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Interpreting Christian Scripture

A guide for completing the exegetical research paper.

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Leslie Starasta
Jessie C. Eury Library
Lincoln Christian University
217.732.7788 x.. 2203

Why Use Background Information?

Reference books, such as encyclopedia and subject reference works, contain key facts and authoritative information about any topic you may have selected and are a great place to begin any assignment.

Subject Reference Works provide more detailed information on specific subjects. The articles in subject reference works are often more detailed than those in general encyclopedias. The authors use more language that is unique to the field and may assume the reader has some general knowledge of the field.

The most common types of subject reference works are dictionaries and encyclopedias. Frequently the articles in dictionaries are brief while encyclopedia articles are longer and more likely to include a substantial bibliography.

In the Jessie C. Eury Library, reference books have a call number that begins with R and are located on the first floor.

Parallel Bibles

Parallel Bibles contain the text of multiple versions usually laid out in columns side by side.  These Bibles are very useful for comparing how a certain verse or word was translated in different versions and can give additional insight into a verses meaning.

Bible Dictionaries

The dictionaries listed below pertain to both the Old and New Testaments.

New Testament Dictionaries

The referenced works listed below focus on the New Testament.

Old Testament Dictionaries

Historical and Cultural Context

Books on historical and cultural context help you understand what is going on in and around the various Bible texts. They will give you information on what life was like for ancient Jews or what Greek philosophers were teaching at the time of Paul.

Bible Commentaries

The Bible commentaries listed below provide information on every chapter and book of the Bible.  As such they are less thorough than commentaries devoted to a specific book yet provide a wonderful starting point for research.