How To: Use Advanced Keyword Search

The Keyword Search functions much like the Passage Lookup, but is designed to let you search for words and phrases instead of Bible verses and passages. So, if you want to find out where the phrase "For God so loved the world" appears in the Bible, the Keyword Search is the tool to use.

Get started by clicking on Keyword Search in the Bible section at the top of the screen:

Link to keyword search

The initial drop-down shows the available language of the Bibles you may search. By default, it is set to English. (You can change your default language in your preferences.)

The first box prompts you to Enter a word or phrase. You can enter any word or phrase into the search field. Bible Gateway will search the selected translation(s) for places in the Bible where those words or phrases appear. Capitalization isn't important, although misspelled words can cause the search to fail.

The drop-down box below the search field lets you choose how strictly Bible Gateway will search for your chosen words. You can tell Bible Gateway to find results that include any of your search terms, only results that contain all of your search terms, or only results that contain all of your search terms exactly as you have written them. (Note that word order is only important if you've chosen the last option.) The little checkbox tells Bible Gateway whether or not to look for whole words or parts of words.

For example, a search for the phrase "for God so loved the world" would look like this:


Note that capitalization isn't important and that the "Match EXACT Phrase" option has been flagged. The results will show each place in the Bible where that phrase appears exactly as written in the search field (just one place, in fact—John 3:16).

The next box allows you to choose which Bible version you want Bible Gateway to search in. Like in the Passage Lookup, you can search more than one Bible version at the same time by clicking on the "Search in multiple versions" link and selecting additional translations.

Keyword search language/version select

Finally, the Options box lets you set a number of different search parameters and characteristics to refine your search even further. These options let you choose how and in what order the results will appear on the results page and will let you optionally restrict your search to certain books of the Bible.


Once you've entered your search phrase and set all of your options, click the "Search for keyword or phrase" button, and you'll be whisked away to the search results page!

Was this article helpful?
3 out of 5 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request