James H. Thomason Library

Religion : Bible Exegesis
Reference Sources

Solomon dictates the Proverbs, Petrus Gilberti,

15th century, vellum, British Library, London
The Bridgeman Art Library Archive

  iPREACH Bible Reference Tools
  Bible Atlases
  Biographical Sources
  Gospel Parallels
  Bible Translations or Versions
  Journal Articles on Scripture
Library Catalogs
Get Help

  recommended resource

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EXEGESIS is the task of seeking out the legitimate meaning of a text in light of continuing and developing understanding.


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Reference Source Examples    
iPREACH Bible Reference Tools   back to top

iPREACH Bible Reference Tools    

This extensive collection of commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other reference works provides a breadth of substantial, searchable materials with which to prepare sermons, lessons, and research papers, all in one place.

Limited to 8 users at a time. If you receive an error message about exceeding the number of allowed users, try again later.



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The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Doubleday, 1992.
Main Level, Reference: R 220.3 An21A [6 vols]

Comprehensive dictionary of biblical subjects and scholarship including over 6,000 entries by more than 800 contributors.

Anchor Bible Dictionary

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2006.
Based on the highly acclaimed Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, this is an indispensable guide to every aspect of the Christian religion and life, including theology, patristic scholarship, churches and denominations, the church calendar and organization, and the Bible. There are also many entries on theologians, philosophers, painters, musicians, and writers of religious works.

The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, Abingdon Press, 1986.
Main Level, Reference:
R 203.21 D561D

Dictionary of Literary Symbols [CREDO Reference] Cambridge University Press, 2007.
The first dictionary of symbols to be based on literature, rather than “universal” psychological archetypes or myths. Entries range widely from the Bible and classical authors to the twentieth century.

A Dictionary of the Bible [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2002. 
Provides clear explanations of technical terms, methods of interpretation, and critical analysis, as well as notes on leading biblical scholars and their contributions, it is also concerned with denominational interpretations of the themes and doctrine of the Bible.



HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, Harper San Francisco, 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 220.3 H234H

The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible
, Abingdon Press, 1962.
Main Level, Reference: R 220.3 In8I [4 vols, supplement]

NIV Compact Dictionary of the Bible, Zondervan, 1989.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.3 D746N2

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 203 Ox2O

The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, Westminster Press, 1983.
Main Level, Reference: R 230.03 W528W

Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 230.03 M212W

Encyclopedias   back to top

The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Eerdmans, 1999-2008.
Main Level, Reference: R 230.003 En19E [5 vols]

Encyclopedia of Religion [Gale Virtual Reference Library], Macmillan Reference, 2005.
Also available Main Level, Reference: R 200.3 En19E [14 vols]

Encyclopedia of the Early Church, Oxford University Press, 1992.
Main Level, Reference: R 270.103 D648E [2 vols]

Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion, Corpus Publications, 1979.
Main Level, Reference: R 203.21 En19E [3 vols]
“Developed under Roman Catholic auspices and inspiration.”


Encyclopedia of Religion, 15 Volume Set

Encyclopedia of Religion
ebook & in print


Bible Atlases   back to top

... maps, charts, and images illustrating place names mentioned in the Bible.

Alternate names sometimes included along with additional information

The Harper Atlas of the Bible, Harper & Row, 1987.
Main Level, Reference:
ATLAS 912.122 H234H

The Harper Concise Atlas of the Bible, HarperCollins, c1991.

Main Level, Reference: ATLAS 912.122 H234H2

Atlas of the Bible [CREDO Reference], Andromeda, 1985.
Treating its subject geographically rather than historically, this unique work features the main biblical sites illustrated with colour maps. The book opens with a description of the Bible, explains how it came to be composed and how it has been transmitted to us through medieval manuscript copies and modern translations. The second section of the text provides an outline of the historical background of the Bible, from the time of Abraham to the close of the New Testament period. The third and principal section discusses the main geographical regions of the Bible and the sites within them. The history and main features of each region and site are described, and references are made throughout to incidents from the Old and New Testaments.

Commentaries   back to top

... Bible scholar's comments and interpretations of scripture

The New Interpreter's Bible, Abingdon Press, c1994-2002.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.7 N42N2 [12 vols]

The library also has earlier editions [The Interpreter's Bible] available in Reference and on the Upper Level:

Main Level, Reference: R 220.7 In8

Upper Level: 220.7 In8


The New Interpreter's Bible

Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: [series of 44 titles]

This link leads to an alphabetical list of the recommended Interpretation commentaries available on 44 books of the Bible. Check title for location/call number and availability. "Check shelf" status means item should be in place on the shelf upstairs. A date under "Status" means item is checked out and due on that date.



Thomason Library has several publisher's commentary series
for every book of the Bible!

Try a KEYWORD search in THOMCAT using commentaries
and the name of the book you are studying, for example:

commentaries Matthew OR commentaries Gospel of John

Most are shelved on the Upper Level between 222 and 228

in order by book - Genesis through Revelation.


Companions   back to top


... a one-volume reference work providing comprehensive information

on a specific area

The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought
, Oxford University Press, 2000.
Main Level, Reference: R 230.03 Ox2O

The Oxford Companion to the Bible [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 1993.
Ranging far beyond the scope of a traditional Bible dictionary, the Oxford Companion to the Bible provides an authoritative one-volume reference to the people, places, events, books, institutions, religious belief, and secular influence of the Bible. Written by more than 250 scholars from some 20 nations and embracing a wide variety of perspectives, the Companion features, in addition to its many informative, factual entries, an abundance of interpretive essays. Here are extended entries on religious concepts from immortality, sin, and grace, to baptism, ethics, and the Holy Spirit.

Also available in print, Upper Level: 220.3 M568O

Bible Concordance   back to top

. . . an alphabetic index of the principal WORDS in the Bible, with a reference to the passage or passages in which each indexed word appears

Eerdman's Analytical Concordance to the RSV, Eerdmans, c1988.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.520423 W58E

The NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Zondervan Pub. House, c1990.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.5208 G626N

The NRSV Concordance Unabridged: Including the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books, Zondervan, c1991.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.520433 K824N

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible, Abington, 1978, c1890.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.52 St88E

Authorized and Revised versions, including the American variations.

Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, 22d American Ed., Revised, Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1979.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.2 Y86A 1979

Concordance to English Bibles.


Biographical Sources   back to top


... background information on people in the Bible

The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2002.

A searchable encyclopedic database containing 325 articles describing the people and places that appear in the New Testament and Old Testament of the Bible.

Who's Who in the Old Testament  [CREDO Reference], Routledge, 2002.

Who's Who in the New Testament [CREDO Reference], Routledge, 2002.

Who's Who in the Old Testament, Oxford University Press, 1993.
Main Level, Reference: R 220.92 W62W

Who's Who in the New Testament, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.92 W62W2

Women in Scripture, Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.92082 W842W

Includes named women [Part I], unnamed women [Part II] and female deities and personifications [Part III] from the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books.

Gospel Parallels   back to top

...gospel stories, parables, printed in three parallel columns
across the page to facilitate comparison

Gospel Parallels: A Synopsis of the First Three Gospels, Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr., editor, 3rd ed., Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1967.

Upper Level: 226.1 B471C2
Text used is the Revised Standard Version, 1952. Each Gospel is printed in order, repeating content when necessary.

Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr., editor, 5th ed., Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992.

Upper Level: 226.1 B471G
Text used is the New Revised Standard Version, 1989.
Each Gospel is printed in order, repeating content when necessary. 5th edition contains extensive footnotes.


Bible Translations or Versions   back to top

New English Bible, with the Apocrypha, Oxford University Press.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.5206 B471N (1976)

Upper Level: 220.52 B471N 1970 [ 2 copies]

New Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday, c1985.
Main Level, Reference: R 220.52 B471N

New King James Bible: New Testament, T. Nelson, c1979.

Main Level, Reference: R 225.52 B471N

Upper Level: 225.52 B471N4

New Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version containing Old and New Testaments, Oxford Univ. Press, 1973.

Main Level, Reference: R 220.52 B471B

Upper Level: 220.52 B471B3

New Testament in Modern English, translated by Phillips, Macmillan, 1978, c1972.
Main Level, Reference: R 225.52 B471N2

Upper Level: 225.52 B471N3 (1958)

Blue Letter Bible [Sowing Circle]

Containing 14 searchable versions of the Holy Bible, Blue Letter Bible offers an extensive insight into one of the world’s most popular books. Passages can be changed from version to version for easy comparison and various tools (an encyclopedia, a dictionary, 23 text commentaries, and 30 audio/video commentaries) help users explore chapter and verse. Additional resources include charts, outlines, timelines, and maps, plus four streaming audio versions, are available from each passage’s page. When appropriate for the passage, over 2,700 hymns are also available (lyrics are shown with link to a MIDI file to play music). This web resource is useful for anyone interested in biblical study and especially notable for comparing Bible versions. description from RUSA, a division of ALA

... bible text in four versions across the page

The Parallel Four Translation New Testament: King James Version, New American Standard, New International Version, Amplified, Iversen-Norman Associates, 1975.

Upper Level: 225.52 B471P2

The New Testament in Four Versions: King James, Revised Standard, Phillips Modern English, New English Bible, Christianity today, 1963.
Upper Level: 225.52 B471N2



Thomason Library has Bibles in languages other than English:
Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese

Upper Level: 220.53-220.59



Journal Articles on Scripture   back to top

ATLA Religion Database [EBSCO]

A comprehensive reference database designed to support religious and theological scholarship in graduate education and faculty research. Contains citations from international titles and multi-author works related to the field of religion and full-text for over 50 of the 600 journals indexed. Now includes an updated Scriptures search where users can browse the books of the bible in canonical order and drill down to the chapter, then verse level. Selecting an entry at the book, chapter, or verse level will execute a search for all records indexed with that book, chapter or verse.  For example, if a user selects John and expands to select Chapter 11 and expands again electing to search Verse 32, ATLA will return records indexed with John 11: 32, as well as records indexed with John 11: 1-32.

Library Catalogs   back to top


Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              

Tillich, Paul [as AUTHOR]

  Tillich, Paul [as SUBJECT]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to Bible exegesis:
  Bible as Literature
  Bible Biography
  Bible study and teaching
  Bible translating
Bible. N.T. Matthew -- Commentaries
  Women in the Bible

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD search if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Type two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find into search box. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
Matthew AND commentaries

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or
expand a term, ** for unlimited length:

interpret** = interprets, interpreter

interpretation, interpretations

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
OR Jesus) AND trinity

Try KEYWORD searching with THOMCAT, the other library catalogs below & library databases

PASCAL Catalog

If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.

A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in the PASCAL Catalog.

Interlibrary Loan
ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Click link for instructions.


Get Help   back to top
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Reference Desk

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Dan Lee 833-8437


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