I have a lot of books. Actually that is being polite. I have so many books it may raise questions about my priorities. But here is the problem. They are all in my office. I cannot remember the last time that I actually wrote a whole sermon in my office. More usual places for me include my dining room table, my home office (aka the guest room), airplanes, coffee shops (because that is where all the hip people write), hospital waiting rooms, and the occasional park. Sometimes, I remember to take some resources with me, if not for writing, at least to do some research up front. But often, I reach for what is at my fingertips: online resources. Here is a random, non-exhaustive list of some of my favorites.
BibleGateway – When I write sermons, I love to start in the original language of the text. But I can’t always do that. When I can’t, I like to search other translations. That helps me better get at the original meaning by comparing how different scholars have done the translation. BibleGateway has about a bazillion translations, all of them searchable. You can even add parable versions, meaning you can look at more than one translation side-by-side.
The Text this Week – I use this site even when I have access to all my other resources. I am not certain how useful this site is for lay folks (because I have simply never asked) but for preachers and teachers it is a treasure trove. I can’t tell you all the cool things on this site in this little post so let me just write about how I normally use it. You can search by scripture and then get access to translations, historical references, commentaries, exegesis, sermons, journal articles, children’s sermons, artwork and more. What is more amazing is that it is all free thanks to some generous sponsors and one very, very hardworking woman.
Scripture4All.org – Scripture 4 All offers free Greek / Hebrew interlinear Bible software. If you need a translation, that is software that allows you to see the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament side-by side with an English translation. This is a helpful to see what is going on in the translation. By nature of translating, every translation in an interpretation, so sometimes looking back the original text can help. I have some amazing software the does this, Bible Works, but I don’t always have access to it. Scripture 4 All’s software doesn’t run on my mac, but every book and chapter of the Bible is downloadable as a pdf in interlinear form. Awesome!
More next time.