How To: Use Advanced Keyword Search

What if you want to do a search for something a bit more complex than the basic Search bar allows? What if you want to see your search results in several different versions at the same time? What if you want to restrict your search to a particular part of the Bible? The answer to all of these questions is to do an advanced keyword search. Here's how it works.

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.

To find this feature, click on the Read the Bible icon to the left side of the screen and click on Advanced Search:


Click the Keyword Search tab at the top of the screen:


The initial drop-down allows you to choose which Bible language you want to search in. By default, it is set to English. (You can change your default language in your preferences.) 


The first box prompts you to Enter word(s) or phrase(s). 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.


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:


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 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!


Using the features on this page, I searched for the phrase 'God loved' and chose to 'Match EXACT phrase'. I wanted to see results in both the New International Version and the New Living Translation. I chose these further search parameters:


I clicked on 'Search for keyword or phrase' and here are the results I received:


There is just one result for my search from one Bible translation. If I wanted to expand my search, I could go back to the Keyword Search to add in more words, more Bible translations, more books of the Bible I was searching in, etc. 

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