Exegetical Paper (Whitfield, Fall 2010)

last modified 2018-01-30T17:55:04-04:00

Note: This is a long guide focusing on library resources for your CHR 250 assignment. Additional course-specific resources are available on the Christianity Subject Librarian page. Take advantage of the anchor links that will take you directly to the types of sources as well as commentaries for assigned scripture texts and any tips to assist you in your research.

By October 21 you will complete an exegetical paper on an assigned text. Refer often to Appendix D of your syllabus (pages 20-24) to ensure that your paper includes all the required components. The goal of this guide is to provide brief descriptions and examples of specific types of tools, including:


1. Check the date. Remember to check the publication date for items to make sure you are using the most current sources that will provide the most recent insights.

2. Consider the source. Stop and ask yourself if this is a recognized, scholarly source. The sources on this guide have been reviewed by Dr. Whitfield. Of all the resources on the web, the commentaries typically available for review are the least helpful. Most online commentaries are older, devotional works that do not reflect the gains of modern scholarship. You'll be better served by using the printed volumes available at Tarver Library.

3. Follow the process.

  • read the text through several times and write in your own words what you think the text is saying
  • analyze the text's difficulties by identifying words or phrases that are unclear and consult dictionaries or concordances for assistance and consulting commentaries only after (not before!) difficulties have been identified
  • compare the text in several translations
  • analyze the setting for the text--go back in time and place (commentaries helpful here)
  • analyze the form of the text to find the "punch line"
  • capture what the text meant to the author and people when it was written
  • determine the relevancy of the text for yourself and others today
  • write your paper (be prepared to re-write, and talk with your classmates who have the same passage)

Bible Dictionaries

These reference sources are useful for looking up unfamiliar words or phrases and also for ensuring that you are using the biblical use of commonly used words or phrases. Sources include:

Anchor Bible Dictionary
REF BS 440.A54 1992 (Macon reference and stacks; Atlanta reference)

Mercer Dictionary of the Bible
REF BS 440 .M429 1991 (Macon reference, reserve, and stacks; Atlanta stacks and reference)

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
REF BS 440 .I63 (Macon reference and stacks; Atlanta stacks and reference)

The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
REF BS 440 .N445 2006 (Macon reference; Atlanta reference)

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
REF BS 537 .D48 1998 (Macon reference; Atlanta reference)

Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
REF BS 440 .E44 2000 (Macon reference; Atlanta reference)

Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words
check out the scripture index in the back of this source
REF BS 440 .M63 2006 (Macon reference; Atlanta reference)

Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament
REF BS 440 .B5713 (Macon reference; Atlanta reference)

Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (EDNT)
REF BS 2312 .E913 1990

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words
REF BS 440 .V7476 1997 (Macon reference; Atlanta reference)

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Bible Translations

Varying translations of the selected text can assist you in identifying textual problems, "hot spots," that impact the understanding of the text.

The new Oxford annotated Bible : New Revised Standard Version : with the Apocrypha : an ecumenical study Bible
REF BS 191.5.A1 2010 O94 2010 (Macon reference)

The English Standard Version Bible : containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha
REF BS 195 .E64 2009 (Macon reference)

The Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version
REF BS 191 .A1 2002 .N43 (Macon reference)

The Layman's Parallel Bible
REF BS 125 .B5 1991 (Macon reference)

The King James Study Bible
REF BS 185 1988 .N37 (Macon reference)

Jewish Study Bible
REF BS 895 .J4 2004 (Macon reference, on reserve fall 2010)

The Holy Bible, King James Version

The Bible Gateway

Parallel Bibles

The Unbound Bible

World Wide Study Bible

Blue Letter Bible


Codex Sinaiticus

The Polyglot Bible

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Scholarly Commentaries

Commentaries are an excellent source to answer questions about what things were like when the book was written as well as what social or institutional setting might have been in place. General background information on the book as well as specific verses is often included, so don't automatically go straight to the specific verses. Also remember to check any bibliographies listed and follow up on those sources.

Mercer Commentary on the Old Testament
REF BS 1151.2 .M47 2003 (Macon stacks and reference; Atlanta reference)

Mercer Commentary on the Bible
REF BS 491.2 .M47 1995 (Macon reference)

The New Jerome Biblical Commentary
REF BS 491.2 .N485 1990 (Macon stacks and reference; Atlanta stacks and reference)

The Interpreter's Bible
REF BS 491.2 .I55 (Macon stacks and reference; Atlanta stacks and reference)

The New Interpreter's Bible
REF BS 491.2 .N484 1994 (Macon stacks and reference; Atlanta stacks and reference)

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Deuteronomy / Mark E. Biddle
BS 1275.53 .B53 2003 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta reference)

Deuteronomy : a commentary / Richard D. Nelson
BS 1275.53 .N45 2002 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

Deuteronomy / Thomas W. Mann
BS 1275.3 .M36 1995 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy / edited by Joseph T. Lienhard
BS 1225.3 .E96 2001 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy / Roy Lee Honeycutt, Jr
BS 1255.3 .H66 1979 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

1st Kings 19:1-18

The kings and their gods : the pathology of power / Daniel Berrigan
BS 1335.53 .B47 2008 (Macon 3d floor; Atlanta stacks)

I & II Kings : a commentary / Marvin A. Sweeney
BS 1335.53 .S94 2007 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta reference)

1-2 Kings / Gina Hens-Piazza
BS 1335.53 .H46 2006 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

1 & 2 Kings / Walter Brueggemann
BS 1335.3 .B7894 2000 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta reference)

1 Kings : with an introduction to historical literature / Burke O. Long
BS 1335.3 .L66 1984 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

Psalms 84

Psalms / Geoffrey W. Grogan
BS 1430.53 .G76 2008 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

Psalms / John Goldingay
BS 1430.53 .G65 2006 Psalm 84 in v.2 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

The Psalms : strophic structure and theological commentary /Samuel Terrien
BS 1430.53 .T47 2003 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

Psalms : James Limburg
BS 1430.3 .L56 2000 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

The Psalms : a commentary / Artur Weiser ; [translated by Herbert Hartwell from the German]
BS 1430.3 .W4513 2000 (Macon 3rd floor)

Theodoret of Cyrus : commentary on the Psalms / Theodoret of Cyrus
BR60.F3 T54 2000 (Psalm 84 in v.2) (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks)

Psalms / James Luther Mays
BS 1430.3 .M33 1994 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta reference)

Isaiah 43:16-21

Isaiah : interpreted by early Christian and medieval commentators
BS 1515.53 .I83 2007 (Macon new book shelf; Atlanta stacks)

Isaiah 40-55 : a new translation with introduction and commentary / Joseph Blenkinsopp
BS 192.2.A1 1964 .G3 V.19A (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta stacks and reference)

Isaiah 40-66 / Paul D. Hanson
BS 1520 .H36 1995 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta reference)

Isaiah : a commentary / Brevard S. Childs
BS 1515.3 .C48 2001 (Macon 3rd floor; Atlanta reference)

Isaiah / Walter Brueggemann
BS1515.2 .B669 1998 Chapter 84 in vol. 2) (Macon 3rd floor)

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Concordances are alphabetical indexes that lead the user to all instances of specific words or phrases in the text. Sources include:

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

The online version of this source is fine to use, as Dr. Whitfield says, to "...find where the words hang out..." Dr. Whitfield recommends against using the lexicon portion of this site, because it is dated. Acceptable lexicons are listed below.

The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Strong)
REF BS 425 .S8 1947 (Macon reference)

The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
REF BS 425 .S84 1996 (Macon reference)
check out this Guide on how to use Strong's Concordance

Young's Analytical Concordance
REF BS 425 .Y7 (Macon reference)

Blue Letter Bible online concordance

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Lexicons are designed to help the user understand the original text of the Bible. Sources include:

Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon

Liddell-Scott-Jones Lexicon of Classical Greek
While this online version is useful; it is not as up-to-date as the print version. Plus, this site often takes a long time to respond. For serious lexical study, it is still necessary to consult the paper version.

Greek-English Lexicon (Liddell & Scott)
REF PA 445 .E5 L6 1996 (Macon reference)

The Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Baumgartner)
REF PJ 4833 .K5813 2001 (Macon reference)

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Interlinears are designed to provide access to the original text (Hebrew or Greek) and English to help users understand the original text of the Bible. Sources include:

Interlinear Study Bible

Interlinear Bible from Crosswalk

The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew/English
BS 715 1983 (Macon 3rd floor)

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Scripture Search Using ATLA

ATLA has a scripture search to assist you identify scholarly articles written about the text. ATLA recently enhanced this search to make it much easier. You can browse the books in canonical order and drill down to the chapter and verse level. Selecting an entry at the book, chapter, or verse level now executes a search for all records indexed with that book, chapter, or verse—no more clicking all the boxes that include the specific scripture!

For example, clicking to select Isaiah, clicking to expand Chapter 43, and clicking to expand verse 3 returns all records indexed that include Isaiah anywhere in the database:

1. click on the scriptures tab near the top of the screen


2. click on expand link next to Isaiah

3. click on expand link to Chapter 43


4. click on any verse to retrieve records for all verses in that citation

5. review ways to narrow the results in the box to the left of the search results

Many of the articles you find will be available in full text, if they are not, there are other options for finding these articles, so don’t give up!

Full text Electronic Journal List

  • list of all electronic journals available to Mercer students
  • make sure you have the complete citation (title, volume, number, date, and page numbers) before searching
  • enter journal title and click search
  • follow the links (journals often appear in more than one database) to identify full-text
  • if specific volume/year is not available online, click on the link to view print holdings of the title

Library Catalog

  • the library might have a subscription to a print copy of the journal
    * remember you can use the "Check the Library Catalog for print copies of this title" link and go directly to the catalog without leaving the eJournal list
  • click on the new option to search by journal title and type the journal name in the Journal Title browse box
  • journals are arranged alphabetically by title on the first floor of the Tarver Library
  • you can also limit a journal title search to a specific location which can be a bit confusing, so ask for assistance if you get confused.
  • articles in journals only available from Swilley (Atlanta campus) can be requested using Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan

  • if all else fails, we can order a copy of the article for you through Interlibrary Loan--this takes time (up to 2 weeks!), so don’t leave it to the last minute
  • the pre-populated form prepop.jpg in the database makes this a quicker process
  • we can also identify libraries who subscribe to the journal--perhaps a road trip can be planned?

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Tips, Tricks, & Ideas:

1. Remember to click on the [Expand] link in ATLA to specific a chapter and/or verse.

2. Style matters. Remember to use Turabian format.

3. Free: Just for making it to the end of the page. The Text This Week

This site includes a given biblical passage in several translations, general resources on the biblical book being cited, historical references, and commentary. Use the Index by Scripture link on the left side of the page to look up your passage.

Need more help?

  • consult other sources on the Christianity Subject Librarian page
  • use the links above to ask for help or to schedule a Research Consultation.