Better Bible Study Tip #58: Use the NET Bible

I stumbled upon the NET Bible only two or three years ago, but it has been a game changer for me. It has quickly become one of my most frequently consulted Bible study tools. Not only is it really helpful, but it’s also available online for free. Go ahead and google it.

What makes the NET Bible so special is not the translation itself (which is fine, but not my favorite either). What makes the NET Bible so useful are the incredibly helpful footnotes. Most study Bibles will have little letters or numbers scattered throughout the text that will direct you to a small note at the bottom of the page. Most footnotes will offer something useful, such as an alternative translation, or a note about the manuscripts or something along those lines. Now imagine those study Bible footnotes on steroids, and you’ve got the NET Bible.

The NET Bible contains over 60,000 translation footnotes, on everything from alternative translation possibilities, manuscript differences, as well as commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of different translation possibilities. These aren’t short footnotes either, as some are offer multiple paragraphs of explanation. if you’ve ever wondered why two different translations translate a verse differently, look it up in the NET. If you’ve ever wondered why some translations omit phrases or even entire verses, look it up in the NET. The NET will explain which manuscripts have the phrase, and which ones don’t. It will explain the difficulties involved in figuring out which variant is original. It will explain all the different ways the verse could be translated, as well as which translations are more likely than others, and why.

Imagine having a translation committee next door, where you could just pop your head in and ask about any verse at any time. That’s pretty much what you get with the NET Bible. If you are a regular person, who doesn’t know much about Hebrew or Greek, the NET Bible can be a great way to wrap your mind around most all of the major translation issues. If you haven’t used it before, I highly recommend checking it out.