When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

06 November 2005

Exegesis: Visualizing frequently quoted Bible verses

Exegesis is a Java-based Web application that, using data from Google, visually demonstrates which verses of the Bible (King James version) are quoted most often on the Web.

Says the app's author:
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 30,652 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.
The interface takes a little getting used to, but once you understand it, it's quite powerful: Click and drag to select the book and chapter that you want to start reading, and it starts slowly scrolling up the left side of the computer's window; frequently quoted verses are rendered in larger, darker type, and examples of sites quoting said verses can be seen as links to the right.

Top ten verses from the Bible on the Web, per Exegesis:
  1. Thou shalt not kill.
  2. Thou shalt not steal.
  3. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying...
  4. Give us this day our daily bread.
  5. Jesus wept.
  6. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God...
  7. Pray without ceasing.
  8. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
  9. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  10. 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.
(Hat tip: Another truly great find from Jason Kottke.)

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