Verbum Search through Tip of the Day #7

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Sep 6 2020 6:46 PM

Tip 7: Not all Bibles are created equal

Please be generous with your additional details, corrections, suggestions, and other feedback. This is being built in a .docx file for a PBB which will be shared periodically.

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Up to this point, only a single resource has been searched – the Bible NRSV. One cannot simply trade any English Bible out for the NRSV. This tip looks at some of the variations in behavior that one finds in English Bibles.

Information contained in three sections of the resource information panel are used to explain the variations. To access the information panel for the NRSV:

Step 1: Open the Panel Menu by clicking on the Panel Menu icon (kebab) (1).

Step 2: Select Information. Note that the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+I will also open the Resource Information Panel.

Step 3: The Reverse Interlinear section contains information on the resources that link the NRSV back to the original text. Note that these are standard critical texts not the specific readings that the translators of the NRSV used. An interlinear resource maps the original language e.g. Greek to the target language e.g. English. These are useful for language learning. A reverse interlinear resource maps the translation (target language) e.g. English back to the original text (source language) e.g. Greek. The datatype tagging for <Person Mary (mother of Jesus)> depend upon reverse interlinears. They will be examined in detail in the next tip.

Step 4: The available Indexes (2) identifies the pattern of book-chapter-verse used by the specific Bible. It has not yet been used but it will become important in the future.

Step 5: The available Search Fields (3) lists the fields that can be used to limit the search. The Search field “Bible Text” has been used in the examples to omit pericope titles.

For the example: Match all word forms in set on. The search is: Search the Bible Text, all passaged, in the New Revised Standard for the search argument of the datatype Person for Mary (mother of Jesus) when it intersects the text “Mary”.

The NRSV reports 19 results in 12 articles (pericopes).

If one replaces the NRSV with the NABRE and rerun the search:

The NABRE reports 19 results in 7 articles (chapters). Note that the NABRE has no pericope headings so the search defaults to chapters. The only way to know that pericopes are not identified is to scan the text itself.

If one replaces the NABRE with the Douay-Rheims-Challoner translation:

The D-R reports no results. Why? Because the Bible lacks a reverse interlinear. In fact, the Reverse Interlinear does not appear in the Information Panel for this  resource.

However, if one simplifies the search argument to the simple text “Mary”, results are found.

The D-R reports 67 results in 27 articles (chapters). In comparison the NABRE finds 54 results in 20 articles (chapters).  In using the D-R results note:

  • The list includes all occurrences of Mary for all individuals having that name.
  • The sister of Moses’s personal name is translated as “Mary” in the D-R while modern translations use “Miriam”.

Replace the Douay-Rheims with The Voice Bible, and run the search:

 The Voice Bible reports 103 results in 53 articles. But something odd happened. The input “Bible Text” is “All Text” on the output. Why? Because the Search Field of “Bible Text” is not supported for the resource as shown in the resource information panel.

The lack of a search field for Bible Text means that the results include Mary in any text of the resource as in the introductory text shown below.

For my favorite example, replace The Voice Bible with The 1536 Tyndale Bible New Testament. Run the Search.

One can see the need to change the parameters. Because “mary” appears where it is not a proper noun (2) and where it has alternative forms (3) not allowed for a person/proper noun:

  • Set Match case on
  • Turn Match all word forms off

Rerun the search.

Note the results have dropped from 84 results in 32 articles to 53 results in 19 articles. This compares to the NABRE New Testament showing 53 results in 20 articles (chapters). This implies a difference in versification between the two Bibles but a similar number of occurrences of the proper name “Mary” spread across several different persons.

But the real fun of the Tyndale Bible is the use of the letter thorn or more unusual, a thorn with an e over it. For the thorn itself, familiarize yourself with the Old English Latin alphabet. For the use of the thorn with superscripts as common abbreviations as in Tyndale’s “the” (1) see Wikipedia’s article on the thorn. Why is this a fun bit of trivia? Try copying, printing, searching, etc. with the thorn superscripted with an e. It comes close to failing every time.


  • Resource Panel Menu
  • Find (string search)
    • Find bar: string, search/clear, previous, next, close
    • Search panel (Basic Search only)
      • Results by article
        • Navigation from results to resource
  • Resource Panel Menu options: Match case, Match all word forms
  • Search line parameters
    • Search fields: All Text, Bible Text
    • Range within resource
    • Resource: single Bible only
    • Terms
      • Text
      • Person datatype
      • Operators
        • Logical OR operator
        • List with comma separators
        • Proximity INTERSECT operator
        • Tools
          • Resource Information Panel: Reverse Interlinears, Indexes, Search Fields
          • Factbook: Referred to as

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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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 7 2020 10:26 AM

MJ. Smith:
The sister of Moses’s personal name is translated as “Mary” in the D-R while modern translations use “Mariam”.

I believe you meant "Miriam" rather than "Mariam".

“God watches over the affairs of those who truly love him without their worrying about them.” - St. John of the Cross

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 7 2020 2:34 PM

Thank you, correction made.

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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