TIP of the day: from the blogs, etc. - types of cross-references

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Dec 31 2015 12:45 AM

Food for thought before using the Cross-reference section of the Passage Guide in which the top portion merely opens TSK or NTSK while the bottom portion scans certain Bibles etc. but remove the specifics of the location in the passage where the cross-reference is linked.

from Progressive Devotions by Keith Gardner

Types of Cross-references


The same word or phrase is used in another passage.

The cross-reference may not have any relationship to the passage you are studying.

Example: “Old man” in Colossians 3:9 and Genesis 25:8.

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;” (Col 3:9)

“Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” (Gen 25:8)

As you can see, this kind of a cross-reference isn’t very useful. But it’s the kind of thing you’ll run into often if you use a tool like eSword’s verse search to look for cross-references. You either have to wade through the rubbish to find what you need, or use a more efficient tool to locate cross-references.

If you use The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, one of the cross-references it offers you is Ephesians 4:22.

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;” (Eph 4:22)

This is a more useful cross-reference than Genesis 25:8, because it talks about the same concept and gives extra facts about it.


The cross-reference says exactly, or nearly, what the passage you are studying says.

Example 1:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” (Eph 5:22)

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Col 3:18)

Example 2:

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Pro 22:3)

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Pro 27:12)

Now you don’t get any more parallel than that!


Records the event referred to by the passage you are reading.

Example: You read 2 Peter 1:17-18:

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2Pe 1:16-18)

Among the cross-references The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge offers, you find this historical cross-reference.

“While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Luk 9:34-35)

Here Luke records the event to which Peter refers – the Transfiguration.


Gives the source of a quotation or paraphrase.

Example: You read Luke 4:

“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luk 4:17-19)

You wonder what Old Testament Bible passage Jesus was reading, so you check Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible and find this concise comment:

The place where it was written – Isa. 61:1-2.

Which is the source cross-reference for the text that Jesus read.


The word or phrase used in the cross-reference may be different, but the idea talked about is the same.

Example: Let’s say you read this passage in Ephesians:

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible points to Colossians 3:21 as a cross-reference.

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” (Col 3:21)

Both verses talk about child rearing, but the Ephesians passage doesn’t mention the motive of not discouraging our children.


The cross-reference has a word or phrase that means the opposite of the word or phrase in the passage you are studying.

Studying a word’s antonyms helps you understand what the word means by understanding its opposite. The book of Proverbs often uses this technique to contrast ideas – the fool and the wise man, the sluggard and the diligent, etc.

The Thompson Chain Reference Bible often classifies topics by using a word – antonym pair. For example, its topical section has an entry entitled Faith – Unbelief.

Example: Fools and the wise in Proverbs.

“The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.” (Pro 3:35)

“The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.” (Pro 10:8)

“In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.” (Pro 14:3)


From a Logos resource:

This step involves finding cross-references for the verses of your chapter in order to further explain the meaning of the text. It is based on the principle of interpretation that says, “The Bible interprets itself; Scripture best explains Scripture.” You can often interpret passages that are not clear by passages that are. Ask yourself, “How do other Scriptures relate to and explain this one?”
Steps in cross-referencing. Here are some practical ways to correlate verses:
1. First, look for cross-references within the same book you are studying. This is internal correlation.
2. Second, compare statements in other writings by the same author. This is external correlation.
3. Then, compare with other books in the same testament.
4. Finally, compare references in all of Scripture.
You can find cross-references in a study Bible or reference Bible or by looking up similar words in a concordance.
Types of cross-references. There are several different types of cross-references, including the following:

    •      The pure cross-reference. This is sometimes called the parallel cross-reference because it says almost exactly the same thing as the verse you are analyzing.
    •      The illustrative cross-reference. This type, which may involve a real event or person in history, illustrates what the verse you are studying is saying.
    •      The contrasting cross-reference. This type says the opposite of what your verse says. It may look like a contradiction, but it is actually approaching the subject from a different viewpoint.

One word of caution: Be sure to check the context of the verses you choose as cross-references. Otherwise you may be making them say what the writer did not say.

Rick Warren, Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God's Word (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 194–195.


From Minister's ESV



Below is an explanation of the symbols and abbreviations used in this edition of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. (The extended back jacket flap lists all of these and, removed, may be used as a bookmark.)
    *      placed before a cross-reference indicates an especially clear reference. These references should be looked up by the beginning user of this volume. As more experience is gained, all the references may be consulted.
    ✓      placed before a cross-reference indicates a critically clear, pertinent, significant reference.
    +      A fuller collection of references to this term are gathered at the verse so indicated.
    +* or+✓      Additional references to this topic, or a fuller collection for this topic is given at the verse so indicated.
    ◐      Contrast. Identifies groups of references gathered on another aspect of the topic, or identifies cross references which explain an apparent or alleged contradiction or alternate doctrinal position.
    =      Identifies a type or antitype.
          Type or antitype identified on biblical authority.
    ▶      Identifies quotations in the New Testament from the Old Testament, and at Old Testament passages the fact that they are quoted in the New Testament.
    ▶℘      Identifies quotations from the Pentateuch in the prophets.
    ✡      Identifies references which are the fulfillment of prophecy.
    ∥      Indicates a strict parallel passage, as in the gospels, or the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. These have not been noted exhaustively, but only selectively.
    ❅S#      placed before a Strong’s number (❅S#2313h) indicates that all the occurrences of the original Hebrew or Greek word so marked are given here.
    ✣S#      placed before a Strong’s number (✣S#2313g) indicates that all the occurrences to the Hebrew or Greek word which are relevant or similar to the use there are given.
    ( )      When a cross-reference in a figure–of–speech listing is placed in parentheses, this indicates that the figure is not apparent in English versions (KJV, Young’s Literal Translation, or Rotherham) and so is not cross-referenced back to the explanation of the figure at the passage so listed.
    ( )      In a series of references to a Hebrew or Greek word identified by its Strong’s number, the English translation is given in parentheses when the word is rendered differently in a particular reference.
    ( )      An English word in parentheses after a verse reference lets the reader know which word in that verse translates the same underlying Hebrew or Greek word.
    ( )      A word placed in parentheses in connection with the figure of speech Ellipsis indicates the word is not present in the original language, but is to be supplied in accordance with the figure of speech as indicated.  
    CB      Companion Bible
    F/L      In the book of Isaiah, sets of references to “first” (Is ch. 1-39) and “last” (Is ch. 40-66) portions of Isaiah are given to demonstrate the unity of the book. Words alleged by some authorities to occur in only the first portion of the book are seen to be used in the latter portion, demonstrating that the book is the work of a single author.
    ƒ      Figures of speech are identified with a reference number, such as ƒ102, followed by the name of the figure of speech in the main entry, or a reference to where that figure is explained, and to where all the other instances of that particular figure, or a subset of that figure, can be found. This feature is an essential aid to Bible interpretation. This is the first time that such information has been made readily accessible to the ordinary Bible reader in one source. The Companion Bible identifies many of the figures of speech in its margins, and has a list with brief definitions in its Appendix 6. However, users of The Companion Bible who come across an important instance of the use of a figure of speech are not led in that volume to the other instances of its use. But to learn to identify a figure when it is used, one needs to see it in many contexts until one has developed a “feel” for the figure, and can learn its characteristics enough to be able to identify it wherever it occurs. Of course, one can consult E. W. Bullinger’s Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, but there are many instances given in the margins of The Companion Bible which are not listed or discussed in that book, and many instances given in the book not given in The Companion Bible. This edition of the Treasury remedies that, and furnishes additional references to the figures not found in either of those two excellent sources.
          The names of the figures of speech have been alphabetized and given reference numbers from 1 to 180. Often the reference number is followed by additional letters and numbers to clearly identify the specific category of the figure of speech. The full alphabetical list of the figures with the subcategories is given in the Figure of Speech Index at the end of this volume.
    B      B542 means a reference is made to page 542 of E. W. Bullinger’s Figures of Speech Used in the Bible. All main figure of speech entries are so keyed to this volume.
    g or h      Indicates verbal references to the same Hebrew or Greek words when used after a cross-reference. After a Strong’s number, indicates whether the number refers to the Hebrew or Greek lexicon at the end of Strong’s Concordance.
    Gr.      Greek
    Heb.      Hebrew
    ISBE      International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
    lit.      Literally
    mg      A reference to the marginal reading found in the center column of many editions of the King James or Authorized Version of the Bible.
    MM      James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament.
    n      Placed after a cross reference (Ge 2:7n) means that there is a pertinent note at that reference about the subject of the reference. This new feature makes the many notes throughout the New Treasury far more accessible than in previous editions and provides a unique internal cross-referencing system for the notes.
    or,      Italicized “or,” identifies a marginal reading supplied by the translators of the Authorized or King James Version.
    or,      Unitalicized “or,” identifies alternate renderings supplied by this editor from Robert Young’s Literal Translation and its accompanying Concise Critical Comments, and other sources.
    S#      There are selected references to the numbers of Strong’s Concordance throughout this edition of the Treasury, so relating information in the Treasury with other published Bible study reference tools keyed to Strong’s Concordance. Consult the Strong’s Number Index at the end of this volume.
    T#      Topic numbers are for the first time furnished in this edition of the Treasury, together with an index to these topics, to give the New Treasury all the advantages of a topical Bible or topical arrangement of the Scriptures. Sometimes the full set of references for more than one topic is located at the same verse. To help the user rapidly identify the appropriate set of references, the topic numbers are given at each major collection of indexed topical references.
    TDNT      Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
    w      “with.” This symbol is used whenever cross-references are listed out of their normal biblical sequence in order to show important relationships between passages, relationships which would be lost if all the references were always cited only in the biblical order. Normally, however, references are cited in their biblical order, excepting that references are first given to verses within the same biblical book. All other references are cited in turn in biblical order. It is a sound rule of interpretation to seek first to understand the meaning of the language of an author by reference to the use of the same or similar language in the same book.
    ‡      placed after a topic number indicates the topic provides a set of proof texts used to support a false doctrine. The importance of including selected references of this category cannot be overestimated, for this furnishes the Bible-believing Christian with a defense against false doctrines promulgated by what are sometimes known as “false cults.” Thus, by means of these symbols you can learn the commonly cited proof texts used to support a mistaken interpretation, and by reference to the cross-references not so marked, and especially by reference to cross-references marked with a ◐ symbol, the reader can learn the biblical answer to many of the false positions of the cults. Such helpful sets of cross-references are now marked out for the reader more fully in the New Treasury than in any other single reference source available.
    ? or x      placed before a cross-reference indicates doubtful validity of the reference, for it is a wrong identification of the source of a quotation, or it is a proof text underlying a mistaken doctrinal or prophetic interpretation, or it is a questionable identification of a figure of speech—questionable because it is misidentified, or arbitrarily supports a mistaken doctrinal viewpoint.

Jerome H. Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge: The Most Complete Listing of Cross References Available Anywhere- Every Verse, Every Theme, Every Important Word (Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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