Developer Tools: API

Application Programming Interface (API)

Searching

The Bible Search API provides a general search.xml GET endpoint. It accepts a query parameter that can be either a passage or a keyword and will automatically figure out what kind of query you've given it. If it's a keyword search, the results will be the same as a keyword search on the website: the parser performs stemming and also takes into account users' tags and "Was this helpful?" votes.

Note: it's important to follow redirects when using the search.xml endpoint. Depending on the query used, it will redirect to the appropriate results url.

Response Format

The response format looks like this:

<response>
  <search>
    <result>
      <type>TYPE</type>
      <summary>
        [...]
      </summary>
      <spelling>
        [...]
      </spelling>
      <TYPE>
        [...]
      </TYPE>
    </result>
  </search>
</response>

Every result has a search element, which contains a result element.

The type tells you the type of the result and specifies the name of the element containing the results of the query.

The summary element contains information about the query, such as versions searched, sort order, testaments searched, number of results, etc.

The spelling element contains spelling suggestions, if there are any.

TYPE is not an element name, but is an element named after the type of results. For example, if the query was determined to be a passage search, the response will look like this:

<response>
  <search>
    <result>
      <type>passages</type>
      <summary>
        [...]
      </summary>
      <spelling>
        [...]
      </spelling>
      <passages>
        [...]
      </passages>
    </result>
  </search>
</response>

In this case, the passages element contains a set of passage elements that are the results of the query. Each passage element contains information about a single passage that matches the query.

Simple Query

GET /search.xml?query=#{query}

The simplest search you can do is to just specify a query parameter. This will return results in all available versions.

Example:

Request
XML
JSON
GET https://bibles.org/v2/search.xml?query=Mahershalalhashbaz

This will resolve to a keyword query and yield a response like:

Response
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<response>
  <search>
    <result>
      <type>verses</type>
      <summary>
        <query>Mahershalalhashbaz</query>
        <start>1</start>
        <total>3</total>
        <rpp>15</rpp>
        <sort>relevance</sort>
        <versions>
          <version>eng-NLT</version>
          <version>eng-MSG</version>
        </versions>
        <testaments>
          <testament>OT</testament>
          <testament>NT</testament>
        </testaments>
      </summary>
      <spelling/>
      <verses>
        <verse id="eng-MSG:Isa.8.1">
          <auditid>0</auditid>
          <verse>1</verse>
          <lastverse>1</lastverse>
          <id>eng-MSG:Isa.8.1</id>
          <osis_end>eng-MSG:Isa.8.1</osis_end>
          <label>Isa.008.001,eng-MSG</label>
          <reference>Isaiah 8:1</reference>
          <text><![CDATA[<sup>1</sup>Then God told me, "Get a big sheet of paper and write in indelible ink, 'This belongs to <em>Maher-shalal-hash-baz</em> (Spoil-Speeds-Plunder-Hurries).'"]]></text>
          <parent>
            <chapter id="eng-MSG:Isa.8">
              <path>/chapters/eng-MSG:Isa.8</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8</name>
              <id>eng-MSG:Isa.8</id>
            </chapter>
          </parent>
          <next>
            <verse id="eng-MSG:Isa.8.2">
              <path>/verses/eng-MSG:Isa.8.2</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8:2-3</name>
              <id>eng-MSG:Isa.8.2</id>
            </verse>
          </next>
          <previous>
            <verse id="eng-MSG:Isa.7.23">
              <path>/verses/eng-MSG:Isa.7.23</path>
              <name>Isaiah 7:23-25</name>
              <id>eng-MSG:Isa.7.23</id>
            </verse>
          </previous>
          <copyright><![CDATA[Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002]]></copyright>
        </verse>
        <verse id="eng-NLT:Isa.8.3">
          <auditid>0</auditid>
          <verse>3</verse>
          <lastverse>3</lastverse>
          <id>eng-NLT:Isa.8.3</id>
          <osis_end>eng-NLT:Isa.8.3</osis_end>
          <label>Isa.008.003,eng-NLT</label>
          <reference>Isaiah 8:3</reference>
          <text><![CDATA[<sup>3</sup>Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said, “Call him <em>Maher-shalal-hash-baz</em>.]]></text>
          <parent>
            <chapter id="eng-NLT:Isa.8">
              <path>/chapters/eng-NLT:Isa.8</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8</name>
              <id>eng-NLT:Isa.8</id>
            </chapter>
          </parent>
          <next>
            <verse id="eng-NLT:Isa.8.4">
              <path>/verses/eng-NLT:Isa.8.4</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8:4</name>
              <id>eng-NLT:Isa.8.4</id>
            </verse>
          </next>
          <previous>
            <verse id="eng-NLT:Isa.8.2">
              <path>/verses/eng-NLT:Isa.8.2</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8:2</name>
              <id>eng-NLT:Isa.8.2</id>
            </verse>
          </previous>
          <copyright><![CDATA[Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.]]></copyright>
        </verse>
        <verse id="eng-MSG:Isa.8.3">
          <auditid>0</auditid>
          <verse>3</verse>
          <lastverse>4</lastverse>
          <id>eng-MSG:Isa.8.3</id>
          <osis_end>eng-MSG:Isa.8.4</osis_end>
          <label>Isa.008.003,eng-MSG</label>
          <reference>Isaiah 8:3-4</reference>
          <text><![CDATA[<sup>3-4</sup>God told me, "Name him <em>Maher-shalal-hash-baz</em>. Before that baby says 'Daddy' or 'Mamma' the king of Assyria will have plundered the wealth of Damascus and the riches of Samaria."]]></text>
          <parent>
            <chapter id="eng-MSG:Isa.8">
              <path>/chapters/eng-MSG:Isa.8</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8</name>
              <id>eng-MSG:Isa.8</id>
            </chapter>
          </parent>
          <next>
            <verse id="eng-MSG:Isa.8.5">
              <path>/verses/eng-MSG:Isa.8.5</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8:5-8</name>
              <id>eng-MSG:Isa.8.5</id>
            </verse>
          </next>
          <previous>
            <verse id="eng-MSG:Isa.8.2">
              <path>/verses/eng-MSG:Isa.8.2</path>
              <name>Isaiah 8:2-3</name>
              <id>eng-MSG:Isa.8.2</id>
            </verse>
          </previous>
          <copyright><![CDATA[Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002]]></copyright>
        </verse>
      </verses>
    </result>
  </search>
  <meta>
    <fums><![CDATA[<script>
var _BAPI=_BAPI||{};
if(typeof(_BAPI.t)==='undefined'){
document.write('\x3Cscript src="'+document.location.protocol+'//d2ue49q0mum86x.cloudfront.net/include/fums.c.js"\x3E\x3C/script\x3E');}
document.write("\x3Cscript\x3E_BAPI.t('516e111345ea75.67739599');\x3C/script\x3E");
</script><noscript><img src="https://d3a2okcloueqyx.cloudfront.net/nf1?t=516e111345ea75.67739599" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt="" style="height: 0; width: 0;" /></noscript>]]></fums>
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  </meta>
</response>

Example for "John 3:16":

Request
XML
JSON
https://bibles.org/v2/search.xml?query=john+3:16

This will be resolved to a passage query and will yield a response like:

Response
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<response>
  <search>
    <result>
      <type>passages</type>
      <passages>
        <passage>
          <display>John 3:16</display>
          <version>eng-NLT</version>
          <version_abbreviation>NLT</version_abbreviation>
          <path>/chapters/eng-NLT:John.3/verses.xml?start=16&end=16</path>
          <start_verse_id>eng-NLT:John.3.16</start_verse_id>
          <end_verse_id>eng-NLT:John.3.16</end_verse_id>
          <text><![CDATA[<div id="John.3.16" class="verse"><p class="p"><sup id="John.3.16" class="v">16</sup>“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. </p></div>]]></text>
          <copyright>Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.</copyright>
        </passage>
        <passage>
          <display>John 3:16</display>
          <version>eng-MSG</version>
          <version_abbreviation>MSG</version_abbreviation>
          <path>/chapters/eng-MSG:John.3/verses.xml?start=16&end=16</path>
          <start_verse_id>eng-MSG:John.3.16</start_verse_id>
          <end_verse_id>eng-MSG:John.3.16</end_verse_id>
          <text><![CDATA[<div id="John.3.16-John.3.18" class="verse"><p class="p"><sup id="John.3.16-John.3.18" class="v">16-18</sup>"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.</p></div>]]></text>
          <copyright>Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002</copyright>
        </passage>
      </passages>
    </result>
  </search>
  <meta>
    <fums><![CDATA[<script>
var _BAPI=_BAPI||{};
if(typeof(_BAPI.t)==='undefined'){
document.write('\x3Cscript src="'+document.location.protocol+'//d2ue49q0mum86x.cloudfront.net/include/fums.c.js"\x3E\x3C/script\x3E');}
document.write("\x3Cscript\x3E_BAPI.t('516e11f02b2e63.05779797');\x3C/script\x3E");
</script><noscript><img src="https://d3a2okcloueqyx.cloudfront.net/nf1?t=516e11f02b2e63.05779797" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt="" style="height: 0; width: 0;" /></noscript>]]></fums>
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  </meta>
</response>

Specifying Versions and Advanced Queries

GET /search.xml?query=#{query}&version=#{version_id_list}

The query can include a version specifier of one or more desired versions to search across. The available version IDs can be listed with the versions endpoint. If the search is a keyword search, you may use the modifiers (e.g., precision, spelling, exclude, etc.) specified in the Verses search section.

To specify a single version, add &version=ID.

Example:

Request
XML
JSON
GET https://bibles.org/v2/search.xml?query=john+3:16&version=eng-GNTD
Response
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<response>
  <search>
    <result>
      <type>passages</type>
      <passages>
        <passage>
          <display>John 3:16</display>
          <version>eng-GNTD</version>
          <version_abbreviation>GNTD</version_abbreviation>
          <path>/chapters/eng-GNTD:John.3/verses.xml?start=16&end=16</path>
          <start_verse_id>eng-GNTD:John.3.16</start_verse_id>
          <end_verse_id>eng-GNTD:John.3.16</end_verse_id>
          <text><![CDATA[<p class="p"><sup id="John.3.16" class="v">16</sup>For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.</p>]]></text>
          <copyright><p>Good News Translation (Today&#8217;s English Version, Second Edition) &#169; 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.</p></copyright>
        </passage>
      </passages>
    </result>
  </search>
  <meta>
    <fums><![CDATA[<script>
var _BAPI=_BAPI||{};
if(typeof(_BAPI.t)==='undefined'){
document.write('\x3Cscript src="'+document.location.protocol+'//d2ue49q0mum86x.cloudfront.net/include/fums.c.js"\x3E\x3C/script\x3E');}
document.write("\x3Cscript\x3E_BAPI.t('516ebf3f028517.27847583');\x3C/script\x3E");
</script><noscript><img src="https://d3a2okcloueqyx.cloudfront.net/nf1?t=516ebf3f028517.27847583" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt="" style="height: 0; width: 0;" /></noscript>]]></fums>
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    <fums_noscript><![CDATA[<img src="https://d3a2okcloueqyx.cloudfront.net/nf1?t=516ebf3f028517.27847583" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt="" style="height: 0; width: 0;" />]]></fums_noscript>
  </meta>
</response>

To specify multiple versions, use a comma-separated list of IDs.

Example:

Request
XML
JSON
GET https://bibles.org/v2/search.xml?query=john+3:16&version=eng-KJVA,eng-CEV,eng-GNTD
Response
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<response>
  <search>
    <result>
      <type>passages</type>
      <passages>
        <passage>
          <display>John 3:16</display>
          <version>eng-KJVA</version>
          <version_abbreviation>KJVA</version_abbreviation>
          <path>/chapters/eng-KJVA:John.3/verses.xml?start=16&end=16</path>
          <start_verse_id>eng-KJVA:John.3.16</start_verse_id>
          <end_verse_id>eng-KJVA:John.3.16</end_verse_id>
          <text><![CDATA[<h3 class="s1">God So Loved the World</h3>
<p class="p"><sup id="John.3.16" class="v">16</sup>For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.</p>]]></text>
          <copyright><p>King James Version 1611, spelling, punctuation and text formatting modernized by ABS in 1962; typesetting © 2010 American Bible Society.</p></copyright>
        </passage>
        <passage>
          <display>John 3:16</display>
          <version>eng-CEV</version>
          <version_abbreviation>CEV</version_abbreviation>
          <path>/chapters/eng-CEV:John.3/verses.xml?start=16&end=16</path>
          <start_verse_id>eng-CEV:John.3.16</start_verse_id>
          <end_verse_id>eng-CEV:John.3.16</end_verse_id>
          <text><![CDATA[<p class="pi"><sup id="John.3.16" class="v">16</sup>God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.</p>]]></text>
          <copyright><p>Contemporary English Version® © 1995 American Bible Society.  All rights reserved.</p>
<p>Bible text from the Contemporary English Version (CEV) is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (<a href="http://www.americanbible.org/">www.americanbible.org</a>).</p></copyright>
        </passage>
        <passage>
          <display>John 3:16</display>
          <version>eng-GNTD</version>
          <version_abbreviation>GNTD</version_abbreviation>
          <path>/chapters/eng-GNTD:John.3/verses.xml?start=16&end=16</path>
          <start_verse_id>eng-GNTD:John.3.16</start_verse_id>
          <end_verse_id>eng-GNTD:John.3.16</end_verse_id>
          <text><![CDATA[<p class="p"><sup id="John.3.16" class="v">16</sup>For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.</p>]]></text>
          <copyright><p>Good News Translation (Today&#8217;s English Version, Second Edition) &#169; 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.</p></copyright>
        </passage>
      </passages>
    </result>
  </search>
  <meta>
    <fums><![CDATA[<script>
var _BAPI=_BAPI||{};
if(typeof(_BAPI.t)==='undefined'){
document.write('\x3Cscript src="'+document.location.protocol+'//d2ue49q0mum86x.cloudfront.net/include/fums.c.js"\x3E\x3C/script\x3E');}
document.write("\x3Cscript\x3E_BAPI.t('516ec6cb67a817.52440535');\x3C/script\x3E");
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  </meta>
</response>

Keyword Search Parameters

If the search is a keyword search (e.g. Mahershalalhashbaz, Jesus, Love) then there are several additional parameters that can be added to the request.

Note: if the search is a passage search (e.g. John 3:16), then these parameters will be silently ignored.

Two useful parameters, offset and limit, are shown in the example below. For documentation for all available parameters, refer to the verses endpoint documentation. All of the parameters that are valid for that endpoint can also be used on the search endpoint for keyword searches.

GET /search.xml?query=#{query}&offset={INTEGER}&limit={INTEGER}

  • offset: may be an integer to request records returned after this number of records. That is, if the offset is 1000, the records returned will start with the one thousand first record.
  • limit: may be an integer to request a maximum number of records be returned. If provided, limit must be less than or equal to 500.

 

Example:

Request
XML
JSON
GET https://bibles.org/v2/search.xml?query=love&offset=20&limit=3
Response
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<response>
  <search>
    <result>
      <type>verses</type>
      <summary>
        <query>love</query>
        <start>21</start>
        <total>2510</total>
        <rpp>3</rpp>
        <sort>relevance</sort>
        <versions>
          <version>eng-MSG</version>
          <version>cym-BNET</version>
          <version>eng-CEVUK</version>
          <version>eng-GNTD</version>
          <version>eng-CEV</version>
          <version>cym-BCN</version>
          <version>eng-GNBDC</version>
          <version>spa-RVR60</version>
          <version>eng-NASB</version>
          <version>eng-ESV</version>
          <version>eng-KJVA</version>
        </versions>
        <testaments>
          <testament>OT</testament>
          <testament>NT</testament>
        </testaments>
      </summary>
      <spelling>
        <entries>
          <entry>
            <query>love</query>
            <suggestions>
              <suggestion>leve</suggestion>
              <suggestion>live</suggestion>
              <suggestion>lote</suggestion>
            </suggestions>
          </entry>
        </entries>
      </spelling>
      <verses>
        <verse id="eng-ESV:Exod.20.6">
          <auditid>0</auditid>
          <verse>6</verse>
          <lastverse>6</lastverse>
          <id>eng-ESV:Exod.20.6</id>
          <osis_end>eng-ESV:Exod.20.6</osis_end>
          <label>Exod.020.006,eng-ESV</label>
          <reference>Exodus 20:6</reference>
          <text><![CDATA[<sup>6</sup>but showing steadfast <em>love</em> to thousands +  of those who <em>love</em> me and keep my commandments.]]></text>
          <parent>
            <chapter id="eng-ESV:Exod.20">
              <path>/chapters/eng-ESV:Exod.20</path>
              <name>Exodus 20</name>
              <id>eng-ESV:Exod.20</id>
            </chapter>
          </parent>
          <next>
            <verse id="eng-ESV:Exod.20.7">
              <path>/verses/eng-ESV:Exod.20.7</path>
              <name>Exodus 20:7</name>
              <id>eng-ESV:Exod.20.7</id>
            </verse>
          </next>
          <previous>
            <verse id="eng-ESV:Exod.20.5">
              <path>/verses/eng-ESV:Exod.20.5</path>
              <name>Exodus 20:5</name>
              <id>eng-ESV:Exod.20.5</id>
            </verse>
          </previous>
          <copyright><![CDATA[<p>Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.</p>]]></copyright>
        </verse>
        <verse id="eng-NASB:Titus.2.4">
          <auditid>0</auditid>
          <verse>4</verse>
          <lastverse>4</lastverse>
          <id>eng-NASB:Titus.2.4</id>
          <osis_end>eng-NASB:Titus.2.4</osis_end>
          <label>Titus.002.004,eng-NASB</label>
          <reference>Titus 2:4</reference>
          <text><![CDATA[<sup>4</sup>so that they may encourage the young women to <em>love their husbands, to love</em> their children,]]></text>
          <parent>
            <chapter id="eng-NASB:Titus.2">
              <path>/chapters/eng-NASB:Titus.2</path>
              <name>Titus 2</name>
              <id>eng-NASB:Titus.2</id>
            </chapter>
          </parent>
          <next>
            <verse id="eng-NASB:Titus.2.5">
              <path>/verses/eng-NASB:Titus.2.5</path>
              <name>Titus 2:5</name>
              <id>eng-NASB:Titus.2.5</id>
            </verse>
          </next>
          <previous>
            <verse id="eng-NASB:Titus.2.3">
              <path>/verses/eng-NASB:Titus.2.3</path>
              <name>Titus 2:3</name>
              <id>eng-NASB:Titus.2.3</id>
            </verse>
          </previous>
          <copyright><![CDATA[
      New American Standard Bible, Copyright  1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.
    ]]></copyright>
        </verse>
        <verse id="eng-CEV:1John.3.11">
          <auditid>0</auditid>
          <verse>11</verse>
          <lastverse>11</lastverse>
          <id>eng-CEV:1John.3.11</id>
          <osis_end>eng-CEV:1John.3.11</osis_end>
          <label>1John.003.011,eng-CEV</label>
          <reference>1 John 3:11</reference>
          <text><![CDATA[<em>Love</em> Each Other 
 <sup>11</sup> -  From the beginning you were told we must <em>love</em> each other.]]></text>
          <parent>
            <chapter id="eng-CEV:1John.3">
              <path>/chapters/eng-CEV:1John.3</path>
              <name>1 John 3</name>
              <id>eng-CEV:1John.3</id>
            </chapter>
          </parent>
          <next>
            <verse id="eng-CEV:1John.3.12">
              <path>/verses/eng-CEV:1John.3.12</path>
              <name>1 John 3:12</name>
              <id>eng-CEV:1John.3.12</id>
            </verse>
          </next>
          <previous>
            <verse id="eng-CEV:1John.3.10">
              <path>/verses/eng-CEV:1John.3.10</path>
              <name>1 John 3:10</name>
              <id>eng-CEV:1John.3.10</id>
            </verse>
          </previous>
          <copyright><![CDATA[<p>Contemporary English Version® © 1995 American Bible Society.  All rights reserved.</p>
<p>Bible text from the Contemporary English Version (CEV) is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (<a href="http://www.americanbible.org/">www.americanbible.org</a>).</p>]]></copyright>
        </verse>
      </verses>
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