Thursday, February 21, 2019

Online Bible Reference Taggers Comparison recently announced the availability of their free ESV CrossReference Tool. It gives me an opportunity to compare the three options that are now available. All are free. All work by adding a simple javascript either to a web page, or, if you want to make it available site wide, to a site template. They automatically find Bible references on a web page and generate a popup when hovering over a Bible reference like this: Mark 6.34.
By following the links below, I provide examples of each one's capabilities and provide some commentary.

SUMMARY (Update 2019.03.05 - Thanks to comment by Andley Chang)
  • ESV CrossReference Tool
    • Only links to ESV
    • Does have audio function
    • Provides social media and email linking
  • NETBibleTagger
    • Only links to NET Bible, but...
    •  ... click through links to the outstanding Lumina Bible online site with many additional resources
    • Allows customization of display
    • Also note that there is a NETBible Web Service (API) you can use to create links to Bible texts without using the automatic reference tagging.
  • Faithlife Reftagger
    • Offers option to link to a selection of Bible versions
    • Provides social media linking (but I regularly have trouble making the popup persist long enough to click on the link)
    • Links to the Biblia or Faithlife Study Bible. From these sites you can access many more resources
    • Allows customization of display 
  • BibleGateway Reference Tagging Tool 
    • Offers options to link to most Bible versions (over 60 English Bible versions, Greek (SBLGNT), Hebrew, and uncounted other non-English languages)
    • Links to BibleGateway site for more versions and other resources
    • Option for a Spanish interface link and other customizations
    • Does not recognize period separator for chapter.verse
As you can see, each has some benefits. Since I have a good Logos library, linking to Biblia online provides me access to all my resources. If you want access to non-English language, BibleGateway is the only choice. For most of my purposes, sharing Bible references on a blog like this or online articles I write, I will most often use the NETBible Tagger with BibleGateway as a second choice.


  1. fyi --- is good for non-English speaking communities.

  2. Thank you, Andley! In light of your comment, I've updated the post.

  3. Isn't the Faithlife tagger the only one that can show other versions on the fly? Try Gen 1:1 NASB when the tagger is set to ESV.

  4. @Nathan: Are you saying that you can change the version display in the popup with the Faithlife tagger? As I note above, I can't get the Faithlife popup to stay long enough to do anything with it. (I've tried in Firefox, Chrome, and Edge.) If you click on the link for any of them, you are brought to their home sites with more version choices.

  5. Two more Bible taggers that might be worth considering can be found at these sites: