Scripture Nerd.

So, tonight we had family home evening* at our Bishop's house.  After the lesson was taught and much orchard-fresh apple crisp was consumed, most people began to make their ways home.  My Bishop, however, happened to pull out his iPad and I proceeded to NERD. OUT. about different apps, printed materials and websites that aid in Scripture study, thus holding the last two remaining attendees hostage (because they were dependent upon me for a ride home).

My belief regarding studying the Scriptures is this:  if I read something in the Scriptures - the word of God - and I don't understand it, I better make sure I take the time to understand it.  Think of it!  These pages have been passed down through thousands of years!  People have made huge sacrifices to protect them!  For you!  And, of course, there's the promise that we will be held accountable for our own understandings of the words of the prophets.

That being said, I don't often really understand what I'm reading when I'm reading the Scriptures.  Differences in place, time, cultural surroundings and word definitions stunt my ability to proximate what the prophets really meant when they wrote the words of God.  And so I need tools to help me bridge the gap the aforementioned barriers create.  There are a lot of them!  I use them every day!  Today, I want to share what they are.  It didn't occur to me that not everyone has a knowledge of these resources until I got blank stares tonight when I mentioned Strong's Concordance.

A word of caution before I begin:  while I have found these resources to be helpful, they are not infallible.  The only way to discover the spiritual meanings of spiritual matters to rely upon the Holy Ghost to edify, uplift and inform.

  • The website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an excellent set of digital Scriptures, complete with cross-referenced footnotes relevant passages found within the standard works.  You can also find the expertly completed Bible Dictionary therein.  (These resources are also available in print.)
  • BYU maintains an excellent website called the LDS Scripture Citation Index.  The website cross-references all the Scriptures from the standard works to every General Conference talk ever, the Journal of Discourses, and writings in The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  
  • The 1828 Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language is really an invaluable resource for coming to a closer proximity of an old (older) English meaning of a word.  Why does this matter?  The Lord enabled Joseph Smith to translate The Book of Mormon perfectly into the English of his day... but that's a problem because the English of Joseph Smith is not the English of today.  (This is also available in print.)
  • For Biblical study (especially the KJV translation, which was published in 1611), there are some "King James Bible Dictionaries" out there, but most are heavily tainted doctrinally by the publishers thereby rendering them less useful to Latter-day Saints.  The Oxford English Dictionary is really the way to go, as it lists not only current meanings, but also archaic meanings.  (The bad news?  It costs money.  But!  If you are a student, most libraries have subscriptions you can use for free!)
  • Sometimes, it's really helpful to view how different translators have translated a verse or passage. has made it really easy to view and compare individual verses in every conceivable translation. 
  • Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is a magnum opus, wherein every Hebrew and Greek word in the Bible is assigned a number, which is defined and listed alongside every occurrence in the Bible for cross-referencing purposes.  What's great about having this resource online is that you can search for individual words or words that are collocated as phrases (This is also available in print.)
  • While sometimes basic, the manuals produced by the Church have great, clarifying answers to confusing passages of Scripture.  And!  You can access them all free of charge through LDS Seminaries and Institutes.

The LDS Gospel Library is a great app, which is produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It has all the footnotes, Bible Dictionary (both discussed above) and much more.

LDS Scripture Citation is the app version of the LDS Scripture Citation Index described above.

The 1828 Webster's Dictionary is available in app form.  Due to the breadth of its volume (you don't need the internet to access the dictionary - it stores all of it on your phone/tablet), you need to download two volumes.  The first here and the second here.
CWP-iStudent is a fantastic resource for having several Biblical translations on the go, including a Hebrew-Greek interlinear text and several (non-LDS) commentaries.  By far my most used application for on-the-go studying.
Strong's Concordance is available (for free!) as an app as well.

That's all I can think of at the moment.  I'm sure I'll be walking to class tomorrow and think "GAH!  I forgot XYZ-awesome-Scripture-study-tool!  HOW DID I MISS THAT?!"  If so, I'll edit this post to include the update.  Do you have any that you would recommend?

*For those of you who are not Latter-day Saints, every Monday night there is a Church-wide policy of setting aside time to spend with our families - to grow together, to learn of Christ, to strengthen ourselves and our loved ones, etc.  For those who are single adults and living away from their families, the Church organizes groups of other single members with whom to gather and participate in the aforementioned activities.


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