Whether you're are researching for your Biblical Interpretation course, beginning work on a sermon, or getting ready to present on a city for New Testament class, you'll need to know how to research people, places, and their historical context. The best way to do this is to begin with reference books that give an overview of a topic. After reading a few reference entries, you'll have a working knowledge of the topic and can use keywords, names, and dates you found in the entries to search for books and articles dedicated solely to your topic. Reading reference entries can also help you narrow or clarify your topic.
Bible Gateway Resources in the FREE version include:
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Blue Letter Bible includes
Search any verse and a TOOLS button appears next to the result. Two clicks and you're into the lexicon and concordance for any word!
Bible Hub is particularly useful for
Handbooks & manuals:
Organized by book of the Bible
Excellent for quick overviews
Helpful sidebars on relevant topics
Most useful when the topic is found in one book or group of books of the Bible (e.g. giving of law, conquest).
Example: Zondervan handbook to the Bible BS 417 .Z66 2009 REF
Dictionaries & encyclopedias
Available at different levels, with single volume editions being simpler and multivolume sets offering fuller, deeper entries
Useful, in that, having found your person, place, or topic, you can then look up all the related terms in that same dictionary
Location: BS 440
A resource that gives a brief overview of the main aspects of a topic or work
Location: Bible and Old Testament BS 1140
Location: New Testament BS 2330
Location: BS 570 - BS 579
Location: BS 630 & G 2230
Example: The one stop Bible atlas G 2230 .P25 2010
The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament BS 2341.52 .K44 2014
The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament BS 1151.2 .W35 2000
The Bible almanac BS 635.2 .B48
Dictionary of daily life in biblical and post-biblical antiquity BS 440 .Y37 2014
The land & people Jesus knew: A visual tour of first-century Palestine DS 112 .T46 1985 REF
About literary context:
How to read the Bible as literature BS 535 .R89 1984
How to read the Bible for all its worth BS 600.3 .F44 2014