So, maybe you’ve never heard of the NET Bible. That’s okay, but it’s definitely time to learn! Impressively, the NET Bible existed online before any other free online Bible study website. It existed before Google, Facebook, eBay, and Amazon. In fact, there wasn’t a modern English translation online at all. From the start, the NET Bible set out to accomplish something new, and most certainly needed.

In 50 Words: What is the NET Bible?

The NET Bible is a new English translation created by a team of 25 biblical scholars. Despite their theological and cultural differences, this group had the same goal: to show their work. Readers are equipped to understand translation decisions and alternate readings in the footnotes.

In 300 Words: What is the NET Bible?

In the mid-1990s, a team of 25 biblical scholars from various countries and denominations joined to work on the NET Bible. They completed their first edition in 2001. The team made revisions over the following years and recently released a second edition in 2019.

The Philosophy

Not long ago, Christians were lucky to have the Scriptures in their own language. Now, English Bibles are commonplace, but the NET Bible team wanted to take this one step further. What if you could see how the translation was put together as you read Scripture?

There are many decisions that go into translation work, and the NET Bible team aims to be as transparent as possible. You’ll find thousands of footnotes on their translation decisions and alternate wordings. Not only that, but they also aim to be accountable. Readers can request changes to the NET Bible. No other translation is so openly accountable and vetted.

Making Improvements

The team made six major changes between the first edition and the second edition:

  1. Both OT and NT were updated to have more consistency in Greek/Hebrew word choice, relying on Strong’s concordance as a map.
  2. Divine names in the OT have been made more consistent.
  3. Technical terms related to geography, feast names, and the tabernacle have been made more consistent.
  4. References to explicit sexual body parts or sexual acts have been made more euphemistic like it is in the Hebrew and Greek. Sometimes a more transparent translation isn’t always better, such as reading the Christmas story with young children.
  5. Awkward/unidiomatic renderings were revised, and
  6. Hebrew references in footnotes were corrected and standardized.

In total, they counted 58,524 changes, give or take. Of course, if you have questions about these changes, you can look at the footnotes or ask!

Where is it available?

If you’d like to read the NET Bible online, the publishers made it available. You can start reading it now at Or, if you want a print version, you can! There are even journal, thinline, and pew versions.

Made for Olive Tree

But, if you’re an Olive Tree user, you won’t want to miss out on the features the NET Bible gains in the app.

NET Bible Matthew

When you first open the NET Bible, it looks like any other Bible, really. You can highlight, use the Resource Guide, take notes… any of the normal stuff you would do with a Bible translation.

However, you may start to notice there are a lot of footnote references.

Pop Up Window Olive Tree

Tucked into the Bible content are a trove of notes on the translation process, alternate readings, and even some cultural background information.

If you aren’t planning on using the notes during most of your study time, maybe you’d like to use them this way—in the pop up window. But, if you’re wanting a great, consistent view of both the text and notes, tap the arrow in the top-right corner.

Open in Parallel Olive Tree

Select “Open in Parallel” to keep the NET Bible text in the main window.

NET Bible Olive Tree

Now, you can scroll through your Bible text and the footnotes will follow along. If you scroll through the footnotes, the window will become unlinked. Simply tap the link icon to sync back up again.

Remember, if you want to use another resource along with the NET Bible text and notes, open something up in the Resource Guide tab. You can toggle between that tab and the Parallel tab to get the most out of your study.

Go Even Further with Strong’s

NET Bible Strong's

Combine the transparency of the NET Bible with the rich context of Strong’s numbers! The NET Bible with Strong’s allows you quick access to the Greek and Hebrew words behind the English translation. Then, you can read the dictionary definition from Strong’s concordance and search the Strong’s number throughout the entire Bible. Lastly, easily look up the Greek or Hebrew word in your dictionaries to find other helpful articles.

Want to learn more? Check out our thorough blog post on Strong’s Tagged Bibles.

Study with the NET Bible

NET Bible

Learn more about the NET Bible on the Olive Tree store—and then get your own copy to start reading!


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