While many of us enjoy reading our printed set of scriptures and hand-writing notes in the margins, the online scriptures on LDS.org provide the same text as the print version and have additional features, such as pop-up footnotes, My Study Notebook, and audio playback, that might be helpful in a number of ways.
You can access the scriptures on LDS.org by clicking on Menu, and then under the Study, click Scriptures. The scriptures homepage shows links to the standard works in the sidebar.
Listen rather than read
While you’re viewing a chapter online, you can listen to the scriptures like an audio book by clicking Listen in the right-hand navigation list.
This option not only helps those who are seeing impaired; if you’re too tired to read, or traveling in the car, or if you just prefer to hear the words, listening can be a welcome switch from reading. You can also choose the Listen option during family scripture study, or in other settings.
Another feature while reading scriptures online is the ability to share chapters with your friends through social media. Clicking the Share button while viewing a chapter makes it easy to be a member missionary. Share options include Email, Twitter, Facebook, and Delicious.
Posting your favorite chapter on Facebook or Twitter is an easy way to invite others to learn about the gospel. Also, your sphere of influence online may be a much larger group than in your immediate physical location. When you share content on Facebook, others can also share the same content you posted, expanding the influence.
When you’re reading scriptures online, you can click links to jump quickly from passage to passage. This can be especially helpful if you’re studying a topic and moving through a list of references to the topic. Rather than searching out each passage — an exercise that not only tests your knowledge of where each book is, but also your dexterity to turn pages and navigate chapters and verses — you simply click a link and go straight to the highlighted passage.
As an example, in the sidebar of the Scriptures page on LDS.org, click Study Helps, and then click Topical Guide. Choose a topic, such as Last Days, and then quickly click through each of the references to that topic.
Filter your search results
When you search for words in the scriptures, you can use the filters on the left to narrow the results to the sources you want to see.
For example, suppose you search for living water. After the search results appear, use the links under "Refine Your Search" to narrow the list of results to the category you select. If you select Old Testament, you will see only results for “living water” that appear in the Old Testament.
You can further limit the filters by expanding the Old Testament link and selecting a sub-link, such as Genesis. Parentheses after each link show you the number of times the word appears in that book.
To cancel the filter, click the X next to the filter you selected. Overall, these filters make it easy to sort and narrow search results based on the sources you want to see.
View footnotes without losing your place
Like the scriptures in print, the online scriptures have footnotes embedded throughout the text, but instead of flipping back-and-forth to find the reference in print scriptures, you can just click the footnote.
When you click a footnote, a small window pops up containing references to other scriptures, related topics in the topical guide, and Greek or Hebrew translations. When you click links in the footnote to read a cross reference, the reference appears directly within the footnote window, rather than directing you to a new page. This makes it easy to explore footnotes without losing your place.
If you don’t want footnotes cluttering up your view of verses, you can also turn footnotes off entirely with one click by clicking Hide Footnotes in the sidebar. This turns off all the footnote references in the verses so you can focus more clearly on the words. When you’re ready to turn them back on, click Show Footnotes.
View your highlights and notes in one place
When you’re reading content on LDS.org, you can make notes about verses, bookmark chapters you want to remember, and save the content to a personal, private space on LDS.org called My Study Notebook.
My Study Notebook can be especially helpful if you’re preparing a topic or lesson. For example, suppose you’re preparing a lesson on the Word of Wisdom, and you’re searching for stories, quotations, doctrine, and media to use. You’ll be searching a large number of pages on LDS.org. How will you keep track of everything you find? How will you organize all the content into a useful set of notes for your lesson?
My Study Notebook can help. First make sure you sign into LDS.org. Then navigate to a scripture, lesson, conference talk, or magazine article. At the bottom, look for a black toolbar that includes buttons to share, bookmark, and write journal entries.
Now highlight a passage. In the black pop-up window that appears, click Add note/tag. Then add a note and select a notebook to add it to.
Once you’ve gathered your content, you can view it all by going to Tools > My Study Notebook. When you select a notebook folder, you can drag your notes into different arrangements.
For a more detailed tutorial using My Study Notebook, click the Help link in My Study Notebook’s sidebar.
Study anywhere at any time
Through the Gospel Library app, you can easily fit the digital version of the scriptures in your pocket and take the scriptures anywhere you go. Any highlights, notes, and other bookmarks you created on LDS.org through My Study Notebook automatically sync to your mobile device.
With your scriptures ever present and available, you can study the scriptures at almost any spare opportunity — while standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for the bus, at the dentist’s office, at the beach, in bed late at night when you can’t sleep, riding the elevator, traveling as a passenger in the car, and so on.
In the Gospel Library app, when you tap and hold a verse, you’re prompted with a Study toolbar that allows you to highlight and add notes to the verse. Your highlights and notes sync with Study Notebook on LDS.org, integrating the experience across both online and mobile formats.
The online format for the scriptures goes beyond merely arranging the same scriptural content on a web page. The online experience for studying scriptures allows you to do all of the following:
- Listen rather than read
- Share with friends
- Navigate to scriptures quickly
- View footnotes without losing your place
- View your highlights and notes in one place
- Study anywhere at any time
By no means are we suggesting that the online version of scriptures is superior to reading the printed formats. There’s an immeasurable benefit to isolating yourself from online distractions and focusing on words on a page in front of you. But in some scenarios, the online features may be helpful, and if so, you can make use of the resources available.