How The System Does It

We say two Bible verses are linked when verse A and verse B are related to each other. Williams Bible Links™ collects Bible verse links cited in public domain works such as Bible commentaries and cross-reference collections.

Links are identified by noting that two verses are part of the same topic, a group of verses associated together in a source. A footnoted concept in a verse, such as "prayer," and its cross-references are a topic.

If a topic has, say, three verses -- the original verse and two cross-references -- then there are three links: A link between the original verse and the first cross-reference, a link between the original verse and the second cross-reference, and a link between the two cross-references themselves. The number of links goes up rapidly as topics contain more verses.

Each link results in two cross-reference entries: Lookup verse A points to cross-reference B, and lookup verse B points to cross-reference A.

The system tallies how many citations each link has in our sources. This is a measure of how much consensus there is that the link is important. The more citations, the more authors thought the relationship between two verses to be noteworthy.

We only use links "confirmed" with two or more citations. This is to minimize false positives -- verses that are not valid cross-references.

The system attempts to group each lookup verse's references into display topics, using network community detection techniques. The analysis is based on the links between verses rather than the content of the verses.

This works because commentators

  1. Knew the content of verses and identified verse concepts
  2. Noted that other verses contained similar concepts and thus had connections, meaning-wise
  3. Recorded these connected verses in such a way that the system could identify this group of verses as a topic
The system uses these topics to generate links between verses with similar concepts. The links are combined into a network of verses and their connections. The system examines this network to identify clusters, or communities, of related verses which then become display topics for each lookup verse.

Public Domain