I recently came across a very interesting website.  I was doing some online reading and ended up on Openbible.info.  This site has all sorts of Bible data presented in clever and colorful ways. The tagline for the site appears to be “Remix Bible data”. I think it is very appropriate.

If you like data collections and creative charts you will like this site. Bible data and related subjects are the source for the output. It is not readily apparent who runs the site as there is no “About” page, but with a little sleuthing I believe I found out who is responsible for this gem. I believe it is the product of one Stephen Smith. I came to that conclusion following links to work offsite that the site’s blog author references as his own. Some lead to the blog on biblegateway.com and one leads to a talk he gave at the BibleTec: 2013 Conference, a conference that explored “the intersection of Bible study and technology”. Bible study and technology?  Seriously?  How I wish I could have attended that. They are two of my favorite things.

Openbible.info is divided into five areas: Bible geocoding, a topical Bible, a real time Bible verse search, labs, and a blog.

The Bible geocoding area provides maps of places mentioned in the Bible. You can choose a book of the Bible and see a Goggle map image with a pin marking each location mentioned in it. Verse references are listed on the side. These maps provide a quick way to see where events took place or places that are simply mentioned. There is also a link to photos of places of the Bible. This collection of images (there are a lot) is generated by a search for photos linked to Biblical places that have been posted on Flickr. It’s pretty amazing.

The topical Bible is interesting in that topics and verse results are generated by users both onsite and through Yahoo and ESV Bible web services. I found a few of the results to be irrelevant, but the cool thing is you can vote if a result is helpful or not. This voting improves the results.

The real time Bible verse search is a stream of recent Twitter posts that include Bible verses. I am not sure how I would use this feature, but it did satisfy a previously unknown curiosity about what Bible verses are trending. I was delighted to see that so many people tweet Bible verses!

You really have to see the lab section to appreciate it. The “Bible Word Locator” is probably my favorite lab. After you supply a word, a visual representation of where that word appears in the Bible is generated in a chart. Love it! Some of the other labs include a Bible Pericope Browser, Verse Photo Composites, Sentence Paths, Translation Googleshare, and Cross References. The first time I read the list of labs the only thing I understood was cross references! Like I said, you have to see them to appreciate them. They are worth the visit. I used the Cross References lab just the other day. It gave me good results.

The blog goes back to March 2007. There are plenty of interesting and helpful posts. A quick sampling reveals data collections and charts and diagrams of various biblical, social, and church topics. Some like the one below are both informative and visually appealing.


Who knew looking at cross references could be so interesting and colorful?

The author clearly has some serious geek and math skills. The most recent post from December 13th is a Christmas timeline visualization.  It’s a visualization of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth as recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.  It is another example of some of the cool graphic presentations of data that are prevalent on the site.

I don’t know the technology behind the collection and generation of the data, but I’m happy I stumbled across this site run by someone who does. I recommend visiting whether you go to enhance your Bible study or simply want to take in helpful Bible related data in colorful and creative ways. You may visit by following any of the links in this article to their site or find the link on my page Gardiner Gateway. I have given openbible.info a permanent link in the Gateway.

Sharon Lareau

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