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RELI 3354 The Letters of Paul


Three types of searches

Three main categories of searches that are useful, whether searching in our catalog or in journal databases:


thematic searches, such as Paul's travels, Paul's conversion, Paul on marriage, or biography (most indexes use Paul, the Apostle, Saint or Paul, Saint, Apostle)

textual searches, where you'll look for writing about a particular literary unit, such as Romans or 1st Corinthians 13

genre searches; in this particular case, usually "the epistles of Paul"




 Caravaggio: Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Caravaggio--Conversion on the Way to Damascus (Wikimedia Commons)

Reference Books/eBooks

Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and One-Volume Commentaries

The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible  REF BS440 .N445 2006

Anchor Bible Dictionary   REF BS 440 A54 1992


Both of these dictionaries will frequently have quite detailed articles on key texts, themes, names, etc., as well as brief bibliographies of important scholarly studies on the topics. Perspectives of the authors vary, but tend to fall into more "mainline church"/liberal to middle of the road views.

 The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible (online)

Overviews of authorship, canonicity, historical context, literary structure, and more; useful bibliographies included. (Note that the LS--LinkSource--button under each bibliographic entry will work only for journal articles, not books; search our catalog for books that look valuable for your research.)

Fortress Commentary on the Bible (2014) (online) 

E-book version of a recent two-volume Bible commentary with contributions from 75 major scholars.

The New Interpreter's Bible  REF BS 491.2 N484 1994 (12 vols.)

The Westminster Theological Wordbook of the Bible  REF BS 543 W47 2003


The IVP Bible Background Commentary : New Testament    REF BS2341.2 .K445 1993

Dictionary of Paul and His Letters   REF BS 2650.2 D53 1993

These reference titles are published by InterVarsity Press and generally reflect an evangelical Protestant perspective.


The NRSV Concordance Unabridged   REF BS425 .K645 1991

A more thorough way to look up each occurrence of a word that is used in this particular English translation of the Bible, helping you to locate pertinent texts and observe a range of the word's uses.




Encyclopedia of Early Christianity  REF  BR162.2 .E53 1990


Encyclopedia of Religion    REF BL 31 E46 2005 or online here

15 volumes; be sure to use the index volume to find all relevant articles, if you're using the print, or look at the other index entries at the end of each article, if you're using the online version.



Catalog Subject Headings

Some starting ideas:

To search for New Testament commentaries or criticism in our catalog, use the following method:

First, search the library catalog at this link;

then format your search like these examples:

Bible. N.T. Romans

Bible. N.T. Corinthians 1st

and browse the entries for both Commentaries and Criticism.

Note especially that you should browse down the list of subject terms to find any books on shorter pieces of your Biblical book, such as

Bible. N.T. Romans VII

You may also find it useful, after selecting a subject heading and getting a list of books, to sort the results by date (newest first).

Unless you are really interested in old American sermons, you can skip all the entries with "Sermons" in the subject.

Keyword Searches

When using the Quick Search option, by default you are doing a keyword search; all of the terms must appear in the result.

Therefore keep searches normally to just two or three keyword; too many keywords give zero results.

bible romans christ

paul apostle marriage


Use the catalog truncation symbol * after the root of a word to search for any of its forms:

jew*   retrieves jew, jews, jewish

When you find a useful book, check the subject headings in the record and click on any of them that look good for further items. You'll often find a topic followed by the subheading "--Biblical teaching"; this is a good phrase to add to other subjects you might want to search.


Search Library Catalog >>>


Finding Journals

Remember that the Journals link at the top of the library home page is designed to take you to an A to Z list of journals that Trinity can access; it will let you know whether  we have either a print or electronic subscription.

If your journal is listed, it will give a database name to click on, if an online version is available, or direct you to our catalog for the call number, if our library has it in print.

If we don't own the journal title, you are welcome to request the article through Interlibrary Loan at no cost to you.

Core Journal Indexes

Citing Sources

Cite Your Sources