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Biblical Studies Resources: Find Commentaries & Criticisms

Tools and techniques for research in biblical studies.

Find Commentaries & Criticisms

I.   Browse the shelves in 220.7 for commentary sets on the whole Bible; 221.7 for commentary sets on the Old Testament; 225.7 for commentary sets on the New Testament.

II. Use annotated bibliographies of commentaries to help select appropriate commentaries for your needs.  The following bibliographies (hardcopies) have been marked to indicate those titles that the Powell Library has.

Whole Bible: Rosscup, James. Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: an annotated bibliography of selected works. Woodlands, TX: Kress Christian Publications, 2004. [220.7016 R734c]. ISBN 9780977226238.

Old Testament: Tremper Longman III. Old Testament Commentary Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013. [221.7016 L863o]. ISBN: 9780801039911.

New Testament: Carson, D. A. New Testament Commentary Survey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013. [225.7016 C239n]. ISBN: 9780801039904 Rotten Tomatoes for Biblical Studies. Reviews and ratings of Bible commentaries collected from journals, books, professors and published lists like Longman & Carson.

III.   Use the Powell Library Catalog to easily find all the commentaries and criticisms held by the library either as print hardcopy books or online ebooks. ONLINE STUDENTS: Feel free to make use of the Powell Library's Book Scanning Service.

   A.  Search the Subject field <su:> with the book of the bible and the word "commentaries" or the word "criticism".  Like this:

  • su:[book of the bible] commentaries *


  • su:[book of the bible] criticism *


*NOTE: “commentaries” must be plural; “criticism” must be singular.

GOSPELS (not John):  Here's how to get records for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and at the same time eliminate those records with subject headings that include a person’s name, i.e. Matthew Arnold, Mark Twain, Luke Short.  See "JOHN" below for setting up search queries for the Gospel of John viz a viz the Epistles of John.

  1. Add <bible n t> to the subject search query**
  2. Like this:  su:bible n t matthew commentaries 


**NOTE: There must be a space between the "n" and the "t"; or if you prefer you can use periods instead of spaces, i.e., n.t.


JOHN--Gospel:  To find commentaries or criticisms on the Gospel of John without getting all the commentaries on the Epistles of John, use the Boolean NOT command:

  • su:bible n.t. john criticism NOT epistles


  • su:bible n.t. john commentaries NOT epistles

For example:  

SAME NAME:  Books of the Bible with the same name (including the Epistles of John) use the name of the book along with the Arabic numeral 1st, 2nd or 3rd within quotation marks.

  • su:"chronicles 2nd" criticism 
  • su:bible n.t. "john 3rd" commentaries
  • su:"thessalonians 1st" commentaries​


  • For specific chapters in a book of the bible use Roman numerals, 
  • Use Arabic numerals for verses
  • Put quotation marks around the book and the number(s):
  • Search in the Subject field
    • su:"romans vii"
    • su:"matthew vii 15-20"
    • su:"galatians vi 16"


OR is a Boolean operator commanding the search engine to look for either the word "commentaries" or the word "criticism".

AND is a Boolean operator commanding the search engine to look for both or all of the search terms.  For more details see the Boolean Logic Research Guide.

NOT is a Boolean operator commanding the search engine to leave out the search term; do not include records with the associated search term.


Last updated May 1, 2023.

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Janet "Miss T." Tillman
Robert L. Powell Library
The Master's University
21726 Placerita Canyon. Rd.
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