Free Online Bible Dictionary

Free Online Bible Dictionary

The free online Bible dictionary section is part of the online bible program at Gospel Hall dot org.  In addition to the free online bible dictionary there are also free online Bible commentaries and online concordances.  The free online bible dictionary selection is available along with the concordances under the link to the left titled "Online Bible Search" or here.

Instructions for the Free Online Bible Dictionary

1. Select the link Online Bible Search.

2. You may ignore the top section of the page if you are interested only in the free online bible dictionary. 

3. In the section titled "Dictionary Search" type in a key name or phrase that is found in the bible.  For example, the online dictionaries are likely to have definitions for terms such as "Grace" or "Sin".  The online dictionary also has information regarding Bible places such as "Jerusalem" or "Egypt".

4. Select one of the online dictionaries from the dropdown list.  The list of free online bible dictionaries includes the American Tract Dictionary, Easton's Bible Dictionary, the International Bible Encyclopedia, Torreye's Topic Index, Thompson's Chain Reference Bible, and Vine's Greek Dictionary of New Testament Words.

5. Finally, click the "Go" button to search for your term.

6. You may also browse the online dictionaries by each letter of the alphabet in the last search box on the page.

About the Free Online Bible Dictionary (ies)

All of the free online Bible Dictionaries are in the public domain.  That is, they passed out of copyright protection after the 75 year period of time since original publish date.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - The American Tract Society (ATS) is a publishing organization that publishes evangelistic Christian literature. It was founded on May 11, 1825 in New York City for the dissemination of Christian literature in leaflet form and was a strong supporter of the temperance movement. It soon took rank with the American Bible Society. By 1851 it had distributed about 5,000,000 temperance tracts. The ATS is currently headquartered in Garland, Texas. It produces tracts, e-tracts, digitracts, and books. Over the years, ATS has produced many millions of pieces of literature.

Easton's Bible Dictionary - Easton's Bible Dictionary generally refers to the Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, by Matthew George Easton M.A., D.D. (1823-1894), published three years after Easton's death in 1897 by Thomas Nelson. Because of its age, it is now a public domain resource. Despite its name, many of the entries in Easton's are encyclopedic in nature, though there are short, dictionary-like entries. It contains nearly 4,000 entries.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915) is a public domain Biblical encyclopedia. This encyclopedia was published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Hailed for its authoritative explanations of every significant word, person, and place in the Bible and Apocrypha, it is the standard by which all other Biblical encyclopedias are measured. In contains articles by nearly 200 scholars about archaeological discoveries, the language and literature of Bible lands, customs, family life, occupations, and the historical and religious environments of Bible people.

Torrey's Topical Textbook is a reference book or concordance for topics found in the Holy Bible. It contains subject index guides to topics found throughout the scriptures. The work contains 628 entries and over 20,000 scripture references.  It was published long enough ago that the original edition is believed to be out of copyright, but the exact year of publication is not known from sources cited here.  Reverend R.A. Torrey was known for his prolific writings on religious subjects including Methods of Bible Study

The Thompson Chain-Reference system was devised by its namesake, Dr. Frank C. Thompson, in the early 1900s. Dr. Thompson was a young preacher in the late 1800s. He became dissatisfied with the reference Bibles that were then available to preachers.

Dr. Thompson believed the Bible should be presented in a simple, but scholarly way. He saw the need for a well-organized reference Bible that would be of practical use to the layman as well as a minister. In 1890, Dr. Thompson began the work he would continue for the rest of his life. He completed the "thought suggestions" opposite the verses throughout the Bible. These are what became the "chain-links" that are the heart of the Thompson system. Some of the men in Dr. Thompson's church saw his Bible and told him this would be a great help to them in their Bible study too. They encouraged Dr. Thompson to have his Bible, with marginal references, published so that everyone could enjoy the blessing of this helpful study tool.[1]
The first version of Thompson's study Bible was published in 1908 by the Methodists Book Concern of Dobbs Ferry, New York. Five years later, in 1913, Dr. Thompson was joined by B.B. Kirkbride, of Indianapolis, Indiana. The two men formed the Kirkbride Bible Company, in order to further improve and distribute Thompson's work.

The original Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, as well as several subsequent versions, were based on the King James Bible. Currently, editions based on the King James Version, New King James Version, New International Version and New American Standard Bible are available, as well as electronic versions that incorporate other features.

As of 2006, there have been more than 4,000,000 Thompson Chain-Reference Bibles sold.

Vine's Expository Dictionary is a reference guide to Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek words for English readers. Some versions of the work only contain Greek word definitions. It explains King James Version words in an original Greek in context. It provides the meaning of the word in a proper context of Greek background. For example: In English Bible, there is only one word for "love" but in NT Greek, there are four (two being used the mostly). Therefore Vines fills the gap between English Bible and Greek NT nicely and effectively. It provides the definition of a word (KJV word) more accurately than the English dictionary because it uses Greek use of the word. For example: The word, "godliness (1Tim. 2:2)" in Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary is defined as "1: Divine 2: pious, devout -" but in Vines, it defines it as " 'to be devout,' denotes that piety which characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him." It provides fuller meaning of the word by explaining how the word is used in the NT. It can be used with Strongs concordance. Every word is numbered with Strong's number so you can use it more efficiently.




By Lolly Gasaway  University of North Carolina

 Definition:  A public domain work is a creative work that is not protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone.  The reasons that the work is not protected include: (1) the term of copyright for the work has expired; (2) the author failed to satisfy statutory formalities to perfect the copyright or (3) the work is a work of the U.S. Government.




Created 1-1-78 or after

When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression

Life + 70 years1(or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation2

Published before 1923

In public domain 


Published from 1923 - 63

When published with notice3

28 years + could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain

Published from 1964 - 77

When published with notice

28 years for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term

Created before 1-1-78 but not published

1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright

Life + 70 years or 12-31-2002, whichever is greater

Created before
1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002

1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright

Life + 70 years or 12-31-2047 whichever is greater

1  Term of joint works is measured by life of the longest-lived author.
2  Works for hire, anonymous and pseudonymous works also have this term.  17 U.S.C. § 302(c).
3  Under the 1909 Act, works published without notice went into the public domain upon publication. Works published without notice between 1-1-78 and 3-1-89, effective date of the Berne Convention Implementation Act, retained copyright only if efforts to correct the accidental omission of notice was made within five years, such as by placing notice on unsold copies. 17 U.S.C. § 405.   (Notes courtesy of Professor Tom Field, Franklin Pierce Law Center and Lolly Gasaway)

LOLLY GASAWAY         Last updated 11-04-03
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