How Do I Look Up Verses in the Bible?


You will see references to Bible passages written like this: John 3:16, Romans 8:28, or Psalm 23. It’s written to indicate where to look to read a specific part of the Bible, for a specific purpose. The Bible is divided into Books. The Books are divided into Chapters, and the Chapters are divided into Verses.

The pattern goes like this – Book name Chapter number : Verse or Verses

  • Book – the first part refers to the name of the Book within the Bible. You will find a Table of Contents at the front of the Bible that will tell you the page that book starts on. So, find the beginning of the right Book first. Be careful, sometimes there will be several books with the same name like 1-2 Corinthians. That means there are two books called Corinthians, the first one is 1 Corinthians and the second one is 2 Corinthians. When there is more than one Book of the same name, there will be a number in front of the name of the Book to tell you which one to use. For examples, 2 Peter 3:8-9 is the second book of Peter, or 2 Peter.
  • Chapter – each book is broken down into chapters. These are indicated by numbers that are in a larger print on the page. When you are reading most other kinds of books, each new chapter starts on a new page, but not in the Bible. The chapter numbers often fall in the middle of a page. Chapters usually cover a few paragraphs. If a reference is written like Psalm 100, it is referring to the whole chapter. There are three shorter books with no chapter numbers: 2 John, 3 John, and Jude.
  • Verse – the last number or numbers show the specific verse within the chapter. These are indicated by the smaller numbers on the page in the Bible. Verses are usually one or two sentences. If there is only one number, like John 3:16 it is referring to only one verse, in this case verse 16. If there are several numbers, like Ephesians 3:17-19, it is referring to verses 17 through 19; or 17, 18, and 19.

So, when you see a Bible verse written like John 15:13, You find the book of John, chapter 15, verse 13, which says, “Greater love has no man than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.”

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2 Responses to How Do I Look Up Verses in the Bible?

  1. Cindy says:

    I love this section. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone teach about how to look up Bible verses. I think Bible teachers usually assume that you know what they’re talking about.

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