Last week I wrote about e-Sword, a free Bible software program, and how I wanted to share some tips to help you use it if you don't know how. For me it is such a treasure!
The first thing I want to explain is how I look up parallel passages. If you are wondering what on earth a passage of the Bible means, the very best way to find out is to look at other parts of the Bible - you should always compare Scripture with Scripture.
Kay Arthur says, 'A cross-reference is a reference to another Scripture that supports, illumines, or amplifies the Scripture you are studying. In other words, when you do cross-referencing, you compare Scripture with Scripture. Because Scripture will never contradict Scripture, the best interpretation for Scripture is other Scripture.' (from her book, 'How To Study The Bible')
But it can be hard to know where to find other parts of the Bible that talk about the same kind of thing because it is so big - which is where e-Sword comes in.
There is a great book called 'Treasury of Scripture Knowledge' which has parallel passages laid out for every verse of the Bible. It is free on e-Sword, and I think it even comes with the original download of the program. It is called 'TSK' on the e-Sword interface, and is in the window with all the commentaries.
Example: Philippians 2:5-7
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Phil 2:5-7
You might be reading this passage and realise we are being told to have the mind of Christ, who made Himself of no reputation taking the form of a bondservant. But then you might wonder, what does that mean? I don't remember Him being a servant - he was a carpenter. So what's that about?
Well you can go to e-Sword and find Phil 2:7. Then open up TSK by clicking on it in the commentary window on the right of the screen.
If you look at the TSK window you will see a breakdown of the parts of the verse (if you have clicked on Phil 2:7 in the Bible window that is!). Where it says 'made' that means it's giving you passages of the Bible that talk about similar things to the part of the verse that says 'made himself of no reputation'.
Then the next part that says 'the form' is giving you passages similar to or explaining in some way the part of the verse that says, 'taking the form of a bondservant', and so on - as you can see below.
If you had the book form of Treasury of Scripture Knowledge you would then have to go and look up every verse. but because it's on computer, all you have to do is hover your mouse over the scripture reference that you're interested in and it pops up!
And if you want to see the context either side of the verse, just click on the reference and the Bible window then changes to that part of the Bible. If you then want to return to the verse you were just on, you can click the little back arrow at the top left of e-Sword.
Since we were thinking about the bondservant part, you can go to the references under 'the form' and hover over those. One of them is Mark 10:44-45:
"And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
This shows how Jesus was a bondservant because though he didn't hold a servant position in a household, he came to serve God and to serve us, to give His life for us. So this is an example of how we can find other Scriptures quite easily to help explain or illustrate other Scriptures.
The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge is also useful to find a particular verse you're looking for - you can go to a verse that talks about similar things and look at the parallel passages to find the one you're looking for.
Please note that there are other ways of comparing Scripture with Scripture, such as using a concordance to find where those words occur, or a topical reference like the Thompson Chain Reference Bible, or the references in your Bible.