This page contains enriched content visible when JavaScript is enabled or by clicking here. Skip to Main Content

Biblical Studies Research Guide: Finding Resources

This guide will walk you through the basics of Bible-related research.

Contact/Library Info Links

Finding Resources

Once you know your topic, your next step is to do the research. This page will help you determine what information is in different types of resources.

For more detailed information about these types of resources, select the appropriate tab above.


Commentaries are the bread and butter of an exegetical paper. They generally come in a series. Each book will cover a small portion of the Bible, ranging from a few chapters in a large book like Isaiah to several books in the case of short ones such as the minor prophets.

Commentaries break down the whole Bible verse by verse, analyzing the language, historical context, literary significance, and more. They are the first place to go if you want background on a particular passage.

SBU's commentaries are located in the tall shelves labeled Reference, near the copier and the bathrooms. They are on the first shelf, front and back.

Examples of commentaries include the following:

  • ICC - International Critical Commentary series
  • NAC - New American Commentary series
  • NICOT - New International Commentary on the Old Testament series
  • NIVAC - NIV Application Commentary series
  • WBC - World Biblical Commentary series

Bible Dictionaries/Encyclopedias

The purpose of Bible dictionaries/encyclopedias is to provide background and context on particular people, places, events, and concepts that appear in the Bible. They are a great tool for seeing how perceptions and ideas evolve throughout the history of the Bible and how they differ between individual authors.

Bible dictionaries typically do not go into great exegetical detail on specific passages. They give general overviews of specific topics as they pertain to the Bible as a whole.

Popular dictionaries include the following:

  • International Standard Bible Dictionary (affectionately called "Izbee")
  • New Bible Dictionary
  • Anchor Bible Dictionary
  • HarperCollins Bible Dictionary
  • Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament
  • Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

Language Tools

Concordances and lexicons are tools for studying the Bible in its original languages. They provide definitions of Greek and Hebrew words and/or list all the places in the Bible where a word occurs. A concordance usually is associated with a particular Bible translation to create a more consistent experience for the user.

Here are a few of the most prominent:

  • Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
  • The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

Scholarly Articles and Journals

Scholarly articles and journals cover any and every topic and can be useful to any type of paper. The difference is that these articles are extremely narrow in their scope. An article might be only five pages long and cover the use of one extremely specic word.

Articles are extremely useful for research on theology. For Bible-oriented research, you will be lucky if you can find articles that relate well to your topic, but if you do find them, they will be a major asset.

The following databases and journals are good sources for articles:

  • ATLA
  • America: History and Life
  • Academic Search Premier
  • Biblical Archaeology Review (Journal)
  • Bibliotheca Sacra (Journal)
  • Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
  • Journal for the Study of the New Testament
  • New Testament Studies (Journal)

Dean & Redford Personal Librarian

Profile Photo
University Libraries
Chat loading...