top verses

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not steal.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Give us this day our daily bread.

Jesus wept.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Pray without ceasing.

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

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.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:


enter visualization | selected screenshots

Every day the Bible is quoted in a range of contexts. To inspire. To persuade. To threaten. To deepen. To beautify. To make eloquent. Out of 66 books containing over 30,000 verses, ministers, politicians, parents, protestors, scientists, scholars, and cynics choose the handful of lines that best make their point.

This selection process provides a guide to the most important or interesting parts of the Bible. With the help of my favorite search engine, I collected rough counts of how often each verse appears on the web. Making these verses bigger and darker helped them stand out.

But how are these verses being used? Looking at the context of the pages doing the citing, a picture emerges of insprational sermons about faith, careful debates over meaning and timelines, and rules for everyday life. There is also occasional condemnation of nonbelievers and mockery in response. Through all of these runs the issue of how literally the Bible should be taken. As a recent episode of South Park put it, "You see, these are just stories. Stories that are meant to help people in the right direction. Love your neighbor. Be a good person. That's it! And when you start turning the stories into literal translations of hierarchies and power, well..."

Harper's put it another way. "We were trying to get politicians to understand why the Bible actually mandated protecting the world around us (Noah: the first Green), work that I think is true and vital. But one day it occurred to me that the parts of the world where people actually had cut dramatically back on their carbon emissions, actually did live voluntarily in smaller homes and take public transit, were the same countries where people were giving aid to the poor and making sure everyone had health care—countries like Norway and Sweden, where religion was relatively unimportant. How could that be? For Christians there should be something at least a little scary in the notion that, absent the magical answers of religion, people might just get around to solving their problems and strengthening their communities in more straightforward ways."

It is important to remember that the result counts from Google are very approximate, and these counts are still for quotations that exactly match the version in the Project Gutenberg copy of the King James Bible. They do not include partial quotations or quotes from other Bible versions.

Technical requirements
This piece requires the Java Plug-in 1.4.1 or greater to be installed in your browser. The plugin is part of the Java Runtime Environment. Most browsers should prompt you to install the plugin if you do not already have it. In some cases, an older version of Java may be installed, or the plugin may not be available in all browsers. This may require a reinstall or changing settings in your Java control panel. This piece was developed on a Windows XP computer with 1 GB of RAM and a 1.7 GHz processor. Although slower Pentiums with at least 512 MB of RAM should do fine, it is recommended that you close other running applications for best performance. Performance may be poorer on Macintosh or Linux computers, but it should work on Safari 2.0 with OS X 10.2 or later and Firefox, respectively. Firefox has more information available about configuring Java. Exegesis was developed on a 1400 x 1050 monitor, and will not work well on anything less than 1024 x 768. It may be slower on very high resolutions.

Detailed explanation and instructions
On the far right is an overview of the Bible. The darker regions are the verses that are quoted most often. Clicking or dragging on this overview will jump to other sections of the Bible.

To the left of the overview is a zoomed-in view of the currently-visible book, including some chapter numbers. Again, clicking here will jump to a particular section.

On the far left is the text of the Bible, with larger fonts indicating more-quoted sections. You can use your map to drag forward and backward, as in Adobe Acrobat or Google Maps.

On the bottom is the name of a web page. This is a name of a web page that appeared in search results as quoting the portion of the Bible currently visible. Clicking on the title or URL will open the page in a new window. Large text fades in and out on the overview. These are small selections from the web page listed here. Red lines point to other places in the Bible quoted by the page, which are likely to be related passages.

To the right of this is a search box. Type a search term and press enter to see orange markers on the overview where a term appears. Some pages that contain that term will also show briefly in orange. If the search term is not in the Bible, but there were web pages where this word was in the title, verses quoted by those pages are shown in blue. Use the left and right and right arrow keys to jump to the next and previous match for the search.

You can also use the up and down arrow and page keys to move the currently visible section up and down.

The web pages shown in the piece have all been automatically filtered to try to remove mere copies of the Bible (of which there are many online). There was no manual intervention, so some pages or excerpts from pages may seem inappropriate.

I owe an enormous debt to my long-time mentor Martin Wattenberg, Jo-Anne Green at Turbulence, and my beautiful girlfriend Catherine McCaw for their encouragement and feedback.

This work uses the public domain version of the King James Bible made available by Project Gutenberg. (There is an excellent history of the KJV at Wikipedia.) It was developed using Eclipse, MySQL, Quantum, Eclipse Profiler, and Retroweaver.

Kushal Dave

disproportionately-quoted words


popular words in quoting pages but not in the bible

exegesis is a 2005 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It was made possible with funding from the Murray G. and Beatrice H. Sherman Charitable Trust.