Answered By: Fred Sweet
Last Updated: Dec 02, 2016     Views: 84

1. Start with background material—historical and literary context—using works from Reference section, like:

Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels—BS2555.2 D53.
Anchor Bible Dictionary, or New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (BS440.N445);
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (we have both the OT and NT set in Reference, and both are quite good: BS1151.52.Z66 and BS2341.52Z66;
Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible- 5 vols (Ref BS440.Z64)
A good one-volume Bible dictionary would also be helpful, such as New International Dictionary of the Bible (Douglas, ed: BS440.N44_1987)—generally more conservative than ABD

2. For Synoptic paper (that’s Matt, Mark, Luke—but NOT John),  compare the accounts of the 3 Gospels using a “Synoptic” or Gospels Parallel (they have one as a supplemental text, and we have a couple others in Reference—BS2553.R36 and BS2560.F84)).

3. Next, read background info and commentary from whatever commentaries their profs have recommended. As you know, we have 4 such sets in Reference, and hundreds more upstairs. For NT, I recommend NIGTC series (BS2341.2 .N483— Mtt, Mark, Luke); for OT, I recommend NICOT (BS1151.2 .N48 Jonah is v.28).
4. For more recommendations on commentaries and basic Bible reference works, see the “Guide to Biblical Commentaries & Reference Works” (Evans, ed.) which we now keep at the Reference Desk (next to the red LCSH books).

5. Once the students have done this background work and settled on a specific text (or “pericope”—that’s a story from the Gospels), they should also search for a few scholarly journal articles on that text or topic using ATLA database (Use the “Scriptures” tab at the top of ATLA for pull-down menu of texts.)

6. Finally, there is SUMMON—where one can put in a Scripture text in quote marks, and get some extraordinary results!
Ex: “Matthew 4” or “Parable of the Sower”