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University of Portland Clark Library

THE 205: Biblical Texts in Global Contexts (Dempsey): Types of Biblical Commentaries

Types of Biblical Commentaries

There are two types of biblical commentaries that you will encounter during your research: single-volume commentaries and book-length commentaries. Understanding the difference will help you to locate, use, and cite these resources.

Single-Volume Commentaries

Characteristics of single-volume commentaries:

  • Has chapters covering each book of the Bible
  • Chapters are written by different authors
  • How to cite


Book-Length Commentaries

Characteristics of book-length commentaries:

  • Covers 1 book of the Bible from start to finish (or may be part of a 2- or 3-volume set covering one book of the Bible)
  • Entire book is written by the same author/co-authors
  • How to cite


Search for Book-Length Commentaries

Search: for:  

Class Activity: Find a Book on Your Passage

  1. Search for a bible commentary on the book of the Bible that includes your passage.
    Use the Search for Book-Length Commentaries search box above, and enter:

     [name of your book of the Bible] commentary
    Example: Exodus commentary

  2. Look for a book that was published after 2000, and is available in the Book Stacks. Write down or take a photo of the call number
  3. We will go to the lower floor to find the book on the shelf and bring it back to the Classroom. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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