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Studying and learning cross references can be confusing, and there are so many different ways to do it. However, there are a few things that should always be kept in mind that will make learning them easier. David Pentimone shares a couple things that will be helpful to studying and learning cross references.

Blue Letter Bible is a wonderful tool for studying the Bible and has a great resource for finding cross references. “When searching for cross-references in Blue Letter Bible, make sure to use the “Cross-References” tab to find additional cross-references! To use this feature, start by searching a verse reference in the search bar at the top of the page. When the verse pulls up, use your cursor to hover over the “Tools” box to the left of the verse. A small menu should appear that contains a purple tab entitled “Cross-Refs”. Click on that! The Cross-Reference tab is based off the commentary Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. This resource is invaluable in that it lists many possible cross-references to nearly any verse in the Bible whether it is directly referenced in the source text, alluded to, or merely contains a parallel thought process or truth. 

“When studying cross-references, try writing a short, one or two sentence summary of the cross-reference, and then tag it with the topic it covers to remember what it’s cross-referencing. It can be helpful to compare with different translations if you’re having a hard time summarizing or understanding the intent of the passage. Checking different translations is a breeze on Blue Letter Bible; simply hover over the “Tools” box to the left of the verse just like you would if you were going to search for cross-references. From the drop down box, select “Bibles” to see that verse in many different translations! Remember, the National Bible Bee uses the KJV, ESV, NKJV, NASB, and NIV, so it’s a good idea to rely predominantly on those translations as you research cross-references. 

“Just like any passage of scripture, don’t forget that the cross-references have a context! Whether you use Blue Letter Bible or a physical copy of the Bible, read the verses surrounding the cross-reference whenever you can to try and better understand what is going on. Who is speaking, and to whom? What are the events that lead up to the verse you’re studying? What is the author seeking to communicate? 

“God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). It’s through the knowledge of God that we have “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). So when you are studying cross-references, keep in mind that these verses are so much more than words on a page or a computer screen. They are the words of the One True God! These verses have application to YOUR life! After the reminder in Psalm 19:10 that God’s words are more valuable than gold and are sweeter than honey, we have this beautiful text on the application of God’s word that I would encourage you to keep in mind as you study cross-references: “Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11).”

Take these key things about studying cross references and start learning! Always remember that the goal is “to Know God’s Word and Make Him Known!” 

Written by NBB Alumna: Abigail Charleston