Theological Reference Books

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Critical Terms for Religious Studies
Critical Terms for Religious Studies

Religious Holidays and Calendars
Religious Holidays and Calendars

Who's Who in the New Testament
Who's Who in the New Testament

  • About
  • Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  • Theological/ Historical Studies
  • Biblical Studies
  • Art/ Symbolism/ Iconology
  • Practical Ministry
  • eBooks
  • Search the Library Catalog

About Theological Reference Books

Use the topic tabs above to view a list of selected reference titles and ebook search samples. The tabs for eBooks and the Library Catalog above provide useful search tips.

Books in these lists are located primarily in the Reference Collection, 4th floor LRC, unless the call number identifies another library location such as LRC-P, for Periodicals area, or LRC-4, which is in the main circulating library area. Before you go to the shelves to get the book, make sure you identify its library location. Books from the Reference Collection (LRC-R) may not be checked out but some titles may have a duplicate in the main circulating area that is available for check out.

Note that some books are available in hard copy (print) and/or as an ebook.

See also:

  • ETBU's Bible Study Guide Commentary Series New(an ebrary Information Center)
  • Biblical and Theological Word Studies (library guide) -- Provides lists of concordances, commentaries, specialized dictionaries, parsing guides, and more.
  • An Introduction to Theological Research: A Guide for College and Seminary Students, by Barber and Krauss (located in the library reference collection, call # BR118.B28 LRC-R)
  • Reference Works for Theological Research, by Kepple and Muether (located in the library reference collection, call # BR118.K46 LRC-R)

General - Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

eBook Search Examples

Keyword search
Results for "Bible Commentary" ~17,248 titles ebrary | ~28 titles eBook Collections

Subject search:
Results for "Commentaries"  ~63 titles ebrary |  ~30 titles eBook Collections


Selected Titles

Britannica Encyclopedia of World Religions  ebrary
Dictionary of Feminist Theologies   eBook Collections (EBSCO)
Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2d ed., 22 vols - Call #DS102.8 .E496 2007 .
• The Encyclopedia of Religion (6 vols.) - Call #BL31.E46 ebrary
Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena ebrary
• Encyclopaedia of Religion & Ethics, 13 vols. (Hastings, James) - Call #BL31.E44
• The Encyclopedia of World Religions (Ellwood, R.S.) - Call #BL80.2.E497
• Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion, 3 vols. - Call #BL31.E46
• New Catholic Encyclopedia (15 vols.) - Call #BX841.N44
• The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (32/33 vols.) - Call #AE 5 .E363
• The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (multi-volume set) - Call #BR95.S43
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints  eBook Collections (EBSCO)
• The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Bowker, J.) - Call #BL31.O84
Prime-Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting  ebrary - Also available in print in the reference collection. Call #BV656.M45
Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms eBook Collections (EBSCO) - Call #BR95.M378

For more ebooks titles search or browse ebrary and eBook Collections.

Theological-Historical Studies

eBook Search Examples

Keyword Searches:
Results for "Bible Commentary" ~17,248 titles ebrary | ~30 titles eBook Collection
Results for "Christian Theology" ~17,764 titles ebrary | ~360 titles eBook Collection

Subject Search:
Results for "Commentaries" ~63 titles ebrary | ~30 titles eBook Collection


Selected Reference Titles

A. Theology
McGrath, D. • The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Thought - Call #BR95.B58
McClintock, J. • Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (12 vols.) - Call #BR95.M35
Elwell, W.A. • Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Call #BS440.E78
Ferguson, Wright & Packer  • New Dictionary of Theology - Call #BR95.N39
B. Church History
  • Ancient Christian Writers (55 vols.) - Call #BR60.A35
  • The Ante-Nicene Fathers (10 vols.) - Call #BR60.A63
  • Chronological and Background Charts of Church History - Call #BR149.W25
Smith & Wace • A Dictionary of Christian Biography (4 vols.) - Call #BR95.S65 1967
Bercot, D. • A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs - Call #BR66.5.D53
  Early Church Fathers (Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
  • Fathers of the Church (~90 vols.) - Call #BR60.F3
Douglas, J.D. • New International Dictionary of the Christian Church - Call #BR95.D68
  • Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (First series; 14 vols) - Call #BR60.S4 1890
Cross, F.L. • The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church - Call #BR95 .O8
  • Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity - Call #BR150.H55
C. Historical Theology
Pelikan, Jaroslav J. • The Christian Tradition (v.1,3 LRC-4) - Call #BT21.2.P42
Gonzalez, Justo L. • A History of Christian Thought (v.1-3 LRC-4) - Call #BT21.2.G6
Olson, Roger E. • The Story of Christian Theology (LRC-4) - Call #BT21.2.O57

Biblical Studies

eBook Search Examples

Keyword Search:
Results for "Biblical Studies" ~19,200 titles ebrary | ~206 titles eBook Collections

subject Search:  
Results for "O.T." ~408 titles ebrary

Publisher Search:
Results for "Society of Biblical Literature" ~ 108 titles ebrary


Selected Reference Titles

A. General
Young, R. • Analytical Concordance of the Bible - Call #BS425.Y7
  The Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols.) -Call #BS440.A54
Elwell, W.A. • Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible -Call #BS440.B26
Alexander, D. • Eerdmans’ Handbook to the Bible -Call #BS417.A55
Strong, J. • Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible - Call #BS425.S8
Kannengiesser, C. Handbook to Patristic Exegesis, Vol. One ebrary
Bromiley, G. • International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (4 vols.)- Call #BS440.I6
Buttrick, G.A. • Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible - Call #BS440.I63
Douglas, J.D. • New Bible Dictionary - Call #BS440.D734
  The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies eBook Collections - Also available in the reference collection, Call #BS511.3.O94.
Goodrick, E. • NIV Complete Concordance - Call #BS425.G6
Rasmussen, C. • Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible - Call #BS630.R37 (Atlas area)

See also: Commentaries to the Bible (BS440 call number section) 

Rosscup, J. Commentaries for Biblical Expositors, call #BR491.2.R827
B. Old Testament
Bright, J. • A History of Israel - Call #DS121.B72 (LaSor Collection)
Rendtorff, R. • Old Testament: An Introduction - Call #BS1140.2.R3913
Wilson, W. Old Testament Word Studies - Call #BS1123.W52 1978
Botterweck, G.J. • Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament - Call #BS440.B5713
Harris, R.L. • Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament - Call #BS440.T49
Tyndale • Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (29 vols.) - Call #BS1151.2.T9
C. New Testament
  The Complete Word Study New Testament: King James Version - Call #BS2085 1992 .C43  
  • Illustrated Dictionary of Bible Life and Times - Call #BS622.I45
  • Tyndale Tyndale New Testament Commentaries - Call #BS2341.2.T96
Kittel, G. • Theological Dictionary of the New Testament - Call #PA881.T4713
Ladd, G.E. • A Theology of the New Testament - Call #BS2397.L33
Robertson, A. • Word Pictures in the New Testament - Call #BS2341.R6
Wuest, K. • Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament - Call #BS2333.2.W8

Art and Symbolism

ebook Search Examples

Results for "Christian Art and Symbolism" ~12,275 titles ebrary
Results for "Iconology and Christianity" ~370 titles ebrary
Results for "Symbolism and Christianity" ~9,100 titles ebrary | ~18 titles eBook Collections

Results for "Art and Religion" ~14 titles ebrary | ~15 titles eBook Collections
Results for "Christian Art and Symbolism" ~15 titles ebrary
Results for "Symbolism and Christianity" ~6 titles ebrary


Selected Reference Titles

Art of the Sacred: An Introduction to the Aesthetics of Art and Belief ebrary
• Christian Symbols: Some Notes on Their Origin and Meaning - Call #N7832.K46
• Dictionary of Christian Art - Call #BV150.A66
• Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend - Call #BR135.M48
• The Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture - Call #N7830.M87

Practical Ministry

eBook Search Examples

Keyword Searches:
Results for "Practices in Ministry Religion" ~19,443 titles ebrary
Results for "Ministry and Christian"  ~21,873 titles ebrary  | ~150 titles eBook Collections
Results for "Church Leadership" ~29,727 titles ebrary

Subject Searches:
Results for "Group Ministry" ~2 titles ebrary
Results for "Church Renewal" ~10 titles ebrary
Results for "Christian Leadership" ~ 4 titles ebrary

Selected Titles
Books titles listed below with call numbers followed by (LRC-4) are in the circulating collection and may be checked out.

Theological Resources for Ministry: A Bibliography of Works in Theological Studies, by Don Thorsen, call #BR118.T445 LRC-R

A. Preaching
Tan, P.L. • The Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations - Call #BV4225.2.T36
Duduit, Michael • Handbook of Contemporary Preaching - BV4222.H35 1992 (LRC-4)
Lee, R.G. • Lee’s Sourcebook of 500 Illustrations - BV4225.2.L43 
B. Pastoral Care and Counseling
Hunter, R.J. • A Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling - Call #BV4011.D43B
Flather, D.R. • The Resource Guide for Christian Counselors - Call #BV4012.2.F57.R4  
C. Christian Education and Music
Julian, J. • A Dictionary of Hymnology - Call #BV305.J8
Diehl, K.S. • Hymns and Tunes: An Index - Call #BV305.D5
Davies, J.G. • The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship - Call #BV173.N49 
D. Culture and Missions
Kraft, Charles H. • Anthropology for Christian Witness - Call #BV2063.K756 (LRC-4)
Kraft, Charles H. • Christianity in Culture - Call #BR115.C8 K64 (LRC-4)
  • Conversion to Christianity: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives on a Great Transformation eBook Collections
Beaver, R.P. • Eerdmans’ Handbook to the World Religions - Call #BL80.2.E35
  • From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions - Call #BV-3700.T83 (LRC-4)
Siewert, J.A. • Mission Handbook - Call #BV2050.D55
Myers, B.L. • The New Context of World Mission - Call #BV2061.M92
Johnstone, P.J. • Operation World - Call #BV2050.J63
Winter, Ralph D. • Perspectives on the World Christian Movement - Call #BV2070.P46
Johnstone, P. • Praying through the Window III: The Unreached Peoples - Call #BV2061.P73 (LRC-4)
Barrett, D. • World Christian Encyclopedia (2 vols.) - Call #BR157.W67


To find ebooks, search the ORU Library Catalog and limit the results to ebooks. Or, you may prefer to search in an ebook databases. Use author, title, subject, keyword, and call number fields to focus your search.

Bible--O.T. (subject search, ~651 documents)
Bible--N.T. (subject search, ~498 documents)
Commentaries (subject search, ~156 documents)
Pastoral Care (subject search, ~10 documents)
Practical Ministry (keyword search, ~41 documents)

· Click a link above to go to the search in ebrary, then focus the search by marking additional subjects such as specific books of the Bible, Textual Criticism, Interpretation, Socio-rhetorical Criticism, Language Style, etc.After a search, try to focus the list results by using the subjects headings provided (as noted above) or entering additional search terms.
· Use Library of Congress numbers to target subject areas. Set a LC call number range as identified by similar books you may have found or the Library of Congress Classification Outline.
· Click the Chapter Rank tab to view the top 20 chapters from books in your list. Note: Chapter searches may result in the best matches.
eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)
Religion Collection
Credo Reference
Search a title keyword or click Find A Book then Religion in the left menu to view the ebook titles in that subject.
Gale Virtual Reference Library: Religion

Search the ORU Library Catalog

Subject Searching
In addition to keyword searching, subject searches often provide relevant matches for your search query and list alternative or related subjects, as shown below.

To Locate Reference Books:
Use the Subject field, type your broad subject, and limit to the Reference Collection as shown in the example below for the subject search "Christian art and symbolism."

Christian Art and Symbolism subject search


Related guides:
Countries, Cultures and Missions
Theological/Biblical Word Studies
Theology Research
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