LifeWay's online library provides array of resources
But what if, in a matter of minutes, you could take a Bible character, King David for example, and learn in what books he appears (17 in the Old Testament, nine in the New), what his name means (Hebrew for "beloved"), what he looked like (red hair, beautiful eyes and fair skin) and, in short, the story of his life (harp player, giant slayer, prophecy-fulfilling and war-winning man after God's own heart!)
With LifeWay Christian Resources' online Bible reference library, all that information and more is just a mouse click away. The feature, which can be found on www.LifeWay.com in the tools area, was added to the site in conjunction with Beth Moore's online Bible study, "Believing God." Since then, approximately 410,000 users have visited the library, viewing more than 5 million pages.
"LifeWay's vision statement clearly outlines the intent to provide biblical solutions for life," said Craig Kendall, manager of LifeWay's Web development team. "It wasn't even a stretch to realize the electronic application of that vision should include offering an online Bible library which provided the world with access to Bible translations and quality Bible reference materials. The online reference library is yet another way LifeWay continues to provide biblical solutions for life online."
Powered by Epiphany software, the site contains the American Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, King James, New American Standard, New King James and Young's Literal Translation of the Bible.
"LifeWay's online Bible reference library is a fully integrated, Web-based application that makes it unbelievably easy for anyone with Internet access to search and study a rich library of Bible translations and Bible reference books for free," Kendall said.
In addition to the six translations of the Bible, the library also contains abridged and unabridged versions of Matthew Henry's classic commentary notes, two devotionals, three Bible dictionaries, Strong's Concordance, Thompson's chain referencing and a cross-referenced list of Bible prophecies linked to the passages that show their fulfillments. There are tools for word study, which allow those without Greek or Hebrew training to understand the roots of words and subtle differences between the original language and the English language. Users can choose to read books page by page, or perform word searches and cross-references.
"One of the reasons we refer to the library as fully integrated is the built-in and automatic cross-referencing," Kendall said. "When viewing any verse in any translation, users can simply click a button to reveal a window filled with cross references to other places in the books in the library where the particular passage being viewed is mentioned or referred to. Imagine how much time it would take a person to go to a bookshelf, select each book and search that book for a reference to the passage they are researching."
Designers of the site wanted to make the library comprehensive enough for preachers doing research for a sermon or Sunday School teachers preparing a lesson, while also making it a tool that a layperson will feel comfortable using in daily Bible study.
In the six months that the reference library (www.bible.lifeway.com/crossmain.asp) has been up and running, pastors, Sunday School leaders and laypeople have already expressed their satisfaction with the tool. Elizabeth Holden, a member of MacNeill Baptist Church in Ontario, Canada, first used the library for the Believing God study.
"I found this to be an excellent Bible study tool, especially for looking up the meanings of the Greek words," she said. "I have had no training in Greek, but that helped me to understand the words better and allowed God to speak to my heart during the study. It was easier to have something online that I could go to in looking up the references to Scripture verses, rather than flipping through my Bible."
LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the world's largest publishers of religious materials, producing 180 monthly and quarterly products and more than 210 new undated products annually, including Bibles, church literature, books, music, audio and video recordings, church supplies and Internet services through www.lifeway.com.