Quick Tip – Sort Through Thousands of Cross-References in Seconds

Depending on the size of your library, your WORDsearch books can contain thousands of references to Bible verses. If you want to study a specific verse of Scripture, it can seem overwhelming to even know where to begin.

The Cross-Reference Explorer shows you every single time a certain verse is found in every single one of your books. This is one of the most time-saving features of WORDsearch.

Let’s say you are doing a study on John 3:16. The Cross-Reference Explorer will search your entire library to show you every time John 3:16 is referenced. The best part? It only takes a few seconds.

First, click on the Cross-Reference Explorer icon to open up the tool. A few notes about the window that opens up:

  • The first bar at the top is where you choose the verse you want to search. Here we’ll use John 3:16. You can either type in the verse or use the drop-down to select, just like when you are navigating a Bible.
  • The little icon next to the verse chooser lets you arrange your windows either side-by-side or over/under. The usefulness of this icon depends on how many books you have open or what you determine to be more readable.
  • Just like in Bibles and commentaries, there is a sync icon. This comes in handy when you have a Bible or commentary open and want the Cross-Reference Explorer to follow your Bible navigation. If synced, the Cross-Reference Explorer will automatically update and find cross-references for whatever verse you are currently on. Pretty cool.
  • By default, the Cross-Reference Explorer will use all of your books, but you can also use a collection.

cross reference explorer, wordsearch bible

Once we type John 3:16 into the verse chooser and hit enter, the results will display organized by book category. We can expand the categories in our results to see which books reference the verse, and we can expand individual books to see the different places within the book that reference the verse and how many times.

The results show us that John 3:16 is mentioned 31 times in the Bible Knowledge Commentary and in five devotionals in Daily Light on the Daily Path.

The red parentheses show how many references are in that section of the book. From there, you can click on any of the results to read more, or open the book in a new window for further study.

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Can you imagine trying to do this in your printed books? It would take a long time. With the Cross-Reference Explorer, it takes a few seconds. The Cross-Reference Explorer is a powerful and easy tool to find critical notes, historical and cultural information, and insights from others on God’s Word. Whether you want to see where the verse appears in your different texts or you want to build out your sermon, it can help you find any Bible verse, anywhere in your WORDsearch library.

Let us know how the Cross-Reference Explorer has helped you in your study in the comments below!

Quick Tips – Narrow Your Search with Topic Explorer

The Topic Explorer in WORDsearch is a powerful tool that searches your entire library for a single subject in seconds. Instead of searching every word of every book for your search term, the Topic Explorer narrows your search by looking only at the the titles of articles and chapters that include or are related to your search term. Imagine searching the subject indexes of all of your books in an instant, and you’ll have imagined the Topic Explorer.

Let’s say we want to teach a lesson or create a sermon on the broad topic of “love.” First, we’ll click on the Topic Explorer icon to open the window.

topics

There are two different types of searches we can do with the Topic Explorer. The first and fastest type, “At beginning of topic,” looks only at the first word in our subject indices for our search term. The second and more thorough type, “Anywhere in topic,” searches every word in our subject indices for our search term.

Let’s look at how to get the shorter list first. To do this, we’ll follow these steps:

  1. Type “love” in the Search for: bar at the top of the Topic Explorer window
  2. Choose “At the beginning of topic” from the Find topic text drop down option
  3. Select a collection of books to search or choose to search all books
  4. Click the search button

As expected, all of our results start with the word “love,” because we chose to find only the index entries that begin with the word “love.”

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For the second type of search we can do, we follow the same instructions as above, but choose “Anywhere in topic” in step two, we’ll see a longer list of results. For example, our search results now include “Beloved Disciple,” “Brotherly Love,” “Family of Love,” and more. This is because we chose to find index entries that include the word “love” anywhere within them.

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When we click on the plus sign next to one of our search results, for example, the “Beloved Disciple”, we’re shown the book that includes the topic (sometimes there is more than one). From there, we can click on the entry in the book to read what the book says. If we want to continue reading a particular entry in a new window,we can click on the button “Open in new window”.

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The Topic Explorer defaults to sorting our results by Topic alphabetically, but we can also sort our results alphabetically by book title or book category (i.e., location). Another helpful feature within the Topic Explorer is the red level button. When we click this button and then expand a topic, book, or category, every sub-folder underneath that topic, book, or category will also be expanded, so we don’t have to keep clicking through the levels to get to our results.

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The Topic Explorer is one of our favorite features of WORDsearch, because it makes finding relevant material so easy and so efficient.

Have you made an exciting or surprising discovery because of the Topic Explorer tool lately? We’d love to hear about it in our comments below!

The Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit – Syncing Sermons

pastor/teacher's toolkit, wordsearch bible, sermonsSometimes, when creating a sermon, writer’s block hits, or the specific point you want to make seems to elude you, or you have trouble outlining your sermon. Have you ever wished you could see the opinion of another pastor on the topic you’re studying to help nudge you over the block?

WORDsearch publishes sermons from prominent preachers, and reading them can give you training from some of the best preachers in the world, past and present. Recently, we updated our published sermons to make them sync with Scripture. This helps you more quickly navigate to sermon content based on the Scripture you’re analyzing. This helps you see how the preacher divided up Scripture, and how they preached on that verse.

Let’s say I have my HCSB and Bible Knowledge Commentary opened and synced to Mark 6, where Jesus is rejected in Nazareth. In my commentary, I get background information about how far Jesus traveled to get to His hometown and who was with Him.  In verse 2 where the people ask, “What is this wisdom given to Him, and how are these miracles performed by His hands?” the BKC explains how their tone was disparaging and that they were offended. And that’s when writer’s block hits. How do I write a sermon about this?

Leaving my Bible and BKC open, I open up Wells of Living Water, a collection of sermons by Robert E. Neighbor. It immediately opens to Mark 6, because it’s syncing with my opened Bible. Here I find a sermon titled “How Unbelief Hindered Christ.” There are multiple parts of this sermon, with topics that could easily be split into a sermon series. Some of them include “Holding Jesus of Nazareth Down to a Human Genealogy,” “Making it Impossible for Christ to Do Mighty Works,” and “Marveling at Their Unbelief.” It also provides an illustration Neighbor personally used to help bring the point across.

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I can easily open up another set of sermons and navigate to Mark 6 to see if it contains any messages on that verse. Also, as I progress through Mark 6, the sermon follows along with anything it says about the verse I’m clicking on.

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Reading Neighbor’s words reinvigorates my enthusiasm for the text and fills me with fresh ideas on how to present it.  I decide I like the focus on the unbelief in these verses and how Jesus was not able to do any miracles in His hometown because they didn’t believe in Him. I craft my outline, add my ownl illustration of unbelief, and use WORDsearch to find other stories of how active faith allowed Jesus to do amazing things.

Scripture-synced sermons allows you to find great ideas by some of history’s finest preachers with the click of a button. As a result, your sermon prep time is greatly reduced. This is an excellent way to find fresh inspiration from renowned preachers and their sermons. And syncing makes it easier than ever to find just the material you’re looking for.

If you own any of these sermons sets already, simply go to Help, Check for Book Updates, then choose the sermons you want to update. This added functionality is free!

For more tips, don’t miss out on the other posts in the Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit series, Bible Dictionaries and Bible Surveys.

The Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit: Bible Dictionaries

pastor, teacher, toolkit, bible dictionary, wordsearch bible

A few weeks ago we kicked off our new Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit series, and looked at all the ways Bible surveys can help with sermon and lesson preparation.

Today, we look at another important tool in the kit, Bible dictionaries.

The Bible is full of names, places, and terms that aren’t familiar to modern readers. But Bible dictionaries provide important background information to illuminate these, including:

  • Concise definitions of unknown words
  • Cross-references to other occurrences in Scripture
  • Historical and cultural information
  • Original language insights
  • Customs and descriptions of daily life
  • Theological observations and practical applications.

Delving into this material helps us understand what the Bible is actually saying. Bible dictionaries in print are helpful and informative, but using them in WORDsearch unlocks their potential even more.

Imagine this scenario:  You are studying Revelation 3 for a sermon or Bible study next week. When Jesus addresses the church in Laodicea in verses 15-16, He says, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth”(ESV). What does Jesus mean here when he uses the term ‘lukewarm”? What would that mean to the original audience? And what is Jesus wanting the church to be like?

To begin finding answers, open Revelation 3  in WORDsearch, and right-click on the  word “lukewarm.” From there, select the option “Definition for lukewarm.” The Word Definition box opens, providing you with definitions from all of the dictionaries you own that contain an entry for that term. You can easily switch between your dictionaries to compare the various definitions and explanations.

For example, the Holman Bible Dictionary states:

LUKEWARM: Tepid; neither hot nor cold (Rev. 3:16). The city of Laodicea received its water from an aqueduct several miles long. The lukewarm water which arrived at the city served as an appropriate illustration for a tasteless, good-for-nothing Christianity.

Suppose now that you’d like to find out more information about the city of Laodicea. You can repeat the process by right-clicking on Laodicea to once again access your dictionaries and a definition. Here you learn more about the original audience and how they would interpret and understand what Jesus was saying.

Looking again at the Holman Bible Dictionary, you find:

…Laodicea is best known today to readers of Revelation where Jesus criticized Laodicea, using imagery drawn from its daily life (Rev. 3:14-22). First, Jesus said Laodicea is neither cold (like the cold, pure waters of Colossae) nor hot (like the therapeutic hot springs of Hierapolis). Laodicea is lukewarm and provides neither refreshment for the spiritually weary nor healing for the spiritually sick (Rev. 3:15-16). Despite their apparent spiritual uselessness, the Laodiceans were claiming a spiritual wealth equal to their material wealth; and further, they were claiming to have acquired both by their own efforts. In reality, however, the Laodiceans, while they may have had material wealth, were spiritually poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:17)—an obvious reference to the textile and banking industry and medical school of Laodicea. According to Jesus, what the Laodiceans needed more than anything else was the true gold, white (not black) garments, and ointment that only Christ could give (Rev. 3:18). A true spiritual foundation is laid only in Christ, not human effort.

Now that you’e found these helpful insights, you can copy and paste any of the information into your word processing program – using WORDsearch’s or a different one. Having read the definitions of just two words, you now have several specific insights that help you understand Jesus’ meaning and how it can be applied to believers today.;

It is obvious from these entries that Jesus’ metaphor would have been well-understood by the Laodicean church: be hot and healing, or cool and refreshing, but don’t be lukewarm and complacent. Instead, make yourself useful to the Lord and others. Jesus is also telling the Laodiceans not to trust in their material wealth, but in Him and His saving work.

As this example shows, Bible dictionaries are an essential tool for studying God’s Word. Not only that, but looking up words in WORDsearch is easy and fun! Any time you need to know more about a person, place, event or term, you are only a few clicks away from becoming more knowledgeable student of God’s Word.

 

The Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit: Bible Surveys

bible survey, student, pastor, teacher, wordsearch bibleWith 66 books written at different times, by different people, and for different purposes, the Bible can be confusing even to seasoned students of Scripture. One can easily get lost in the details and lose sight of the big picture—you can read an Old or New Testament book and miss its overall themes and messages. Fortunately, there exists a tool that can remedy this problem and bring clarity to potential confusion—the Bible survey.

As the name suggests, a Bible survey gives a big-picture look at every book of the Bible, while an Old and New Testament survey does the same for those respective portions. Typical surveys will examine each book and discuss the author, the date of writing, the historical background, the book’s overall themes and messages, and provide an outline. The format is similar to what you find in most study Bibles, but the discussion goes into greater depth, which is ideal for sermon preparation or small-group lessons.

In addition, many surveys provide maps, charts, photos, and diagrams that serve as helpful visual aids.

There are many Bible/OT/NT surveys available, and often what distinguishes them is the level at which they’re written. Some surveys are intended for beginning Bible college students (i.e., a lay audience), while others are written for seminary or graduate students. One example of a very accessible volume is Ed Hindson and Elmer Towns’s Illustrated Bible Survey. This survey features the topics listed above, along with introductory chapters on how we got the Bible and how to read the Bible, along with practical reflections on biblical truths.

A more advanced set of books covering just the New Testament are the volumes by Craig Blomberg included in our two-volume bundle. The first volume covers Jesus and the gospels, while the second explores Acts through Revelation. One of the differences you’ll notice right away is the number of footnotes, which are much more plentiful in Blomberg’s volumes. These indicate places where Blomberg is interacting with other biblical scholars on issues like authorship and date, as well as on more academic topics like textual criticism, sources, and literary genre. But even on topics like this, Blomberg explains the issues clearly, and his writing is easy to follow.

A third survey, David deSilva’s An Introduction to the New Testament, covers the standard topics, but also features a section on practical implications for ministry at the end of each chapter. This is ideal for students as well as those serving in pastoral ministry.

Using a Bible survey in WORDsearch can dramatically increase your productivity in studying the Word, in preparing lessons, and in researching for sermon preparation. Surveys in WORDsearch allow you to:

  • Quickly find the most important elements of a book you’re studying:  Who wrote it, when it was written, its historical background, themes, messages, and outline.
  • Use the outlines and other vital information to help shape and organize your sermons and lessons.
  • Easily read linked Scripture references that appear in the text.
  • Search the survey for keywords, Scripture references, people, places, and other important terms.
  • Use the WORDsearch word processor to take notes and paste text from the survey.

For all of these reasons, a good Bible/OT/NT survey is one of the essential tools in the pastor’s, teacher’s, or student’s Bible study toolkits.

How do you benefit from a Bible survey? Share with us!

How to Install the WORDsearch App on Kindle Fire

NOTE: The WORDsearch app will not work on any 1st Generation Kindle Fire devices that operate on the Android 2.3.3 platform, but should load on 2nd and 3rd Generation Kindle Fire models with the following instructions.

Open your Kindle Fire to the home screen.

KF1Scroll your finger down from the top of the screen (where it shows time and battery life) to Options. Select More…

KF2On the menu that opens up, you should see Settings. Underneath Settings, choose Device.

KF3From the Device page, make sure that option Allow Installation of Application From unknown sources is ON.  If it’s currently OFF, please change it to ON.

KF4After you have completed the above steps, click on the following link from your Kindle Fire to download the app. http://s3.amazonaws.com/ebook_content/code/android/WS_Prod_1131.apk

You may see a pop-up screen that says Download File? To access this linked file, it must first be downloaded to your device. The file can be found in Downloads. Select the OK on this screen.

From here, you will need to access your Downloads folder. The easiest way to do so is to first make sure your web browser is open. Then, in the top left, click on the three horizontal lines.

KF5From this menu, select Downloads.

KF6From here, you should see the download titled WS_Prod_1131-1.apk or something very similar. You can click on that line to begin the installation of the app by accepting the terms and tapping Install.

KF7

The application should download. You will then be given the option to open the app. You should also be able to find the app when you click on Apps on your homepage and are on the Device selection within the Apps page.

Once the app has launched, please see the sign-in instructions below.

  • If you are already a registered WORDsearch customer, enter your email address and password in the section called “Already a Member?” to get access to all the books in your account.
  • If you are a WORDsearch customer, BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE AN ONLINE ACCOUNT, tap or click here to setup an online account.
  • If you are a WORDsearch customer and you have an online account, but you have forgotten your online account password, or if you are receiving an error such as “Could not log-in, check your user name and password.” when trying to log-in, tap or click here to go to our log-in page, then click on “Forgot your password? Click here.” to have a replacement password emailed to you.
    NOTE: If you are not receiving the replacement password email, check your Spam folder, your Junk Mail folder and even the Trash folder in your email program. The replacement password email could be there.

To learn more on how to use this app, click here.