Monday  June 5


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Sermon Search

NOTE: The Sermon Search has been upgraded. There are some changes to the syntax for entering search criteria. Be sure to look through the examples below to see how to optimize your searches. (April 25, 2018)

Proximity: Document   Page   Paragraph   Sentence    
Proxmity applies to multiple keywords. It is useful in narrowing the search within documents. The terms page/paragraph/sentence are approximate, but each narrows the proximity.

Search Hints:

The search feature applies only to sermon documents (not site pages) and uses syntax illustrated in the examples below. Look them over to see how you can manipulate the search criteria for the most successful results.

Setting search criteria. There are two levels: Keyword(s) allows you to enter one or more words, or a phrase, that you are looking for. Proximity tells the search engine how wide or narrow to make the search—from entire documents to increasingly narrow ranges (descibred in approxpiamte terms as page, paragraph, and sentence).

Using variations on "Jesus prayed" and some Scripture references, the following will give you an idea of how to use the Sermon Search feature. The numbers in brackets represent the number and percentage of "hits" out of 558 documents on the site in April 2018.


When you enter a phrase (2 or more words) or a Scripture reference, surround it with quotation marks, otherwise the presence of a space acts like an OR (see multi-word examples below)
Example   Search result
"Jesus prayed"   [12/2%] - looks for the phrase "Jesus prayed" or variants ("Jesus prays").
"Romans 11"   [38/7%] - looks for all references to Romans 11.
NOTE: Quotation marks must be included, but that disables the use of Proximity settings (see examples of this below)
"Romans 11:17"   [6/1%] - looks for all references to the specific verse, Romans 11:17.
"Romans 11:17-20"   [2/less than 1%] - looks for all references to the specific verse range, Romans 11:17-20.
NOTE: When using a range of verses, the search engine will look for that specific phrase in the document text. It does not mean that it will look for a reference to any verse between 17 and 20. Also, a colon can only be used inside quotation marks.
"Romans 10" "Romans 11"   [83/15%] - looks for any reference to EITHER Romans 10 OR Romans 11.
+"Romans 10"
+"Romans 11"
  [11/2%] - looks for reference to BOTH Romans 10 AND Romans 11 in the same document. This is done by adding the plus sign before each quoted reference (you'll find more examples of using + and - signs below)
+"Jesus prayed"
+Matthew 22"
  [3/less than 1%] - looks for BOTH "Jesus prayed" AND "Matthew 22". Shows how a Scripture reference works the same as a phrase.
"now I come to you"   [3/less than 1%] - looks for the exact phrase "now I come to you" (from John 17:13, NASB).
NOTE: While searching on longer phrases can be very helpful, there is also a risk that it will find nothing. Here, for example, when looking for a phrase from the Bible reference, differences in translations can affect the search. For example, while NKJV uses the same wording as NASB, KJV uses the more archaic "now come I to thee." NLT and ESV use "now I am coming to you," NIV uses "I am coming to you now," and The Message uses "Now I'm returning to you." In this case, if you know the referene, use it instead of the text.


Single word searches will usually provide a large number of results, of which only the top 50 will be shown. The search engine will look for all variations close to the keyword entered )i.e., pray will also include, prays, prayed, prayer. Because of this, some chnages in the keyword will produce little change in results (pray vs prayer), while others can be significant (thanks vs thanksgiving).
Example   Search result
pray   [291/52%] contain pray, prays, prayed, prayer, etc.
Proxitiy remains at Document on single keyword searches.
prayer   [278/50%] contain prayer or prayers—note that prayed, however, returns the same result as pray
thanks   [212/38%] contains thanks or its variations (thank, thankful, thanksgiving, etc.)
thanksgiving   [41/7%] could be expressino of feeling or the holiday - all results can be listed

Example   Search result
Jesus prayed   [548/98%] - looks for EITHER Jesus OR prayed (with its variants), so it includes nearly every document
+Jesus +prayed   [281/50%] - adding plus sign means it looks for BOTH Jesus AND prayed (with its variants), so it's still big, but half of the previous example. Using Paragraph proximity reduces it to 183 documents, while Sentence drops it to 53, still above the 50 file threhold to show the whole list.
+Jesus -prayed   [257/46%] - looks for Jesus but NOT prayed (Jesus alone produces 545 results, or 98%, prayed alone produces 291, or 52%)
-Jesus +prayed   [3/less than 1%] - looks for prayed (with its variants) but NOT Jesus
+Jesus +prayed +temple   [117/21%] looks for Jesus AND prayed AND temple
Dropping proximity to Page yields 71 (13%), while Paragragh yields only 4 (less than 1%), and Sentence none. Remember that the designations page/paragraph/sentence are not literal, but approximations of narrowing proximity.
+Jesus +prayed +temple
  [88/16%] looks for Jesus AND prayed AND temple AND Matthew
Dropping proximity to Page yields 31 (6%), while Paragragh yields only 1, and Sentence none.
+Jesus +prayed +temple
+"Matthew 2"
  [9/2%] looks for Jesus AND prayed AND temple AND Matthew 2. Because of the quotation marks, the search can only look at full documents. Therefore, you cannot tell if the combination of terms are related, simply that they all appear somewhere in the document.

NOTE: Sermon dates are relative and, especially in recent years, are used to identify a cataloging date,
since a date is an integral part of the file name (sermonYYYY-MM-DD).)