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Using Blue Letter Bible & Color Highlighting
the Names of God


This is the fun part. It might feel like color-coding every name of God in the Bible is a crazy complicated project but once you start doing it, you will see how simple it really is. Approach it one story or one name at a time. In a very personal way, this will become your copy of God’s story with some of your favorite colors that remind you of who He is.

It also might seem like it is going to take a really long time. That is probably right, but it is one of the things I am really enjoying. It slows me down. No one is timing us, right? It can take however long you want it to. One of the first times I shared this idea with a small Bible study group a woman asked me how long I thought it would take. My first response was “I hope it takes the rest of my life.” I didn’t mean that I won’t someday finish the color-coding, but the process has so deepened my understanding of God in the context of His story that I hope there is always one more story. When you are listening to stories of people you love, the amount of time it takes doesn’t seem to matter. I like that it is taking a while.

For a long time, unless we owned or were in the same room with a gigantic Bible concordance, a lexicon, and a set of commentaries, we depended on scholars who had studied ancient languages like Hebrew and Greek to teach us what was ”hidden” beneath the English translation of the Bible. I have always loved listening to teachers and pastors who put Bible passages in perspective for me by uncovering the language and the culture in which they were written. I still love that! There are amazingly gifted pastors and teachers who can read those old languages and have studied for years to put perspective to God’s narrative in a way that I cannot. But in-between Sundays, we are not totally stuck. There are resources available to us - and in recent years they have become more accessible than ever. One of those resources is
www.blueletterbible.org. It contains the well-known Strong’s concordance with entries for every word in the Bible, dictionaries, commentary links, and other resources that make studying the Bible really fun.

Go ahead and log onto
Blue Letter Bible (BLB). (As of September 2013 an updated version of BLB has been released. It is even better than before! The instructions here are for the new version.) When I first started studying the Names of God, I used the Study link that is located on the top bar, second from the left. Do you see it? Click on it to open a list of Study tools. You will see a category titled “Bible Reference” and under that heading, click on “Topical Indexes.”

Under the General Indexes heading, there is a link for “The Names of God in the Old Testament.” Click on that.

You should see a heading that says "
The Names of God in the Old Testament.” Listed below it are several names of God. The first name that we are going to study is Yahweh so you can click on that or browse around any of the names that look interesting. A section containing several pieces of information is given for each name. Read through the information for Yahweh. You will notice that the links to other pages in BLB are highlighted in blue. The Strong’s reference number for Yahweh is H3068. Click on that.

You should see the Hebrew Lexicon page for H3068. (Strong’s reference numbers begin with an H [Hebrew] for Old Testament words and a G [Greek] for New Testament words.) You can click on the Pronunciation bar to hear how the word sounds. There is also a box that contains the root word for the entry. The root word for H3068 is H1961. We will look at the root words of names to get a better idea of what each name represents. Below the definitions and dictionary entries there is a list of every verse in the Bible that contains the word that correlates with H3068. Look at the verses and notice that a red H3068 indicates where the name is used in each verse. If you click on the blue verse reference link to the left of any verse, it will take you to that passage in the Bible.

If you scroll further down on the H3068 page, you will see that this first page contains all of the references between Genesis 2:4 and Genesis 12:17. For further references, you can click on any of the entries under “Search Results Continued.”

I do not recommend taking a colored pencil and this particular list and highlighting all of the names of Yahweh in your Bible at once. There are too many and it would become an overwhelming task instead of a personal journey into God’s story. This is a name that I just color in as I go. I have a purple pencil with YHWH and 3068 written on the side. Every time I come to that name in my reading, I highlight it in my Bible. We will highlight Yahweh together in the story behind this name in Exodus 3.

As you study each name, choose a colored pencil and write the Name of God and its Strong’s reference number on the pencil with a black permanent marker. Depending on the number of times the name is recorded in the text, sometimes you will highlight all of the references of the name at once, and other times you will highlight the names as you read through the Bible.

The best way to discover all of the treasures that BLB has to offer is to play around inside the site. Use the "Search" bar to find your favorite verses or stories or to find the references about a topic that interests you. There are audio messages and written commentaries that offer amazing insights. There are artwork links and over 15 versions of the Bible. You can create a log-in and set your preferences so that the features you like open up whenever you log on to the site. You will want to make sure that the "Show Strong's" box is checked if you are highlighting the Names of God. It is easy to set that up in your personal settings once you create a login.

Speaking of versions there is another thing that is good to know. Strong’s reference numbers will only show up if you are looking at the King James Version or the New American Standard Version on the BLB website. Your own Bible can be any translation that you like (a paraphrase like The Message or The Living Bible won’t work as well.) Most times, the names of God are consistent verse to verse across various translations.

Have fun! Let me know how it goes!