Welcome to this Gumberg Library research guide designed to direct you resources helpful in interpreting and understanding the Bible. It directs users to a mixture of materials available electronically and in traditional print resources. It links to:
If you need in-depth help, you can contact me, Ted Bergfelt, Library Liaison to the Theology Department and creator of this research guide. My phone number is 412-426-5430, or you can email me. Or, if you need help right away, click "Ask Gumberg"
Concordances–These are basically keyword indexes and are usually geared to a specific translation of the Bible. Use them to find every Bible verse in which a word appears. They will usually show you the phrase in which the word appears as well as chapter and verse numbers.
Commentaries–These give a verse by verse explanation of books of the Bible. One-volume reference commentaries usually do not include the biblical text, so you will need to use them with a Bible beside you.
Criticism, Interpretation, Etc. -These do not give verse by verse commentary, but rather usually discuss a theme that runs throughout a biblical book
Dictionaries– Reference in nature, these briefly define biblical words or concepts, usually alphabetically arranged
Encyclopedias – Also reference in nature, these give longer articles on Bible personalities, concepts and words and are good places to start since they give overviews of subjects; usually alphabetically arranged (the only difference between these last two types of works is the length of articles)
(The subject subdivisions “dictionaries” and “encyclopedias” may be used inconsistently and interchangeably by the Library of Congress in cataloging)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
For all questions on Roman Catholic doctrine (including the doctrine of Scripture), the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative resource. The Latin text of the current catechism was published in 1993. The link below will take you to the official English translation on the Holy See website.
Citing the Bible
Below is a link to a very comprehensive guide to citing the Bible (and biblical reference works) in APA 6th edition, MLA 8th edition, Turabian, and Chicago styles. It was created by the Buhl Library at Grove City College.
Selected Print Reference Works
Selected Print Concordances
Selected Exegetical Dictionaries
These works are dictionaries of theological words from the Old and New Testaments, which describe in depth all the various meanings of words used in the Scriptures.
Study Bibles are great resources because they combine the biblical text with running verse-by-verse commentary, usually printed at the bottom of the page. There are often other types of resources included, like introductions to each book, illustrations, maps, and short concordances.
Parallel Bibles give the text of multiple translations side-by-side, making comparison of the translations easy.
One Volume Commentaries
One volume commentaries give commentary on the entire Bible. In the interests of saving space, the biblical text is usually not provided in one-volume commentaries, so you need to have a Bible at hand when you use them.
Below you will see the titles of major multi-volume biblical commentary series. In these sets there is usually at least one volume devoted to each biblical book. They go into much more detail than is possible in study Bibles and one-volume commentaries. These are well-respected commentary sets, which are very scholarly in nature. All volumes can be taken out of the Gumberg Library.
Anchor Bible, call number: BS192.2 A1 1964 G3 (Gumberg Library listing strat with record 27)
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, call number: BS491.2 A5x,
Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, call number: BS491.2 H4x
Interpreter's Bible, call number: BS491.2 I55
New Interpreter's Bible, call number: BS491.2 BS491.2 I55 1994x
Sacra Pagina Series (New Testament), call number: BS2341.2 S3x
Word Biblical Commentary, call number: BS 491.2 W67 1982