Bible Study Skills: Understanding the Bible

IMG_20150129_175546 (1)Hi all — it’s Melissa Sherlin!  I’m so excited to be here with you again this week!  I have really enjoyed being more intentional and cross-referencing with you all!

“What do you do when you’re being intentional to read your Bible, but you still don’t understand it?”

That was a question that I asked my Sunday school teacher as a young girl. I had the desire to get to know God through reading the Bible,  but honestly I couldn’t understand it. Back then, reading all of the “Thees, Thous and Thines” just wasn’t working for me.

I may be dating myself here just a bit, but there were no online Bible studies, no smartphone apps, and there was NO INTERNET!!!  It was just me and my KJV Bible. Don’t get me wrong, I love the King James Version, but at that time in my life the language was way above my head. I had no idea there were other versions of the Bible out there!

I didn’t give up though. I continued reading  it, but boy, I was still struggling.

As an adult, I remember going into a Christian bookstore and being just overwhelmed by all of the choices! (Think Belle from Beauty and the Beast when she sees the library for the first time.) So many versions, sizes,  styles  and … OH.MY.STARS! There was a PINK Bible!

That was it! After spending hours in the store agonizing over all of the choices, I chose one based solely on my favorite color! (It was a sign, right?) I don’t know about that,  but when I got it home and began reading it, I hardly even noticed at first that I was actually understanding what I was reading and it was interesting!

I had found a version of the Bible with language that I could understand! This may sound so simple to some,  but for me it was literally life changing!

So how can you find a version that best suits you, without spending hours in a bookstore or spending lots of money until you figure it out?

One of my favorite Bible study tools is called an online parallel Bible.

What does an online parallel Bible do?

  • It puts different versions/translations of the Bible side by side.
  • It can enhance your understanding of the verses that you’re reading in your version.
  • It allows you to look verse-by-verse, or you can expand it to chapters.

Although I now have a favorite version of the Bible, I still use this tool to deepen my understanding. Check out this video to see how I use it:

Click here to view the video if you can’t see it in your email.

Wasn’t that easy? Having this tool available to me has helped me so much, and it has also allowed me to read some of my favorite scripture verses in versions that I may have never seen without it.

  • Look up Romans 12:1-2 in your favorite version of the Bible  and use the parallel tool to read it side by side with The Message version. (It’s pretty powerful!)
  • Look up some of your favorite verses or chapters using the online parallel Bibles.

 Other ways to dig deeper this week:

  • Author of Keep it Shut, Karen Ehman, gave us some fabulous Bible study skill tips in her book (pgs 73-76). If you missed them, I urge you to check those out!
  • Join us tomorrow for a hour of fun Bible study on Facebook, at Bible Study Live.
  • If you missed last week’s post on cross-referencing, check it out here.


Do you use a parallel Bible to help you in your Bible study? How do you think it could be helpful?

Did you look up Romans 12:1-2 in The Message version? Did you find it as powerful as I did?


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  1. Parallel bible is great to get a better understanding of the scripture. Love the Romans 12:1, ties into the conference call really well! Such an awesome perspective on everything we been blessed with!

  2. Dawn Slusher says:

    Great advice! I too struggle with some verses and cross-referencing last week really helped me to understand verses better. I’m definitely trying the parallel tool to help even further! Thank you so much!

  3. Dawn Slusher says:

    Wow! What a difference the Message version makes! That was so much easier to understand! I never even knew that version existed. I’ll definitely be using the parallel tool and the Message version from now on!

    • Sabrina Ebert (Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team) says:

      Dawn….I know…it’s like the shades have been drawn away and we can see the light! Love it and the message version is pretty awesome!

  4. I love The Message version of this verse! Much easier to understand and gives such daily life application! I could not get parallel to work on my IPhone. i downloaded Bible Gateway but couldnot find that option. I habe the oldest IPad and cannot download this app on it! Need IOS6 and my IPAD doesnt offer that. Pray for finances for a new IPAD! LOL!

    • Christa Hutchins (P31 OBS Volunteer Team) says:

      Hi Suzanne! Did you try going to Bible Gateway from the browser on your phone or iPad instead of the app? It should work the same way as Melissa’s awesome video!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Suzanne, I either do it the way Christa said, or I just go here from my phone I can’t choose which versions this way, but it is helpful. I find it hard to see versions side by side on my small phone screen. I hope this helps!

    • I have the Bible Gateway App on my Ipad & phone, but I like the browser version better. The App seems more difficult to use, maybe I just need to get used to it. I really prefer the Bible Hub we used last week to cross reference, it brings up all of the parallel verses, in all of the versions automatically & then the cross reference & even commentaries. I have been playing with it all week!

  5. That is so awesome. I didn’t even know this existed on This will help me so much with referencing. Thank you!

  6. I did not know this was even out there…its great! I’m looking forward to using it a lot. Especially when my sons are asking about what a verse is really saying – now we can check out the other versions together.
    The Message versions of Romans was amazing.

  7. Christine Evans says:

    That was awesome! I use all the time but did not know about the cross reference tool. Amazing how God teaches me something new everyday. Will definately utilize this option! Thanks for sharing! Have a blessed day, ladies!!!!

  8. Ok so, yesterday morning I got up at 4:30 am to do my Bible study and no sooner had I sat down with my coffee and my book than the whole rest of the house woke up. ( That would be my 3 year old granddaughter, my 11 year old grandson my son and my husband) what in the world?! But I had to be careful with my words and attitude because I am reading a book titled Keep it Shut! Lol!

  9. Oh wow! That just stepped all over my toes! I love the message version of the bible. Sometimes I just have to use it when I can’t understand what I’m reading.

  10. As a Sunday School teacher of preschoolers and an active participant in my church’s children’s moment in Sunday service, using the parallel Bible tool can be really helpful when I’m trying to explain scripture to the kiddos. This study tool allows me to find terms and different ways to break down the messages in the Bible so that they will be easier for the children to understand and they can actually get something out of the lesson, rather than sitting and staring at me like a deer in the headlights.
    I love the Message Bible. It is a version I use a lot when I’m trying to make sense of Gods word not just for the kids but for myself as well. “Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.” This portion of Romans 12: 1-2 really hit home because sometimes that happens! More than I’d like! God bless and have a great one!

  11. Lori Jean Simpson says:

    Wow more great info thank you!!! Ok so when you discussed biblehub I decided I liked that better than biblegateway which I have been using for many years and the reading and audio together really helps me to retain the Word. I didnt realize it had a cross reference button sooooo back to bible gateway 🙂

    • Audra Heinman, Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team says:

      Hi Lori,
      I love using BOTH of those options. Nothing says that you have to use only one online tool. 😀 Explore!

  12. Kayla Orndorff says:

    I haven’t used a parallel Bible in my bible study before. I think it could help my understanding. I did look up Romans. It is amazing to me the difference reading it in two translations makes.

  13. I have never used parallel Bible before but looked up Romans 12:1-2 and it definitely helps with my understanding. I will be doing this from now on and I also love how it does the cross references like we learned about last week.

  14. What a great tool. I never knew.
    I love the message version of Romans.
    Thanks for sharing with us today.

  15. Thank you so much for showing me the parallel option! I have the Bible Gateway app on my tablet but wasn’t aware of all the wonderful features. I most definitely will be putting it to use…

  16. I don’t use a parallel Bible in my study. I actually have a study Bible that breaks each important verse down. It includes backgrounds into specific people, as well as maps of the area from that time period. It’s really awesome.

  17. Wow Melissa -I checked out Bible Gateway and the parallel bibles- that was awesome! what a difference and I loved the Message’s version of Romans 12 1-2! thank you so much for showing us these neat things that can enhance our study of the Bible.

  18. Hi

    • Audra Heinman, Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team says:

      Hi Lauren,
      Have you ever used a parallel Bible to study? These online tools are awesome in helping us to dig in to The Word further.
      I pray you’re having a great day today and that you’re enjoying this study.

  19. Thank you for showing me how to use this parallel tool. It will be do much easier than using hard copies.

  20. When I first was Saved my daughter had a Bible called God’s Word for Girls. I used it ALOT because it spoke in layman’s terms I could understand. I don’t cross reference much anymore unless I get stuck. But usually when I pray for the wisdom to understand what God is telling me, He eventually shows me.

    Also I have read scripture once and understood what I needed then. only to come across it at a different time and have God show me something COMPLETELY different than before about it.

    This is why the Bible is The Living Word of God.

  21. This is wonderful! I also tried the Ap version on my iPhone however I’m not finding a cross reference capability in the Ap. Maybe it is only available on the website?

    • Christa Hutchins (P31 OBS Volunteer Team) says:

      Kristen, go to Bible Gateway from the browser on your phone instead of the app and you should get the same options that Melissa had in the video, including parallel. Hope you find it!,

  22. CHERYL (P31 Ministries OBS Team) says:

    For me, these Bible Skills on Wednesdays are one of the best additions to P31 OBS. We can all use help in the area of better ways to study God’s Word. Last week’s cross referencing and today’s instruction on comparing different Bible versions were great! Thank you so much. <3

  23. Reesa Novak says:

    Thank you for showing us this tool! As I have studied over the years, I have used different versions to help clarify verses. This makes it so much easier!! I love being able to see them side by side. Thanks for sharing!

  24. I use bible gateway a lot I love the easy to read version translation lol! Romans has so many suggestions about how we should conduct ourselves very powerful

  25. Melissa,
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHOWING ME BIBLE GATEWAY! it makes it so much easier to understand! I did use It in the study guide but didn’t know about the setting for cross referencing! I plan to use it a lot!

  26. Peculiar or not I have the best results with online bible study and accessing multuple versions in one neat, tidy place. If I try to study hard copy now I get overwhelmed wirh all the pages. Online keeps my inquisitive mind on task.

  27. Wow…what a difference….The message is like having a normal conversation with someone…its so cool…I will start reading this version with my New American Standard every morning, make my reading come alive…thanks for this new tool!

  28. I don’t use the parallel Bible often. It’s a tool I love but often forget about.

    I did look up the Romans passage and I love the message version of it!

  29. We used a parallel KJV/NKJ at home for study with the girls. Occasionally, I like to read ESV or commentaries for a better understanding.

  30. I use biblegateway but had no idea I could use the parallel bible like this. This will come in handy working with Confirmation students.

  31. Thank you! I use Bible Gateway on my phone and love the idea of paralleling verses. I currently select my verse and manually change the version one at a time. I will have to use my laptop more

  32. Who Knew! I’ve been a Sunday School teacher for years and I knew how to do all this by hand with the cross referencing and the parallel Bibles. But this online piece puts it all together. And even better it gives you the audio so that I can hear how names and places are pronounced.

    Melissa, this might have seemed like a quick and simple thing to you but it truly was an eye-opener for me. Thanks so much!

  33. Christa Hutchins (P31 OBS Volunteer Team) says:

    I want that robot man to read the Bible to me all the time! I looked at that verse in Romans in the Message after the conference call this week (wasn’t that call amazing!?!?!). I am focusing on embracing the life God has given me and calling it the Good Life!

    • Gail Harless says:

      Robot man…that’s why I just love you, Christa. You’re hilarious!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:


      He scared me just a little bit when I first heard it coming out of the speakers! 🙂

    • When I was a young mom, I would listen to my daily Bible Reading for the day from … and listen to the words being read while emptying my dishwasher, making dinner, etc. Can’t go wrong with God’s Word pouring into my heart and mind!!

  34. I usually have my phone with the Bible app and two or three different versions around me when I study the Bible . I didn’t realize that Bible Gateway had these options available. This is a great tool for studying and getting a better understanding of what the verse is saying. This is a powerful verse, I like the way the Message puts it but I also like how in the NLT version it says “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (Romans 12:2a NLT). What I like about that, is that it really brings out the point that it is God that has to transform us, it’s not something we can do ourselves. The only thing we have to do is invite Him in to change us and be open to His leading.

  35. I have never used a parallel Bible before but, I am so excited about this because I usually use my Bible app on my phone to look up different translations. I like this better because you can see the translations side by side.

    And I saw Romans 12:1-2 in a whole new light! I loved how this translation pointed out about our normal, everyday lives and not fitting in with culture.

  36. pls tell me how I can get this. Went to biblegate website but it’s confusing and I didn’t see anything listed as “online parallel bible” . Thank you.

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Hi Priscilla!

      Are you on a phone or computer? If you’re on the computer just type in the verse and click on the icon once the verse comes up. This is a bit harder to do on a phone, but there are a couple of ways to do it. Let me know if this helps!

  37. Gail Harless says:

    Well, I don’t understand! I’m so lost! When I open Bible Gateway on my Android, I don’t see any of what you were talking about. No parallel option, no cross referencing. Help!

    • Gail Harless says:

      I’m baaaack! I went in using the browser on my phone, and it worked! Wow, the Message! Romans 12:2 really stirred up some feelings for me when it talked about the immaturity of our culture. Because…I don’t like it when Christians sit in judgment of “the culture” of non believers. That pushes people away and makes it seem like Christ followers are somehow better than other people. Lecturing people will not in my opinion do anything to bring people closer to Christ. I try to reach out to people in love, establish a relationship with them, then tell them how Jesus has totally transformed my life!

      • Melissa Sherlin says:

        I’m glad you found it Gail! I think Romans 12:2 is all about allowing the transforming of our mind (as a individual), Kind of like being in the world but not of it. I am definitely not one to sit in judgement, but I am willing to allow the renewing of my mind. From the inside. ( That has to be with my heart)

  38. Brenda Thurman says:

    Good morning sisters
    That’s neat thank you for bringing it to our attention. I usually have my KJ version, The Amplified Bible (Joyce Meyer ) and a couple of others when I am doing a study. But I always keep my King James first. I think we need to be careful about other versions though because if we aren’t careful we can be told wrong. But that’s my opinion. I am going to use this with my studies though now. Thank you very much for bringing it to our attention

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Absolutely Brenda! I use this version a lot to make sure that I’m not missing something in the translation. I often refer back to the KJV and love to look back to the original languages as well. Thanks for great advice!

    • Brenda that is sort of how I feel, espeically about the Message and more contemporary translations or interpretations.

  39. Thanks for the instruction, it was very helpful, for me who isn’t very comp. smart!

  40. Sabrina Ebert (Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team) says:

    This is amazing…love the video…love how you have given us no excuses! We need to just seat ourselves down and prepare our hearts. The tools available is wonderful. I just parallel Romans 12:1-2 and loved it! Bless you sweet lady for allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you to lead us!

  41. Beth Ogden says:

    I use the Bible app, and it allows you to read different versions. That is Joe I discovered the version easiest for me to read. I also use it to map my verses so it helps me understand what I’m reading. I love it!

  42. I use the Bible app. I have it on my phone and my iPad. I can change the version any time I like. I do it quite often simply because I am fascinated by how each version speaks to me.
    I recently installed Bible Gateway as well. I am looking forward to using this tool in my studies.

  43. This will date me, but before Bible Gateway, I own about 5 different versions of the Bible that were either given as gifts, or a couple I purchased to find the one that I was comfortable with. I did find a Bible that I love, that it worn, but I love it. It helped me so much when I used it to take my year walk through the Bible for the first time. I am just learning this app, so thank you for sharing so I can fully utilize it.

  44. I’ve used parallel and the Message for quite a while, but never like this. Thank you for showing us. I definitely need Romans 12:2 memorized and on my mind- so easy to fall into the “world” trap.

  45. Lynn fincher says:

    Loved this video this morning Melissa Sherlin. The different versions are great so you can compare and see the different translations. Thanks for sharing ..Enjoyed it…

  46. I have used biblegateway to look up passages, but have not taken the time to explore it. I also have never used a parallel bible before. I have always looked up other versions the “old fashioned way”. Ha! What a wonderful tool, and right under my nose! Thank you for sharing!

  47. Hello P31OBSers! 😉
    Something Ive been struggling with, I find different versions succumb our ability to meditate and even think. So I have never tried it.
    These tools are great when we get lost on a verse, but Id rather be careful on how much I DEPEND on more elaborate versions. What dya guys think? Help me out 🙂

    • I can definitely understand your thoughts on this and that is why my Bible of choice is the KJV for studying and meditating on God’s Word; I use as many tools as I can to get a better understanding of His Word, so the other avenues of studying and other versions are all great to have in your library.

    • I agree!

    • Sabrina Ebert (Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team) says:

      I believe that we all need to work out what best works for us. If this is putting some stops in your tracks then by all means don’t use it. The main thing we need to do it get to our knees before we start our Bible Study and we ask the Holy Spirit for direction. God will not allow us to be side tracked from the truth. His Word has remained through many generations and it will stand for all time.

    • Melissa Taylor says:

      I love this conversation so much! And I love the way y’all are respecting each other’s different thoughts and opinions. Feb, thank you for asking tough questions! I hope the reponses are helpful!
      Here’s my thoughts on this:
      If you are in God’s Word & your purpose is to grow in understanding, wisdom, and application, then I think it’s a good thing to use tools and resources if that helps you. I’m so thankful for these things, as I spent a lot of my life not fully connecting with God’s Word because I just didn’t understand it.
      However, if you do better with one Bible version over another or become distracted or aren’t sure how you feel about using another version or resources for help, stick with your one Bible and that’s a good thing too.
      Agree completely with Sabrina~ Pray before we begin Bible study and ask for direction. James 1:5 tells us to ask God for what we need and He will gladly give it. 🙂
      We all have different styles of learning and absorbing information. The important part is that we are in God’s Word and we absorb it and learn to live it.
      I love this Bible study! Y’all are amazing!

      • Melissa Sherlin says:

        Great conversation!

        • Thanks a lot guys!
          I just wrote my heart out 😉 . And like Sabrina said, God will not allow us to be side tracked. Amen to that! Praise God for such an awesome body of Christ . Thanks for those encouraging words.

  48. I’ve used Bible gateway for a while, but had no idea about the parallel. How stinkin’ cool is that! Thanks for the tip, opens a whole new avenue to my Bible study 🙂

  49. These are all great Bible Study tools and I have been using them for years. There was a time that I too didn’t understand the KJV of the Bible, but because that it what I grew up learning and studying, it is now my favorite version to study from. I have all of the other versions as well and it’s an awesome tool to possess. I thought that I would never understand the book of Romans in the KJV; it was driving me crazy and I would get so frustrated. Then, during a Bible Study class that I was taking, the instructor introduced us to the book of Romans in the NIV version. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven right then and there!!!! God had finally allowed me to better understand His Word in another way. I praise God for every tool and opportunity to dig deeper into His Word……there is an app called MySword for Android and it is amazing; I encourage everyone to download this app to see all of its benefits.

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Awesome Audrey! I will have to check that one out! I’m always looking for ways to take my study deeper! I often refer back to the KJV myself. It was really hard to understand as a 12 year old, but I have found as I have grown it makes sense now! The NIV is what I found too! Thanks you so much!

  50. Good morning everyone! It’s Hump Day!! My kids hate it when I do that. lol I have used Bible Gateway before, but my go to is a program I have installed on my computer called Bible Explorer 4.0. I am sure there is an updated version, but this has helped me in so many ways! I can not only use the parallel and cross referencing but commentaries and topical bibles ALL ON THE SAME PAGE! Now I didn’t pay full price. I went on Ebay and found a brand new one discounted.
    I did read Romans 12:1-2 and I have to say these verses are powerful in every version. The Message brings it down to daily life and for those who may not have been studying their bible for a long period of time. I love to quote the KJV but the NKJV is my favorite to read and study with. Hope you all have a great day!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      That’s great Marsha! I will definitely check that one out! I could just hear you saying it’s “hump day” in that silly camel voice! have a great day!

  51. I love the idea of using a parallel version of the Bible for comparison! I started using Bible Hub last week after Sarah’s post about cross referencing and noticed that I could view different versions of each verse. This particular tool is more specific to the purpose of seeing the texts side-by-side, which helps me think more about the intent of each verse. I love the voice feature of Bible Hub to help with some of the more difficult names.

  52. Thank you Melissa for sharing. Loved it. I do use Bible Gateway every week thanks to all of you ladies and your teaching. Like you I date much further back and I remember the first time I had my hands on a Bible that was not King James and I was married at the time. We are so, so blessed to have all these tools at hand to use. May we cherish that and use them. Love you girl. Thank you for all you do. Great teaching!

  53. Good morning. I have never used a parallel Bible before, looking up the verses in Romans at Bible Gateway was eye opening. I love that you can see up to 5 side by side. I have many versions of the Bible and use them at different times, but when studying Scripture this way is much easier to use. I would never go completely to online Bibles but, for study this will be great.

  54. Mary Jo Cyr - Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team says:

    Thanks Melissa….I didn’t know what a parallel Bible was or being able to use that feature at I ‘m going to go write these steps down now and put the instructions in my Bible for future use. Great job and thank you for your help.

  55. I use the English Standard Version (which I love), and whenever I find a passage or verse that’s a bit difficult to understand, I use the New International Version. The thing that I think one should be very careful about is the fact that sometimes the different versions are not a translation but an interpretation of the original, so one should be wise when using different versions.

  56. I really like the parallel in The Message. Really makes it easy to understand. However, I could not get the voice part to work on any of the versions…..??

  57. Shari Enns says:

    I just fell in love with Bible Gateway even more. I didn’t know you could do the parallel thing. Thanks for showing us that. And my first Bible was a KJV too, and I’m not old yet.

  58. I LOVE that version .. The message … I am a leader of GEMS ministry at my church (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior) and that is perfect for helping little ones understand some of the more complicated scripture!

  59. Nancy Cole says:

    I have 5 different Bibles. The Essential Evangelical Bible is a great study bible, along with the tools on the internet. The Bible I use daily is NIV because it is easy to read and understand. I love to have all these available. I, too, grew up without Internet and with KJ. So love Bible Study now.

  60. Miranda Miller says:

    I’ve heard of a parallel bible before but never used one. I didn’t realize bible gateway could do it. I will have to go check it out. I love the amplified bible but sometimes it’s not the easiest to understand with all the parentheses so I will not be going to biblegateway when I have trouble. I love Romans 12:1-2 in the Message bible. This verse really spoke to me.

  61. What a great tool! I love that you can cross reference and listen to scripture being read. The different versions offer such insight to verses that may confuse us, or be hard to read or understand completely. I read Romans 12:1-2 in several versions using and The Message Version was so strange for me to read… I’ve never read that version before. Am I the only one who felt it was not like even reading the Bible at all? I like to use KJV or NIV, those are the two I am most comfortable with.

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Sarah S,

      I’m glad you like the tool. I’m not sure that I would use The Message version for my everyday reading, but I do like having different versions to help me in my studies. I think this is a very personal choice for every individual.

  62. Janice Tanner says:

    Thanks for showing us this. I use Bible Gateway some but did not realize that it had all those tools.

  63. I was not using a parallel. I had one years ago until I move and misplace it. It’s an awsome tool to own and use.
    WOW, Romans 12:1-2 from the Message Version, love it……….
    I use Bible Gateway a lot but did not know all this info about it.
    Thanks Melissa Sherlin…

  64. MaryHeiden says:

    Hi Y’All! I’ve used parallel Bibles in the past but not often. I’m married to a Bible-loving Geek! He knows so many different ways to study the Bible, it’s mind boggling. We have a lot of those expensive books that he’s collected over the years. But I think the online ones are easiest to go to and can be very helpful. Especially since I’m already on my computer for this Bible study. Thanks for the cool websites and tips!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Awesome MaryHeiden! I love all of those books too, but I love having these Online tools to go to quick! It’s also a way to use this thing called the internet for a good purpose! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words!

  65. Leigh Ellen says:

    Thank You, Melissa, for such a great lesson on using parallel Bibles. Reading the Bible in different versions has been very helpful as I have sought to understand God in His word. Another study tool that I have gleaned greatly from is simply the dictionary. When I come across a word that I don’t fully understand or I just want to dig deeper into – I will grab my phone and hit an online dictionary to look up the word. Then I write the definition of that word in my journal. I will also take a peek at the synonyms for that word and list them, too, in my journal. This has been very instrumental in me being able to apply the Word of God to my life.

  66. I all ready had Bible Gateway bookmarked, so I went right there to parallel Romans. So interesting how different wording of the same idea can speak more directly/clearly. One version sounds good, a different version makes complete sense! When it’s my turn to offer devotions, I often do parallel research and end up with a blessing before I even share my devotional! Funny how that happens.

  67. Gina Bautista says:

    Thank you for the bible study tips! I do not use a parallel Bible. I have several different versions stacked up beside me at my desk: NIV, KJV, NKJV, NASB & enjoy flipping through the books and pages to study out God’s word. I did read Romans 12:1-2. I appreciate this passage in that it encourages you to renew your mind and fill it with God’s word!

  68. Kim Riddle says:

    I was blessed by a dear friend with a parallel Bible and I cherish it every day! To God’s Word in a way that just grabs my heart and takes my breathe away is awesome!

  69. I use the Life application series, with the extensive foot ntoes. I also use various versions, to really get harder passages. I like NIV and I have another a thome I can’t recall, it is the one with give 3rd graders at my church : )
    I hate to be a wet blanket, and I will watch my words, but I don’t particularly like the Message. I will leave it at that : )

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      You’re no wet blanket Trish! As I mentioned in my post, I may not have even seen The Message version if I hadn’t been using the parallel tool, I just thought this particular verse was really beautiful in that version.

      • I should have said my first version is NKJ, I am nto old but I am old school : )
        I like the easiest translation for anything Paul wrote. That man needs a grammar lesson in how to end a sentence!

  70. Rosemary Stevens OBS team volunteer says:

    I love Bible gateway and I parallel NIV and KJV. I love the way the King James Version flows like poetry, but for a deeper understanding I need the NIV.

  71. Thank you for sharing this learning tool Melissa. I didn’t realize Bible gateway had this. I am a Googler and when I don’t understand I search and search Google until something makes sense! Now it’s all in one place. I also agree that in looking for a bible that speaks to me this will help lots. I’m Catholic and feel like I am always looking for the perfect “catholic” bible. I think I need to get that thought out of my head and just look for the one that I understand and really hear Gods message through.

  72. No, I’ve never used a parallel bible before, in fact, this is all new to me! I know there are several versions of the bible but being able to view them side by side is fantastic. I did look up Romans 12:1-2. Normally I use the NIV version, but looking at it in The Message was so much more relatable! (I don’t think that’s a real word, but hopefully you know what I mean 🙂 )

  73. Lene Spencer says:

    First of all, I want to say that I that I love the saying “Oh my stars.” I will have to use that one myself! I have always used the KJV because that is the one I grew up with but it’s very interesting and helpful to read other translations listed in the parallel such as the ESV , NIV, and NLT. I agree that Romans 12:1,2 are very powerful and I cross-referenced them as well. It’s amazing how just these two verses can have so much spiritual information about Christian living!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Lol Thank you Lene! I have found this tool has really helped me grow, so now as I read the KJV I can understand it too! Thank you for kind words! God bless you friend!

  74. Nikki Burnett says:

    Thank you so much for introducing me to this web site. As a mother to 3 young girls I find myself sometimes trying to interpret what some of the verses mean after they read them. This will be an easy way for them to look it up for themselves and see what God is saying. And it’s a great tool for myself also. Thank you so much!!

  75. I love the all the additional perks with Bible Gateway. I use Bible Gateway all the time and yet I never used the buttons mainly because I use it on my iphone and didn’t even notice there significance. What fun. I love being able to dig in deeper with Gods words and this is a great tool. 🙂

  76. I have always been taught to only use the original King James Version because so many other versions change wording or sometimes leave things out and are missing from the Word. I really like this idea of the parallel Bible because then you can compare the different versions and do a deeper study. I like the verses from Romans this morning. It confirms to me that we were put here on this earth to serve God and that if we fill ourselves with this world, that is what will come out of us but if we fill ourselves with God’s word and his ways, then our minds and hearts will be transformed into his perfect will for us. I absolutely love this Bible study. it has gotten me back into being more intentional with my devotions and time with God.

  77. Brenda Schiesser says:

    Wow! I’ve been going to Bible Gateway for a long time and never knew this was there. I love this option and have often wanted to see what other versions had to say. This makes it so easy ………side by side.
    Roman’s 12:1-2 is powerful in any version but The Message really spells it out!
    Thanks, Melissa!!

  78. My absolute favorite translation of the bible is the NLV! I understand it. I also have had for years the Life Application Bible. It has footnotes that tell how the verses apply to our lives now. I love it! The Message is great as well and I use that version as a parallel. Bible Gateway is an app that I use a lot. I think it is awesome we have so many choices!!!

  79. Michelle Ward says:

    HI!!!! I am really enjoying these Wednesday doses of Bible skills. Thank you so much for teaching us new ways to dig deeper. I have never heard of the last 2 skills and I am so grateful! I also never would have read from the Message version if it wasn’t for this tool and I love it! Thank you

  80. Sarah Guevarra says:

    Yes, love this! I have been using a parallel Bible for a long time now, I usually read everything twice, in the different versions. I run a Jr. high ministry and find this is lost effective for their age group – those exact verses are currently our series verses and reading them in the Message really helped most to understand them better!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Sarah, thank you so much for your kind words! God bless you in your Jr. high ministry! That is how old I was in the story above! They are hungry for God & His Word. They are blessed to have a teacher to help them in a language they can relate to!

  81. I love the parallel Bible! It really helps you dig deeper and clarify concepts that may be confusing. Awesome!

  82. I have used for years to look up scripture, but I never knew about the settings options or the parallel options. I. LOVE. THOSE. FEATURES. Seriously, this will change the way I’m able to study scripture. And I did look up Romans 12:1-2 in the NIV and Message versions. Wow! I loved the parallel so much that I had to tweet about it. Thank you for these study tools!

  83. Good morning Melissa! Thank you for showing us hands on how to use Bible Gateway opening 5 verses at one time! I use Bible Gateway did not know about the 5 translations side by side. Love reading the Message translation. Here is my day Lord lead guide & direct me in the way I should go. Amen. Have a wonderful blessed day!

  84. I did look up Romans 12 in the parallel online and it was very interesting and will be very useful. However, I already do that in book form. I carry the amplified bible with me and do most of my daily reading (what little I get a chance to do) and I have a NIV loose leaf bible in two notebooks that I use if I need a new translation. I do not get to the computer for bible study often well now that I am part of this bible study I do but ordinarily I grab the physical books. I enjoy both forms physical book and computer. I have enjoyed this bible study and it has helped me a lot to have the interaction. To do the input of reading my bible is good but along with the output of interacting and then living what I read is better. Thanks for this opportunity.

  85. Thank you. I have used Bible Gateway before to look up scriptures, but I wasn’t aware of all the things you can do in there. I have bookmarked it so that I can go back in there again. I once had a pastor friend that told us to use several different versions of the Bible to be able to fully understand what we were reading. I too have a collection of different versions of the Bible, but will be using the Bible Gateway to do my cross referencing now. Thank you again for the lesson and God Bless you.

  86. Yes, I really do like this. The Bible I use is very understandable and it has notes like “putting the word to work” and “life points” that help me apply the message to my own life. Thank you for showing a new way to read the word…

  87. I have not used the Bible parallel tool. However, I have struggled in the past without going to other verses in the same study Bible to decipher what I was reading in one passage. My personal favorite version of the Bible is the NIV. It’s my go-to!

  88. Linda Estridge says:

    Wow! Thank you for that! I never realized there was a way to parallel read Bible verses and I love The Message! That verse touched me in a way it never would have before.

  89. I have never used the parallel Bible tool before, but I know I will often in the future. I have been wanting to get a new Bible and this will be the perfect way to find which version is right for me. I really enjoy the Message translations – I love that it’s in “everyday” language and written in a way I can understand and apply to my life. Great stuff for a newbie life me! Awesome post!!

  90. I use both and all the time and love it. was new to me. I use every tool that I have access too, including ibooks, videos, audio podcasts, etc. Sometimes I can start by looking up a word and end up days on a website reading about history and background info, but then I digress. Love all the digital and new tech for understanding Scripture. But my favorite word to read still remains the Bible and to me it doesn’t matter if it is hand held or digital.

    • I am new to using online tools. I have used Bible Gateway, but my App on Ipad is not really user friendly, so I really haven’t used it much. I love the we used last week. Thank you for suggesting too. I have found myself spending hours now researching on the websites… love that! I’m with you though, the Bible, is still the foundation! I’ll continue to use my old worn out, leather bound Bibles (several versions now)… but there is an amazing amount of study tools available for research, study, history, etc. out there on the web, that’s awesome!

  91. I have never used this, but will in the future. Thank you for this information.
    I use the old fashion books for my understanding. I have a KJV, NKJV, NIV, and a CEV. Our Sunday school class uses several different versions and each one usually gives a different twist on the meanings.

  92. Natalie Braun says:

    I love parallel reading!! If I don’t get something I even pull out my german bible. sometimes it can get tricky though and I need to be carful to not get hung up on just one word! our bible is like a HUGE treasure box-the more you dig into the more treasures you find and it gets so precious to you!

  93. I actually haven’t done parallel studies in a long time, but agree this is a very helpful tool. I love Bible Gateway! The Message version makes scripture come alive with modern day language. Yes, very powerful!

  94. The website with the option to parallel text was neat. I will probably use this more often now, with NIV, AMP, and The Message. I think The Message version is good at putting the verses in modern day English, I enjoyed it.

  95. I actually enjoy and gain valuable insight from this method of sudying the bible. I use Bible gateway but didn’t realize it had that feature. Thank you.

  96. Tura klepfer says:

    Thank you for showing this! Now I don’t have to buy so many Bibles to confuse myself. I’m looking forward to using it.

  97. Diana Martin says:

    Thank you so much for showing us how to do the parallel bible. I have used gateway but did not know how to do this. I love the message version along with AMP and KJV. Looking forward to doing 5 at the same time. So exciting. I use ebible the most but will be trying this.

    • Diana,
      After reading your post I looked up the Message Version of Romans 12:1-2, I really like that version. The Message Version is new to me…Thank You!

  98. Wow!! I never knew that was even available!!! LOL….I’m dating myself also Melissa! What an awesome tool…I always have just changed the version to see what it says but seeing them side by side is so helpful. I’ll be using this tool a lot. Romans 12:1-2 has always been a powerful verse to me. The Message version used side by side with my favorite…King James Version…made it interesting to see how God wants our every moment of everyday. Thanks so much for this great tool!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:

      Awesome SaraC! We’re never too old to grow in the depth of the knowledge of our Lord. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  99. Good Morning,
    I have not used a parallel Bible. After looking up Romans 12:1-2 I now understand how helpful this will be and that I will be able to dig deeper into my study. I have been confused as to how to study the Bible. Thank you for the tips you are giving us. I believe these will help put most of my confusion aside. I am very much looking forward to any other tips you are going to share.
    Have a great day everyone!

  100. I’ve used Bible websites, mostly Bible study tools, to help understand a passage better before but knowing that this particular website had this feature is awesome and enhances my enthusiasm for more bible study.
    Thank you for that and also asking us to read The Message version of that passage. It felt like God was speaking to me like in devotional books.

  101. Susan Henson says:

    I have yet to try to your suggestion this morning, but I read the KJV because that’s what my pastor reads from and recommends. I find the KJV to be very understandable, especially when I pray first for understanding!

  102. I enjoy using Bible gateway to find different versions of the same verse. I have a NIV Study guide bible and a lot of times the CEB version helps me understand the verse just a bit better.

  103. If you’ve never heard it, the background story behind how Eugene Peterson came to write The Message is pretty cool …

    One year Family Christian Stores had hot pink leather versions of The Message on sale at Christmas for just $5. I splurged and bought like 7 of them and gave them away as gifts. Sooo special!! 🙂

    Awesome post, Melissa! Such a great skill to learn and we use it (the online parallel) all the time with our Encouragement for Today devotions. 🙂 It’s also helpful for any time you might do missions work, or ministry in another language!!

  104. Wow! I love the parallel! I already had the Bible Gateway app but didn’t know about this feature. Reading “the message ” version of Romans 12:1-2 right after I read the NIV version put a depth to the verses. Thanks for sharing this.

  105. I have never used any of these resources to help me understand God’s word but will definitely be using them moving forward! Like Karen mentioned in her book, I sometimes feel I am distracted when I read or pray and seeing the deeper understanding of what I’m trying to understand, can help keep me on task and interested in learning more. Thank you SO very much for sharing these great online tools.

  106. I have used the parallel option in Gateway often. But completely forgot about The Message. What a great reminder – thank you. Right now I am having a difficult time with some of the verses I’m reading in Romans. So the timing is perfect. Now I will pull up The Message to go along with my daily reading.
    I would like to add – thank you each and everyone of you at Proverbs31. I am learning so much with this study. Still struggling with keeping the mouth shut but at least I am learning and being given tools.:) And I love all the bible study tools that are being shared. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

  107. I like the Message version because I think it makes it more applicable to my life and I can clearly see how it relates to me. Sometimes when I am using the KJV or even the NIV I feel like it is about Bible people whereas the Message version feels like it is directly talking to me.

  108. I really appreciate these extra tips on how to get more out of reading and studying. I have read MANY verses and then sat there going “huh?” I like learning how other people use different resources to further their understanding. I also know that history plays a big part in how things happened in the scripture… like cultural influences, what was going on in the region, how things were viewed back then by society. Does anyone know an easy way to get that kind of backgroud as well? I love when the P31 ladies explain a verse and also give cultural background that helps to better understand the “why questions”.

    • Great question, Michele! Everyone has their own approach, but personally I’m a fan of the Life Application Study Bible. It comes in a couple of different translations like the NIV, New Living Translation (NLT) and King James Version. (I have the NIV but love the NLT as well!) Lots of helpful background and insights there! 🙂

  109. I frequently use the parallel option from the Gateway website and I used to have a 4 translation parallel bible of the KJV, NKJV, NIV and one other version that I can’t remember. I gave it away to a friend, but now I use the Message bible because it is always so clear for me when I read it. I love it!

  110. Hey girls! I agree Melissa, boy back in the day the KJV made me sleepy! Was so hard to follow along; but even back then, living in a non “biblical” home, I knew I needed to read the Word. I tried so hard! Then when I became an “adult” and moved out, I knew I needed a bible that I could follow along; I searched. It sure wasn’t like it is today with so many versions available. While at Kmart, on full display was “the BOOK”! If I remember correctly, there were commercials about it on TV, as an easy to read Bible, that anyone could understand!
    Money was tight, but I bought it. That Bible is marked up (back then, it was still taboo to write in your Bible, now we have art journaling on pages! WWWoww have we come a long way babeeee!), pages are crinkled, cover is curled up separating at the edges… and is still my favorite bible. I have since added many versions to my collection, and use them all… but the Book is where my heart is, as a woman growing in Christ, I hold it near and dear. Those were my beginning days of believing God at his Word! What a blessing that version was, it brought the Word of God to LIFE!!!!

    And, now as I look back, the notes are so wonderful to review! (ladies mark those pages, it will show you how you have grown, what you have learned – AND journal! You are a GOD GIRL – because of this WORD!)

  111. I am LOVING these online tools being shared. While I’ve been in the practice of looking up multiple versions of a verse for better understanding, I didn’t know of this tool. Thanks so much for sharing these helpful tools with us!! You’ve just made my study time so much easier! And I agree, the message version of Romans 12:2 is powerful! That’s not a version I tend to look up often so thanks for suggesting it for this verse 🙂 I will definitely be using this tool regularly.

  112. Breann Lyle says:

    I have previously used different versions to try to understand my readings for the day and I find it very helpful. Growing up we always had the KJV as well and I never understood what I was reading. Now I tend to use NIV and love that translation but sometimes still have a hard time understanding what I’m reading. I definitely think I’m going to start looking at a few different versions to help me understand from now on instead of just mulling it over and confusing myself ever more! Thank you so much for your great tips and tricks. They helped me so much. I absolutely love doing the P31 studies!

  113. I, too, have a pink Bible. 🙂 Thanks so much for introducing this online parallel Bible — what an amazing tool! I struggle all the time with understanding the verses and this tool is a blessing. I’ve been looking up all these verses that I had questions. I especially like The Message version.

  114. Althea Minto says:

    Goodmorning everyone, I just want to say thank you all for sharing ways and mean for us to read God’s word, I really like what I’m seeing and I am having a feast.

  115. Thanks for showing us how to use that. It’s going to be a big help. Loving the book and learning from you all!!

  116. Thank you so much for your post! It is comforting to know that I am no the only one that has struggled with the KJV. It is such a beautiful version. I love the THEE’s, THOU’s and THINE’s, but……I have difficulty comprehending. I grew up in a church where the KJV was the one and only source and as a teenager I struggled mightily trying to study and learn. It wasn’t until the last year or so that I prayerfully set out on my own to experiment with other versions. I started to read the NLT and was immediately captivated with the Bible as never before! I have read it through once since then and am on day 90 reading through it again. I use my KJV version for Sunday School and Church and find that I am gaining a greater understanding of it as well.

  117. Your past frustration about understanding the Bible and feeling overwhelmed by all the different versions in the bookstore described exactly how I felt. I had never tried the parallel Bible until now. Thanks so much for sharing this valuable resource!!

  118. Samantha Waring-Jolicoeur says:

    I use Bible gateway often. I really enjoyed reading Romans 12:1-2 in the Message version. It gave me a clearer understanding of the scripture.

  119. Maria G. Noriega says:

    Thank you so much for providing this, tools like this will sure help us make the most out of this wonderful experience!!!! My first and current language is spanish, so sometimes when I want to coment or quote a verse, it is good to see both english and spanish translation. Cheers and thank you again!

  120. Good Morning! I have done cross referencing in bible studies and in Precept Bible Studies in the past. I use and like the New King James Version Study Bible. I have used Concordance too. I find it helps to understand and study the verses to get more meaning out of them. I’m doing a BS that was started at church called “Shattering Your Strongholds” by Liberty Savard and referencing it with “The Bondage Breaker” by Neil T. Anderson and it has a workbook. I find highlighting to be a useful tool. I have a hard time remembering and containing what I read. I know verses in the Bible but can’t look them up. I have done some BS done by Kay Arthur and Beth Moore and enjoyed them. I use to belong to Women’s Aglow, Int. and in college was involved in Campus Crusades for Christ. I use to attend the First Baptist Church but now a member of the Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Free Methodist Church in Omak. God Bless, Vicki Vieth

  121. I have a pink bible too!!!

  122. Only part of my post showed up… I love using Bible Gateway to compare verses of scripture. Just recently started using it. Wish I started sooner, it’s so helpful!
    Have a blessed day!

  123. Lucinda Humphrey says:

    Yes I did look up the scripture using a parallel bible with the KJV and the message bibles. I also looked it up using the NLT and the Amplified versions. I always read the NKJV and it is usually the translation that I read first as I begin to study Gods word but I also use the NLT and several other version to help aid in my understanding. The NLT is my favorite to read mainly because I can just get lost in reading it. I think it is very important that we use all available resources to assist us in studying and growing in our faith. We need to dig deeper and actually study the word instead of just reading it to help me to live a victorious life in Christ. Thank you for this study.

  124. this is a great site I cannot wait to try it. I can be doing dishes and listening to the Bible which in turn my man will over hear…I like it. I hope that it can read like a whole Psalm or chapter of the Bible.

    • Melissa Sherlin says:


      This made me smile! Yes, it will keep reading it. There are other versions and voices on there too I believe!

  125. Thank you for sharing these resources. Like a lot of the folks who have commented here, sometimes I will come across a passage in Scripture that makes no sense, and I will pull out every version of the Bible I have (KJV, NKJV, Living Bible, Catholic Study Bible, Oxford Annotated Bible, and Study Bible for Women) for a translation that makes some sense. But the online resources are the best, Bible Hub and Bible Gateway. I’m also taking a class at church in Scripture for Life, taught by one of our deacons and his wife, and they encourage us to use Lectio Divina when reading Scripture. Thank you again!

  126. Yes, I use a parallel bible of the Message and NIV versions of the bible and I love it. It is fun to see the modern day version and helps me to understand some of the older versions of the bible better!

  127. Thank you so much for all the helpful info. Although I have been reading Bible Gateway for a couple of years now, I was not aware of the tool of parallel Bible. That is so awesome! It is something I will definitely use. I am also blessed to be part of the “Keep it Shut” online Bible Study. God Bless!

  128. I have a parrallel Bible but I just haven’t used it much. I have fallen in a rut where I have MY version. I have a tendency of being lazy and not wanting to put more effort in it than absolutely necessary. I have to fight this, but it does permeat in all areas of my life. Today, I did look up Romans 12:1-2, and that is powerful! It is something I am going to meditate on today. And I love that Bible gateway made it so easy!

  129. This is so helpful tool to study I like the different verses it shows and I can read it at work on my phone.I also use biblegateway and my bible us a study bible two versions side by side which helps when reading the word. Have a wonderful day.

  130. Christy Telese says:

    No I don’t use a parallel bible while I’m reading the bible. But, I do look in different versions when I don’t understand a verse. To be honest, I only did the one short cross referencing work sheet. I haven’t applied it to my bible reading. I haven’t been intentionally reading my bible either. Just like everything in my life I have good intentions, but never follow through. I need help with being more intentional and finishing things I start. I did look up Romans 12:1-2 in The Message it’s beautiful. That’s why I’m not point because I’m not giving my life completely to God. I’m allowing the culture around me bring me down. Please pray for me give the strength to be intentional & stick to it, help me understand & retain what I read. Thank you ladies. Hope ya’ll have a great day!

    • Melissa Sherlin says:


      I’m praying for you sweet one! Don’t give up girl. Give yourself lots of grace, it is a lifelong process for all of us. You are in my prayers.

    • Christa (Proverbs 31 OBS Volunteer) says:

      Oh Christy. Thank you for being so honest about where you are. You can do this!
      Lord Jesus, please bless our sister, Christy, as she works at drawing closer to you. Show her the specific ways you want her to intentionally seek you. Give her insight into your Word so that she can clearly hear your message to her. Love on her and encourage her. And show us how to do that in your name. amen!!

  131. I have not used an online parallel Bible, but I did look this verse up and I like the idea of using the website to help me understand verses better or get more translations on a particular verse. Roman 12: 1-2 was a powerful verse and I think it does speak to the world today and what is going on around us. I admit, I do get caught up in what’s going on around me that I do let it sometimes discourage me.

  132. I have never used parallel Bible before, but I can see myself using it again in the future. It was cool lining up a few versions and reading them all. Thanks for the helpful tips!! 🙂

  133. Lisa Sanders says:

    Oh my! I definitely believe The Message Bible will benefit my 15 year old son! Our pastor uses several versions of the bible so I’m familiar with this version. He’s “going through” the 15 going on 30 syndrome or something :/

  134. Lisa Sanders says:

    Regarding my post earlier – that would be my SON going through the 15 going on 30 symdrome NOT my pastor! LOL! I read my post after I submitted and it appeared I was speaking of my pastor!

  135. Lorrie Barela says:

    I have Our Daily Bread Devotional Bible. I love my bible! Thanks for the great info to Bible Gateway…..very interesting and insightful. I will be using that site a lot.

  136. Thanks so much for the video today showing how to use the Bible Gateway. It didn’t work quite as well with my downloaded app, but when I went to the website it followed along with the video perfectly. I have used Gateway for some time but didn’t know how to use the other features, so helpful.
    Loved doing the comparisons on Romans.

  137. Thank you so much for sharing the parallel Bible with us! I look up Scripture all the time on Biblegateway and I have never noticed this feature before. I will definitely start using it, because it really does help you understand a verse when you read it in the different translations. Yes, I read Romans 12:1-2, a reminder of my “reasonable service,” because Jesus gave so much for me! Thanks again!!!!

  138. I use online bibles all the time…I discovered the apps becausee I have a vision problem and need the ability to make the print really huge to be able to read. I love this tool…and that’s a fantastic way to find commentary notes, lexicons, etc. Very seldomn to I refer to The Message version…I love this study and just thank you all for this one!!!1

  139. Aww, A lot of us are with you Christy T., Never give us, Thankful for Gods Grace.

  140. Michelle P. says:

    Thank you for the tip. I did not realize the Bible Gateway did parallel. So cool!

  141. Another good Bible to use for comparison is “The Voice” It is written like a play. Like reading a story and it puts you in character.

  142. I just saved this on my iPad as a “Favorite”! What an awesome tool to dig deeper into the meaning of verses that we are studying and contemplating.

  143. Thank you for introducing me to Bible and the Parallel. I love it!

  144. This is an awesome tool and I have bookmarked it on my iPhone! Thanks so much for showing me an easier way to study the Word and draw closer to God. Have a blessed Wednesday!

  145. I LOVE the idea of parallel bible study – it is absolutely amazing. I used the New International Version and The Message and compared them side by side for Romans 12:1-2, and I was blown away by how The Message offered so much clarification to the NIV version of the scripture. I even wrote down my own thoughts on it, and to be honest, this is the first time I have ever read and fully received the message in that passage of scripture. And of course, it makes so much sense. That is one thing I am constantly telling friends who aren’t Christians and have never picked up a bible, or are Christians but don’t refer to the bible much. If you read it, the Word of the Lord makes SO MUCH SENSE, and really reveals how foolish the ways of the world truly are. I am definitely going to use this as research to see which version of the bible best suits me for study. I will also be using parallel bible study AND cross referencing in conjunction with each other. Again, absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for sharing! So loving this bible study and how much it is already enriching my life 🙂

  146. Debbie Hodge says:

    Wow! What a wonderful new tool you have given us today! I used the online parallel Bible to read Romans 12:1-2. What a better understanding it gives comparing the different Bibles. This will be my new favorite way of reading the Bible. I also love the audio version.
    Reading The Message version of Romans 12: 1-2 explained the Word more clearly and also had a more profound impact on me too!
    Thanks again for sharing!

  147. Stunning… I read Romans 12:1-2 in my KJV and then, did the parallel look up, message version. The language went from foreign to one of the most profound and simple instructions to honor GOD.

  148. Thanks so much for sharing this! I have used Bible Gateway many times and I wasn’t aware of the parallel feature. I usually read the NIV but I like seeing the other versions right next to it. This will definitely help me to understand the bible better.

  149. Dona Rodriguez says:

    I love the Bible gateway it is a very useful tool. Although I also love to feel the physical book in my hands. Sometimes I love to just get the books, commentaries etc. and spread them on my bed and just start studying.

  150. Like you this has been my problem with digging into God’s word, for the simple fact that I either ended up getting overwhelmed by the names or just my mind would wander off trying to figure out what it was I was reading.

    I have just now started to explore other options to understanding God’s word better and gaining a more intimate relationship with him. I have a parallel Bible (King James & Amplified), I also had gotten a NKJV study Bible that had really started to help with the studying portion of the word.

    Since this study I have gotton an ESV and I was headed next to get a message Bible but boy when I went onto gateway and pulled up like four different versions, saving the message version for last and after I read the message version it blew my mind.
    This has been what has been missing from my life and I am so glad for the Biblegateway tool, that is going to come in very handy and make my Bible Studies much easier.

    Thank you for sharing today’s tool. Sadly I had no idea something like that was out there for easy access on the internet but so glad I know now.

  151. I am beginning to appreciate The Message as I like to send my mom encouraging scripture that she can understand. I had a mental block against what I thought were watered down versions of bible as they seemed further and further away from KJV or NKJV. Always a work in progress!

    • missypettigrew says:

      Janelle, I have been able to see the Message bring hope and joy to family members that are usually not interested in anything the Bible would have to say.

  152. I have used NIV and ESV in the past to read the differences and try to understand more, however I’ve never come across the MSG and am SO glad that you’ve shared this with us! It is much easier to understand and much, much clearer!! Thank you!!

  153. I have been using the Amplified Bible for several years for my regular Bible reading. It has helped tremendously in my understanding.

  154. Thanks so much Melissa for sharing the bible gateway link. It is a fantastic resource. I have downloaded the app on my iPad . Love Pam

  155. Wow! Thank you Melissa S. for sharing this awesome Bible study tool! I frequently use but have never used the parallel Bible icon until now. I’ll be using it more often now. And yes, the Message version of Romans 12:1-2 is powerful. I’ve read the NIV version countless times, but the Message version spoke to me even more. Thank you!

  156. Miranda Freitag says:

    I use a parallel bible on some verses that I truly don’t understand. The message version spoke to me so strongly that I printed it out and it is now on my wall in my office!

  157. Terri Lanigan says:

    I use BibleGateway too but you showed me some options that I did not know about. Thank you! Romans 12:1-2 is very meaningful in the Messenger. I really appreciate it. I will share this with my daughter.

  158. What a blessing what you shared was Melissa. Thank you so much. I use Bible Gate Way & never noticed it had a parallel. I.Love.It.

  159. Do you use a parallel Bible to help you in your Bible study? How do you think it could be helpful?
    I am discovering so many new things on Bible Gateway that I hadn’t noticed before. Thank you. I’ve never used it for the parallel, but I regularly click the bottom option and look at a verse in “all English translations.”
    Did you look up Romans 12:1-2 in The Message version? Did you find it as powerful as I did?
    Yes and Yes! : )

  160. What a blessing what you shared was Melissa. Thank you so much. I use Bible Gate Way & never noticed it had a parallel. I.Love.It. The message version really drives home in today’s reality placing our lives before God as an offering.

  161. Courtney B says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the tool! It was very cool to compare the same verses on different versions, side by side. I have always read NKJV, but with The Message version, it makes it so much easier to completely understand. Thanks again!!! 🙂

  162. I like to use the parallel Bible study tool when I’m online- I especially like using
    The message version of Romans 12:1-2 was really good. I love how it expands on life making it all of the ordinary, simple things too- sleeping, eating, going to work! the everyday little things we do matter to God too and He wants those parts of us to glorify His name just as much as the “extraordinary” “big ministry” stuff.
    I also like the part of the verse that says “readily recognize what He wants from you and quickly respond to it” Amazing! Find out what pleases God and then DO IT. It’s just that simple (…kind of ;0) )

  163. Loved how that worked never done that before and yes the msg version was very powerful. We are basically to give our all at all times even during sleep to God.

  164. Rebecca Seymour says:

    The message bible really put in today’s terms. I understand it so much better. I can apply it to my everyday life. Thank you for showing us the Bible Gateway parallel referencing. It is so much easier than trying to find the difference versions one at a time!

  165. I’m excited to use the more! I didn’t know there was a Message version and that will really help me in the future with understanding and thinking of things the way it should be thought. I LOVE cross-referencing as I feel like it helps me dig deeper to what I think the bible is saying and then I may go into the website and see if my thoughts are in line with the message version. Kind of fun stuff!

  166. Dedra Moore says:

    That was great. I use all the time but I have never used the parallel. I would go back and forth. I love the parallel. I love the Message translation. Our pastor uses the Message translation to help us understand in a deeper level. I did look up Romans 12: 1 & 2. No matter what, place it before God as an offering. Don’t get so caught up in this world that you forget about God. Reading the Message translation helped me realize that God cares about everything, things like sleeping, eating, going to the store, etc.

  167. Wow!! I’ve been on that site before but had no idea you could do all that!!! Thank you Sooo much!!! :):):):):)

  168. The parallel Bible enhances my study. I love how the Message Bible brings meaning to the gospel for me. I have used several Bibles as I studied for years and this one has always been a favorite. Being able to read several translations side by side is awesome!

  169. Hello Melissa and Everyone…..
    I bought 2 different versions of the Parallel Bible in hardback in order to get as many versions as possible to help me with verses that were difficult for me. It is a great tool that helps with scripture interpretation. Then someone in a Bible Study mentioned Bible Gateway so I also use that tool.
    And that is an excellent idea Melissa, if there is a name you aren’t sure how to pronounce, then hearing the audio version will certainly help with that! Thanks for that tip!
    I think the Message version of Romans 12:1-2 really deepened and expanded the interpretation of that verse into our everyday language so I can better apply it to my every day life! AWESOME!

  170. Thank you Melissa for this information, I cant wait to try out this feature!!

  171. This is awesome. I have used Biblegateway for years, but didn’t know it would do this. Thank you. I would just change it at the top and look at one at a time. I am so excited about this. I do have a new testament Bible that gives 3 different versions on a page. It is just so big and heavy, Thanks so much!

  172. Today is a good day! My reading has been all but disappointing! I loved chapter 6 and it made me happy to know I’m not the only one thinking that way. I am constantly feeling hurt just by reading all the hate and combat through FB…which I’ll admit I’m on way too often! As for the bible verse looked up, it makes perfect sense and something I would like to strive for! I have a study bible which really helped me understand what I’m reading but I have an app (it was Free!) That can translate all parts of the bible into several different variations allowing me to understand, not to mention how easy it is to choose a book and specific verse.

  173. Thank you so much for showing us this today. It had been recommended to me to get the Gateway. But then I seemed to get lost on how to really use it to get anything other than reading out of it. This was a great help the today and I know that I’ll be using it a lot from now on.

  174. I actually have a hugemongous parallel Bible with 4 versions and it’s very useful. I usually have my favorite version (NLT or ESV) and then use my iPad or iPhone to compare other versions 🙂

  175. Missy Davis says:

    I use Bible Gateway, also, as a parallel study tool and for cross-referencing and verse-chaining. I like the comparison between translations and reading passages in those I’m unfamiliar with just to see the difference. Like-just what is the the difference between the NIV and the NIV for the U.K.? It’s also quite awesome to see that no matter the translation, that God’s Word does not change!

  176. Lynda Miller says:

    I did find it “WOW”! First I have never used the Message version. I have KJV, NKJV, NIV, American Standard and HCSD. All are study Bibles for different purposes. I never use the KJV anymore. And I have never us d a parallel version but that changes today. There have been so many times that I have read a verse and thought “WHAT?” So I do use different ones to help me understand. I love study Bibles because I use others comments to figure it out. Last year I discovered the HCSB and fell in love with it so of course bring me the standard study one needed also the Eomen’s study Binle. Then I ran across the Jeremiah Study Bible (NOJV) before Christmas. So I got it. I think I won’t buy anymore because you have introduced me to BibleGateway. It will never be the same again.? Thank you

  177. Thank you Melissa for showing us the parallel Bible! I have not used a parallel Bible but I just discovered that my YouVersion Bible app has this feature. This is will be very helpful for me, especially paralleling with The Message version as the verse becomes clearer to understand and understanding it means knowing how I should apply it to my life.

    Reading Romans 12:1-2 in The Message version was powerful! Like God given instructions. 🙂

  178. I love my parallel bible. It me helps to get a better understanding of the text. Sometimes its the slight change in the wording that makes it come to life in my brain and speak to me at that particular moment.

  179. Tammy Barnard says:

    Hello ladies.
    Happy Wednesday to you. A great new lesson. Thank you Melissa. I did enjoy going to Bible gateway. I did find that the “Message (MSG) version of Romans 12:1 -2 quite a refreshing read. I’m so glad you taught us this today. I am enjoying learning to cross reference, and to be honest was wondering how in the world I was going to afford a new Bible right now. Very cool lesson. I have an avenue to use for not only cross referencing, but to read in a “new light”. Have a good evening.

  180. Ramona Richards says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that tool, I have used the Gateway Bible and didn’t know about Parallel reading.
    It is awesome when God’s word is being read and put into practice in our lives.

    Question, and I need to do more research but do you know? There is a version that is missing a few sections and verses? I thought in conversation it was The Message. I hope not because it is so much easier to understand.

  181. It’s really important to me to learn the KJV of the bible because that’s the version most scholars agree is the most accurately translated. But I do plan to get a bible study guide and read that as I read my bible. They have a couple that will help your understanding verse for verse.

  182. I too love the parallel bible part of my app….I am well old enough to remember pre-internet/smart phone days… I used to have 4 or 5 Bibles out all the time for this reason…Love technology! As for Romans 12:1-2…Bam!! This is so important for us today. I think social media and the internet have made our lives even more visable and so we have to be more conscious than ever on not conforming to the world and bending our values. I know I find it very hard sometimes. Thanks for the reminder today!

  183. Natalie Duhaime says:

    I have not used a parallel bible in past, but I intend to do so now. Yes, Romans12:1-2 was very powerful

  184. Mary Converse says:

    Love the parallel bible tip. I’ll be using that one in the future. Romans 12:1-2 is wonderful. Present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. Not fashioned according to this world; but transformed by the renewing of your mind, and able to prove the good and acceptable, perfect will of God. Tall marching orders indeed! Trying.

  185. Thanks so much for the info on the web site. I think this will be of great use to me as I study.

  186. I love using a parallel Bible. Thanks for sharing the bible gateway site. I had been on it before but didn’t realize this tool was there. I love the Message as it makes it so easy to understand.

  187. I found the same with KJV. It eventually got to the place that it was so familiar that I just read over it without see what it said. That was when I found refreshment in The Message. Patsy

  188. This could not have come at a better time as I am wanting a different version of the Bible. I’ve had this on my laptop but did not know about the option of comparing or that there was an audio! Awesome!


  189. Patricia Q. says:

    The ability to look at two versions of the bible is nice. The message was like getting the definition.

  190. All of these features are also available on the BibleGateway app, for those who prefer to use this format.

  191. Melissa, thanks so much for teaching this – I’ve heard of it before but never knew how to do it – this will be an awesome tool to use.

  192. carmaria Bradley says:

    This study has been awesome!!

  193. Melissa, I watched the youtube on parallel bibles and the myriad of ways you can parallel bible passages for study. Thank you ever so much for showing that. I love the audio part; as well. Sometimes if I am having a hard time understanding and I can hear “the Word” then I can gain a little better understanding.

  194. I did look up Romans 12:1-2 in both the NIV and the Message Bible. Yes, it is powerful! I actually carry a bible to church that has these two versions side-by-side in parallel. I do like using it! Thanks for introducing me to Bible Gateway. I have never used that but I will! Thanks Melissa!

  195. Martha Rodriguez says:

    I used the parallel reading I fudnt know about this tool and I love it because sometimes I love certain verse in certain versions. I’d have to look it up one by one in the different versions but now I can see it side by side. Learned something new I can see this as a tool to dig deeper into the word

  196. Yes! It was definitely powerful…and a great reminder that I really needed. Thanks! I have used Bible Gateway before, but never used the Message version for parallel reading. This seems to be a version I need to use with parallel reading in the future. Thanks for introducing this.

  197. I like the message version. It helped me to understand the scripture better. It was powerful!

  198. Kimberly Dodd says:

    My favorite is NkJ and NIV the Thompson addition, though I have mean types and versions yet I use the NkJ most bit when I an deep study I may have 4 or 5 out. Doing it that way helps me get a more indepth look at what the means of some of the words and what the spirit is saying to the church. I even have a strings and Greek and Hebrew dictionary to I love it gives me more understanding of what God I saying.

  199. Good evening, all! I just love The Message version of Romans 12. It is so much easier to understand. I have always used a KJV Bible because that is what the church recommended. But this is much better because if yu do not quite get the “jest” of the chapter, this is much more modern language! is awesome! Thanks,

  200. Nikki (P31 OBS Ministries Team) says:

    I loved these tips! I didn’t know that existed! I think it would be really helpful with understanding different scripture. I would look up the same verse in different versions, but seeing them side by side would help a lot!

  201. I am finding these Wednesday Bible study skills day so so so helpful! It’s broadened and stretched my bible study to implement each one each week. This week I also love how Karen talks about how she studies the Bible and what she does when she is struggling. I loved the just praying over her to-do list! Better than worrying about the to-do list! What a beautiful thing that this book has made it onto the NY best sellers list–wisdom for the masses!!!!

  202. Thank you for sharing this. It will be very helpful to me and my family.

  203. What an awesome tool! I did not know that existed….I will be using this…I have often wondered how a verse would read in another version. Thank you so much for Wednesday BSS!!! I am learning so many great tools to study my Bible more effectively.
    Blessings to You All


  204. Carrie Sherlin says:

    Woe! So I looked at that scripture in MSG version and… Woe that was amazing! Spot on here for some things that have been rolling around in my head. Do not fear for the Lord will guide you and direct you all days of your life.

    I have feared many times to take a chance, take a step because I feel like I’M going to screw it up and I’M going to get in the way of God. But if I am truly seeking after God and allowing him to have my life and ask and let Him direct me, then I have nothing to fear at all.

    Today as I was doing my regular chores ,I was on the phone with my mother, who’s in the hospital. I quoted to her “greater is HE that is in you than he that is in this world.” Soon after I got off the phone, the Holy Spirit convicted me, “you can speak a good game but when it comes to believing it yourself, that’s where you allow fear to take over and paralyze you. Do not fear yourself for it is not you doing these things, but I, God, through you.” After I repented and I heard these words “Do not fear, do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I was able to parallel both of the Scriptures and how amazing it is to see different versions side-by-side.

    Thank you for reminding me of this wonderful tool, I love using the parallel and hac used it many times before 🙂

  205. Wow!!! I had no idea that was available. What an awesome resource tool!!! Thank you for sharing this information!!!!

  206. I really like Bible Gateway and have the app on my IPhone and IPAD. I discovered the parallel feature by accident recently and find it extremely useful. I have looked at purchasing a parallel Bible in the past but could never find one that suited me; with Bible Gateway I can have the convenience of many choices of translations so easily.

    The Message was introduced to me a couple years ago by our Senior Pastor at our Methodist Church when we lived in Lincoln, NE. He taught a weekly Bible 191 class that had been going on for years. He took about 3 years to go through the entire Bible and then started over again. The church used NRSV version, which is okay, but he also supplemented with passages from The Message on occasion. I bought myself a nice version of The Message and find it very handy to clear up confusing passages for myself sometimes.

    I really love this Wednesday Bible tools session of this class. I especially learned a lot last week with the cross referencing tool.

    Thanks to some of you who mentioned Wendy Pope’s RTW class, I joined that and am finding it to be an awesome journey that seems to go right along with the Keeping It Shut!

    A friend and I also attend a Monday night Bible Study through Bible Study Fellowship where we are studying the life of Moses. All three studies seem to dovetail so well together that I have no doubt God’s hand was in the planning for me to be in this place at this time.

    Have a blessed rest of the week everyone. I see a pain specialist tomorrow morning and pray for some answers, constructive medical answers for me debilitating pain so I can live a life more pleasing to my blessed savior.

    My husband and I will make a 4 hour drive early Saturday to watch our 7-year old grandson play in 2 basketball games and then watch him in a school play. We will also get to see and suggle with our adorable 6-month old granddaughter.

    We’ll also visit my mom in the nursing home where she lives. That is a very sad part of the day. She is in the last stages of dementia and it seems she goes further downhill each time we see her. It is so painful to she such a strong woman reduced to a mere shell of who and what she once was. My husband just lost his older sister to liver cancer 2 weeks ago. One of my beat friend’s husband is about to lose his brother to brain cancer; a very sudden diagnosis and even faster decline. It seems death is all around.

    Have a blessed week everyone.


  207. Jana Williams says:

    I have a great (KJV) study Bible, and have compared different versions in the past, especially when having trouble understanding what the KJV is saying. This is my first experience with a parallel Bible though… I really like that …. and it’s so easy to do it online!

  208. Marty Hamernik says:

    I truly have to say that I am totally wowed by the Parallel Bible! I never knew I could do that. Stupid I know but really I didn’t. I love that I can look up scripture & compare one to another. Like Melissa Sherlin, I have multiple versions of the Bible. I love cross referencing the different versions & verses, but using the parallel Bible on Bible Gateway is so awesome. Thanks so much for introducing us to this new way of digging deeper =D

  209. That is very helpful. Thanks a lot

  210. Janet Dougherty says:

    I do not use a parallel Bible to help with my Bible study. A parallel Bible would be helpful to understand the scripture. I also grew up in church with only the King James Version. A local Christian bookstore told me that the KJV is written for a 12th grade level reader. No wonder it was so confusing.

    I did look up Romans 12:1-2 using the Bible Gateway website using The Message version. It was very powerful and the more simple language would be helpful in being able to understand what it is saying to the reader.

  211. Kamika Grant says:

    It was powerful in the message version. And I’ve totally done parallel before as a tool but I’ve gotten away from it so I thank God for this study bringing it back to remembrance.

  212. I never used the parallel Bible with Bible Gateway! This may have been already said, but Bible Gateway has a mobile app also. Thanks, Melissa!

  213. when I thought about it I guess in a way I do use a parallel bible. I use a program called e-sword that does exactly what the parallel bible does. I also have commentaries on this program which help me to further understand what I am reading.

  214. In addition to using the online tools I also have collected many different versions of the bible and like to use the real book sometimes. I am “old fashioned” in my studying sometimes as I like the real book in my hands to write in and highlight. I do understand that technology is a tool to help us, but I still stand by the physical process of looking things up and physically holding onto the book

  215. Thank you for teaching us how to use the online parallel Bible. Wow! I love it – can I say that? As for Romans 12:1-2, I realize now that my mouth is a part of my body and I must learn to bridle it. Thank you again!

  216. Wow! that is powerful!

    Romans 12:1-2The Message (MSG)

    Place Your Life Before God
    12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

  217. Cathy Bates says:

    I use an NIV/MSG Parallel Study Bible. It’s really amazing to see both versions side-by-side. There are some verses I love in the NIV and there are some I love better in the MSG and visa versa. I did read the Romans passage and the MSG version was extremely powerful!!! 🙂 I’ve also used Bible Gateway. It’s really cool to pick different versions and see how God uses that tool to speak to me. 🙂

  218. Question – how to I get the sound icon? it only shows up on the far left version. Thanks.

  219. Alexandra-Leigh says:


    Thank you so much for writing this blog post. Seriously. Thank you SO much.

    I’ve never used a parallel Bible before today. Having made use of the parallel Bible tool though, I can assure you that I’ll be using it, now that I know what it is, that I can access it, and that it exists.

    I did look up Romans 12:1-2 on My version of choice is the KJV, which I love, but reading The Message translation of those two verses blew me away.

    I tend to get hung up on details such as accuracy in translation, the efficacy of scribal transmission, etc., but, even though I recognized that The Message version of these verses were embellished, their truth was so potent, and spoke to me so directly, that, for almost the first time, I didn’t mind knowing that.

    I love the casual manner of address–“So here’s what I want you to do…” (The portions about our “ordinary life” also achieve a level of beautiful informality.). The tone and word choice make the words come alive in a conversational, personal, and very real way that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.

    The parts of The Message Romans 12:1-2 that most spoke to me–the portions I found to be most powerful–were these:

    Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.


    Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.

    Reading these verses in this translation provided me with an instantaneous answer to a question/problem I am/have been struggling with. My attention has been consumed by an inappropriate source for a while now (which has been making me anxious and sad), and there was such power in reading/hearing the solution in personal, direct language (even though I already knew the answer–Isaiah 26:3).

    It really drove the point home for me, and it moved me.

    So, again… thank you. And thank God!

  220. I have never used a parallel Bible and that is such a neat tool. I am certainly going to start. I loved the way I could read more than one version of Romans and get so much more from studying the word. God wants us to grow and to give all of ourselves to him and how could we not after all he has done for us. I am so thankful for ministries such as these. Thank you ladies #OBSkeepitshut#lovingeveryminute#

  221. Actually I found Bible-Hub just by happenstance and now I just love it. Out parallels, gives cross reference, and also gives multiple commentaries which really helps me to understand what I am reading.

  222. This is a technique I’ve never used…or at least to any real degree. Thanks so much! I’m anxious to get started!

  223. I have something to ask and I hope someone will get back to me…I’ve grown up KJV and I sometimes understand, and sometimes not so much… My mom has always acted like that I won’t learn right if it ain’t kjv but I see that alot of people read esv and niv and actually before I started this bible study I only knew there was kjv and niv… Why do people think that you can only read kjv…my pastor said that he doesn’t care which one we read from but he reads from kjv and are work books and stuff is in kjv…I’m rather confused, my aunt bought me a bible that has kjv and then something else written in red and she told me it would help me understand better I like it but it’s rather small and I like my big woman’s study bible its kjv but it has lots of other stuff in it…could I get more out of buying all versions.

  224. If I look at my bookshelves I must have at least 5 different versions of the Bible. One that I love is my Parallel Bible that has 4 different versions (Amplified, NIV, NKJV, and NASB). Only problem? It weighs so much!! The parallel on Bible Gateway is great and I’ve bookmarked it for future use. I just found that there is an APP for that!! The parallel is only available on the iPad but all versions are available on the iPhone individually. I also like to use YouVersions Bible App. It also has many versions that you can choose from and switch back and forth on. I love it!!

  225. This is an amazing tool. I have used Bible Gateway but not to it’s fullest since I did not know this parallel feature. Thank you for sharing this. I am so excited to get started using this!

  226. I love this post and your writing style, Melissa. 😀 I LOVE to compare different versions. Sometimes in small groups (Sunday school), many people will read their bible’s version of the verse we are discussing and it helps to get a deeper understanding of meaning. I sometimes search commentary, especially if it’s confusing. I love bible gateway. I use “New Living Translation” with life application~ it was given to me as a gift. But my first bible was “King James” and I like that one too. For some reason “The Message” version has always been hard for me to understand. I crinkle my face when I try to figure out what it means. Maybe it’s because I’m old fashioned. I’m not sure. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  227. Jo Ann Shipman says:

    I never knew! Thank you! I don’t know what I found that spoke to me more, the different versions to choose from, or having those read to me. Maybe it is because I can ‘envision’ the LORD speaking to me more?!

  228. Thanks, Melissa, for your thoughtful tools. I love but I am glad you pointed out the additional versions (like the Message and I also found the Amplified) on I may begin bouncing between the two resources. I appreciate your posts!

  229. Love it! Thank you so much for letting us know about these additional resources. Everything is making more sense to me now. 🙂

  230. This was very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  231. Can I get “real” here? I’ve been a believer my whole life. I’ve read my Bible cover to cover. I’ve attended Bible college. I know how to study the Bible and dig deeper. My challenge is that knowing the Word of God does not necessarily mean I LIVE the word of God or in the Spirit. The Bible gives examples where even Satan quotes scripture. My point is that knowledge doesn’t equal obedience. I am struggling in this study not so much with knowledge or deeper understanding, but actual obedience to the Word of God in living out what I already know. The issue isn’t whether I should use more care or wisdom with my words, but why I choose not to submit myself to the Lord’s instruction and how I get to a place of living in the Spirit every moment of every day.

    • Hi Meredith, I appreciate your wisdom and being real. I probably don’t have as much wisdom as you. I’m only a teenager christian (born again in 1999), but 39 years old in human years. 🙂 The Lord has been speaking to me that there is SO much deception from Satan, even in the body of Christ (which includes me). I have been praying God removes my blind spots and others in the church (body of Christ), and delivers us from Satan’s lies and deception. I agree with you that we need to get to the root cause of what causes us to not obey His Word. If I could learn to obey God’s Holy Spirit moment by moment, I could be such a brighter light in this dark world. May the Lord help us all live in obedience to Him and His Spirit and deliver us from Satan’s lies.

      • Thank you, Amber, for your response. I know my struggles so intimately that it’s hard to see the places where God is working great things in my life. I am sure the same is true for you and so many others in the Body united. I so desperately want to be perfected in Christ, but often forget to remember that I am still made of clay and oh, so human. I think what’s hard is to see the places where we are obedient to Christ or the places where we are getting it “right” and are attuned to the Spirit. There are seasons in our spiritual walk where we’ve come through one thing or another and are moving towards something else. When I look back, I see areas of tremendous growth and it is in those things that I need to take joy. It gives me hope and the assurance that God never leaves us nor forsakes us and it is for that reason that we continue to press forward and continually run the race set before us.

  232. Oh I just love this helpful post!!!!! Thank you for helping us all understand more about digging into God’s word.

  233. i downloaded the app and have a question:

    can you do parallel with the app? I can’t find it if so.
    Any help appreciated!!

  234. I’ve not used a parallel Bible in my Bible study before but I have physically placed my NIV and my Message Bibles side by side and compared them while trying to understand a passage. Romans 12:1-2 spoke to me more through The Message Bible. It got down and dirty about what I should be doing.

  235. Wow! The Parallel Bible tool blew me away with The Messages version of Romans 12: 1-2. I definitely see how helpful the video was. It helped me so much I now know what Study Bible version I want to purchase. The Message was just that a CLEARER Message for me to process. Thank you!

  236. Anne Poteat says:

    What an awesome thing to learn about with the parallel bible and the cross referencing from last week. Thank you for the information. I am running behind in doing bible study as I’m recouping from surgery and preparing for another on Monday. Reading and enjoying the book and all the comments.

  237. These is a great tool 🙂

  238. Charlotte says:

    I have read verses before from two different text to gain further meaning, but I love the idea of simultaneously being able to call up multiple versions. The ESV version of Romans 12:1-2 has the beauty and grandeur of the verse, while The Message lays the verses out in practical terms. Being able to see this side by side is very helpful. Thank you, Melissa.

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