The Essential Guide to Verse Mapping: Step Two

The EssentialGuidetoVerseMapping2

Verse Mapping is a Bible study method that examines the context, cross-references, translations, and word meaning of a particular verse in God’s Word.

In my previous post, we discussed choosing a verse to study, assembling supplies, and Step One of examining the context of the verse.

The EssentialGuide to VerseMapping2

Verse Mapping Step Two: Other Translations

Now you’re ready for step two–looking at your chosen verse in other translations or versions of the Bible. This simple step can shed new light on the verse because a different version may translate the original Hebrew or Greek words with different English words that allow you to look at the verse in a new way. You gain new insight, a fresh perspective.

You can do this step with additional Bibles you own. Bible nerd that I am, I own English Standard Version (ESV), New International Version NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), Amplified Bible (AMP), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and The Living Bible (TLB).

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You can also look up your verse in different translations with a parallel Bible which contains several versions side by side.

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But the easiest way to do this is to use an online Bible site. My favorite site for this is Bible Gateway.com. Here is a screenshot of John 15:5 in ESV, NIV, NLT, and AMP.

John 15-5 in parallel translations

My go-to version is English Standard Version because it is one that stays very close to the original languages. NIV is a little more readable. New Living Translation often makes verses easier to understand. And I love the Amplified Bible because it expands certain words, giving additional meaning derived from the original languages.

With my chosen verse of John 15:5, I started out with ESV. But from the other versions, I can see that abide can mean remain. Abiding in Christ is remaining connected to Him. Perhaps remaining is more passive than abiding, reminding me that Christ is holding me. My role is simply not to wriggle away. From NLT I can see that bearing fruit is the same as producing fruit. And the Amplified Bible gives a little more meaning to “apart from Me”–“cut off from vital union with Me.” All of this helps me understand the verse a little better.

Using Bible Gateway

To look up your verse in multiple versions, go to BibleGateway.com and enter your verse in the search bar.

Then click on the “Add parallel” icon (note green arrow below):

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You can look at up to five versions at a time. To change the version, click on the little gray arrow next to one of the versions and a menu of over 100 versions will pop up (note yellow arrow in picture below.) Click on the version you want to look at.

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Now write your favorite versions into your verse map. I chose the Amplified Version and also The Message because they both added new insights. The Message is a paraphrase of the Bible, not a direct translation. Sometimes I think it is way off from the true meaning of the verse, but for John 15:5 I thought it did a good job of catching the meaning and expressing it in a new way.

Verse Mapping Step 2

These versions remind me that apart from Christ, I can do nothing. But joined with Him, I can have an abundant fruit. Even in this process of Verse Mapping, rely on the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you. We cannot do it on our own. But, God loves to reveal Himself in His Word.

Next step: Look up your chosen verse in different translations or versions of the Bible. Choose your favorites and write them in your Verse Map. You can download my Verse Map template here.