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Rel 111 Research Guide: Biblical Commentaries

This guide is intended to provide you support as you work through your "Interpreting the Text" assignment.


A Biblical Commentary is a printed explanation and interpretation of Biblical texts. Usually written by theologians (experts in religious studies), commentaries provide narrative, explanation, and interpretation of Scripture. The material in biblical commentaries are arranged by chapter and verse of the books of the Bible. In a commentary, for example, you would find information on Jesus' temptation by looking up Luke 4:1-13, which is the passage in this gospel where the story is found.

There are multiple ways to search for these commentaries in our library catalog:

  • You can search in the Classic Catalog by entering the words Bible and Commentary in the search box or
  • You can select "Subject" from the first drop-down menu and type in the subject "Bible Commentaries" in the search box.

*When evaluating a commentary, consider the author's purpose. Commentary goals can vary; it may be to define the meaning of the text, prompt spiritual growth. Or describe relevant background information, often this information can be found in the introduction. Check the publishing date as a means of evaluating the source. It is also important to remember that the author may also be simply trying to promote his views on the issue. Evaluate these sources critically.

*Biblical Commentaries can also be specific to one facet or book of the Bible.