Using Labels

Using labels allows you to make discoveries in a text that surpass simple word searches. For example, you can study the figurative use of a word like “sheep” or analyze occurrences of a particular grammatical construction like “the righteousness of God.” 

A label is a tag that editors have attached to a word, phrase, or section identifying it as belonging to a particular class (e.g. Person, Command, or Miracle). In addition to the class, labels indicate properties of each labeled unit (e.g. Speaker, Type, or Instrument). Labels enable you to perform specialized and complex searches, gain specific results, and see a variety of connections in the text. This article introduces you to the kinds of labels present in Verbum, how to use labels, and how to create your own labels for use.


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Identifying Labels

Using Labels in Searches

Creating Your Own Labels


Identifying Labels

A Label has a Class Name and multiple Properties. A Property has a name and one or more values. The easiest way to identify a label is to right-click a word in the text. The label tags for the word appear in the left side of the panel.


Click the triangle to the left of a label to expand a list of additional labels associated with the word.


A complete list and description of labels used in Verbum can be found in the program Help section

Note: Labels are specific to resources. They are most extensive in Bibles and limited in other resources. For example, God has many associated labels in the NIV, yet in a systematic theology, God may not have any associated labels.

Clicking a label expands options for searching this label in the right-hand portion of the pane.


Using Labels in Searches

The following section demonstrates how to use labels to search your resources.

To find instances of a particular label:

  1. Right-click the word.
    For example: You want to find instances where people are commanded to gather or bring something. In John 6:12, right-click Gather.
  2. Select the label you wish to search.
    For example: In this context, “Gather” is a command, so select the label Command.
  1. Select your search type.
    For example: To find the instances of this command type in your open Bible, select Bible. Verbum searches based on your selection and returns the results.


Refine a label search


In the example above, all the instances of commands involving sending and carrying are displayed. You can refine this search to locate specific instances within the search results.

For example: You want to find instances where Jesus commanded people to gather or bring something.

  1. Click the Search box.
  2. Add the Search Operator IN followed by the search term speaker:Jesus at the end of the current search string. This will find occurrences of this label where Jesus is speaking.
  3. Verbum displays results for the search term within the instances of the label.


Make a search more powerful with labels

Labels allow you to perform searches that narrow the scope of what you’re looking for. For instance, in the biblical world, sheep were common animals. The Bible also uses sheep metaphorically. Simply searching sheep generates both results. Using a label search, you can narrow the scope of your search to find or eliminate only the metaphorical uses from your search. 

  1. Begin with a verse using the word in the sense that you wish to search.
  2. Right-click the word.
  3. Select the label corresponding to the sense you wish to search.
  4. Click the kind of search you wish to perform. Verbum copies the label to the search bar and displays the results.
  5. To exclude results, insert NOT at the appropriate location.
    For example: To find uses of sheep that are not metaphors, insert sheep NOT before the figurative language label.


Note that there has been a change in operator moving from Verbum 9 to Verbum 10:

Verbum 10

Verbum 9 and before




Generate your own searches

Once you become familiar with how labels function, you can create your own searches from scratch.

Note: The kind of labels you use in your search determine whether you execute a Books search, Bible search, or Morph search. 

Simply follow this basic syntax - and again, this changed in moving to Verbum 10:

Verbum 10

Verbum 9 and before

classname:property1:value [AND|NOT] classname:property2:value

{Label (Classname) WHERE[NOT] (property1) ~ (value1) [AND[NOT] (Property2) ~ (value2) ...]}


For example:

Verbum 10

Verbum 9 and before



{Label Sermon}

all labels of type Sermon


{Label Sermon WHERE Series}

all sermons in any series

sermon:* NOT sermon:series:*

{Label Sermon WHERE NOT Series}

all sermons not in a series

sermon:series:"The King and the Kingdom"

{Label Sermon WHERE Series = The King and the Kingdom}

all sermons in the series "The King and the Kingdom"


{Label Sermon WHERE Series ~ Kingdom}

all sermons in series that contain the word Kingdom

sermon:date:"Jul 9, 1989"

{Label Sermon WHERE Date = <Date Jul 9, 1989>}

all sermons preached on July 9th 1989

sermon:date:"Jul 1989"

{Label Sermon WHERE Date ~ <Date Jul 1989>}

all sermons preached during July 1989

sermon:references:"Eph 1:15-23"

{Label Sermon WHERE References = <Bible Eph 1:15-23>}

all sermons preached on Ephesians 1:15-23

sermon:references:"Eph 1"

{Label Sermon WHERE References ~ <Bible Eph 1>}

all sermons preached on Ephesians 1

sermon:references:"Eph 1" AND sermon:creator:Piper

{Label Sermon WHERE Creator ~ Piper AND References ~ <Eph>

all sermons preached by Piper from Ephesians

Note: These examples would be used in a Books search.

For a list of labels used in Verbum, click here.


Related uses of labels

  • Some of the guides and interactive features in Verbum are built using labels that allow you to engage with the label data without performing a label search. For example, the Miracles of the Bible interactive allows you to quickly filter the various miracles of the Bible by Type, Agent, Instrument, and more.
  • Labels are used to form datasets and work in conjunction with them. For more information about datasets, click here.
  • You can copy the syntax from a label search to create Visual Filters. For more information about creating Visual Filters, click here.


Creating Your Own Labels

In addition to using the labels that already exist in Verbum, you can create your own labels. This allows you to add fully customizable markup to the text and attach properties to these markup selections. You can attach properties to selected texts such as name, type, and value. Your new label entries allow you to search these markup selections. Labels can be added through highlights or notes.


Add a label when you highlight

Labels can be used to supply additional data for highlighting.

For example: You hear in a sermon that each command in the Pentateuch is a restatement, explanation, or application of one of the Ten Commandments. You want to label the commands according to this principle.

  1. Click Tools > Highlighting.
  2. Click New palette and give your palette a name.
    For example: Decalogue
  3. Right-click the palette and select Add a new style.
  4. Give your style a name.
    For example: 1st Commandment
  5. Apply a highlight so that the label is visible in the resource - we'll set it to have a yellow background color
  6. Check the box This style implies a label, and enter a name for your label.
    For example: Decalogue
  7. Click the Add attributes link at the bottom and enter a name for your attribute.
    For example: Commandment
    Note: To add attributes at the time of highlighting, check the box Prompt to enter attributes.
  8. Select a type for the attribute value from the list. For example: Number
  9. Enter a value for the attribute.
    For example: 1

  10. Add additional attributes by repeating steps 6-8.
    For example: Add the attribute Type and attribute value text and leave the value blank. (You will edit it later.)
  11. Click Save.
  12. Apply a shortcut key to this style by clicking the dropdown menu to the right of the style and clicking the triangle next to Shortcut key.

  13. Repeat steps 3-11 to add additional styles to your palette.
    For example: To create highlighting labels for each of the Ten Commandments, repeat these steps until you have a style for each one of the commandments.

    Note: To save time, duplicate a style by right-clicking an existing style and selecting Duplicate. Then you can rename and edit the style.

  14. After applying the highlight to a text range, you can hover or right-click, and the context menu lists your applied label and the information you set in the Label Entry section. You can now perform a search using the labels you created.
    For example: Searching for label:(Decalogue AND commandment:1)  locates all of the places where you marked a command as being an expression of the first commandment.

  15. Note that there has been a change in syntax moving from Verbum 9 to Verbum 10:

    Verbum 10

    Verbum 9 and before

    label:(Decalogue AND commandment:1)

    {Label Decalogue WHERE Commandment = 1}

    While label: is not required when searching for a Verbum-defined label, it is required when searching for a user-defined one.


Add a label to an anchor in a note

Labels can be added to anchors in notes which allow you to search the anchored texts by the label name. You can use labels that already exist within Verbum or create your own.

  1. Select a text and create a note. (For more information about the Notes tool, click here).
  2. Click the Add Label icon  in the bottom right corner of the note you want to label.
  3. Create a label name and enter attributes and values for the label.
    For example: You found a quote on the nature and function of Scripture in redemptive history. After adding a note, you create the label name Scripture and add the attribute Purpose with the value interpret as well as the attribute Redemption with the value history.

  4. Adding a label to a note allows you to search your notes when using any of an All, Bible or Books search.
    For example: Searching for label:Scripture locates all of the resources where you attached this label in your notes.


Note that there has been a change in syntax moving from Verbum 9 to Verbum 10:

Verbum 10

Verbum 9 and before


{Label Scripture}


Note: When you attach a label to a note, the note must be anchored to a text in order for Verbum to include the labelled note in your search results. Click here to learn more about anchors.

Search your labels

You can perform searches with your labels as you would with any other labelled text in Verbum using the following syntax:

label:(classname AND property1:value [AND|NOT] property2:value)

For example:label:(Decalogue AND commandment:1) finds all the instances where you identified a command as an expression of the first commandment.

Again there has been a change in syntax moving from Verbum 9 to Verbum 10:

Verbum 10

Verbum 9 and before

label:(classname AND property1:value [AND|NOT] property2:value)

{Label (Classname) WHERE[NOT] (property1) ~ (value1) [AND[NOT] (Property2) ~ (value2) ...]}

label:(Decalogue AND commandment:1)

{Label Decalogue WHERE Commandment = 1}

Note: Labels created in a Bible can be searched using an All,Books, Bible, or Morph search. Labels created in other resources can only be searched using a Books or All search.

Edit your labels

To edit a label in a highlight:

  1. Right-click a word within the highlight you want to edit. Click the label you want to edit.
  2. Click Edit label. In the dialogue box, you may edit any of the fields for your label or delete an attribute by hovering to the right of the field and clicking
  3. clicking the Delete button that appears..


To edit a label in a note:

  1. Open the note you want to edit.
  2. Click the label you want to edit. In the dialogue box, you may edit any of the fields for your label or delete an attribute by hovering to the right of the field and clicking the Delete button that appears.
  3. To remove a label from a note, click the X to the right of the label.
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