Laying a Foundation for Your Examination

  1. Read the text using several translations (NRSV, New English, NIV, KJV, Jerusalem,etc.), paying special attention to place names, personal names, social roles, theological concepts and key phrases. Note any variations from version to version. Whenever possible, read the text in its original language, Hebrew or Greek.
  2. Look up terms, locations, genres in several of the Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias available,e.g., Anchor Bible Dictionary (Ref. BS 440 .A54 1992) or the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Ref. BS 440 I63.)
  3. Search the library catalog. You can try a word search or a subject search to find any books related to your passage. For subject searching, use the Library of Congress Subject Headings (Z695.Z8 L524a)
  4. Do a preliminary use the ATLAS Religion Database, available at all the public service computer terminals to look for general topics applicable to your passage, to look for terms, locations, and/or concepts mentioned in your passage; or to search for articles and books about your passage using the Biblical book, chapter, and verses as your search term. You can also access Old Testament Abstracts and New Testament Abstracts for additional information.