foolish", and "ignorance", enter "stupid|foolish|ignorance" and it displays 67 verses about this topic. This is because the symbol "|" represents "OR" in Regular Expression. All the verses containing either one of the words connected by "|" are searched out.

Example 6:

There are many places containing the words like "with all your heart", "with all your soul", "with all your strength", and "with all your mind". The verses are similar but not exactly the same. When the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, does it add or lose something? Enter "with all your heart|with all your soul|with all your strength|with all your mind", and it displays 24 verses. You can also choose dozens of bible versions and languages like Greek and Hebrew for comparison.

Unconnected words in the same verse (AND)

Example 7:

The Bible mentions seven lamps, seven lampstands, and seven golden lampstands in various places. Enter "seven.*lamps" and will get 7 verses. This is because in Regular Expression "." represents any character, and "*" represents any number (including 0) of the previous character.

Example 8:

To get all the verses which contain "prophet" and "fulfilled" with some other words between these two words, just enter "prophet.*fulfilled" and it displays 4 verses.

AND/OR Combination

Example 9:

To get all the verses containing both "spirit" and "god", or containing "holy spirit", enter "spirit.*god|holy spirit". It displays 166 verses.

Example 10:

To use ".*" to connect two words, it retrieves all the verses with the first word followed by the second word. If you want to have all the verses that contain both words in any order, the Regular Expression provides several methods. One of them is to use the OR operator "|" to connect. For example, "prophet.*fulfilled|fulfilled.*prophet" will retrieve all the 10 verses which contains both words "prophet" and "fulfilled" in any order.


The above 10 examples show the very simple applications. Regular Expression is a very good tool for the believers, preachers and biblical scholars to search the bible. You can follow the reference material for further practice.

Reference material

1) Bible tools with input methods: http://bibletool.net

2) Bible Search method:
http://bibletool.net/m/serguide03.htm

3) Regular Expression details:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regular_expression