Shelf Guide

At the Lancaster Theological Seminary Library, almost all of our items related to biblical studies have a call number starting with BS and can be found in the corresponding section of our collections.

The chart below shows the general call number for criticisms and commentaries on each book of the Bible.

Old Testament

Genesis Bible. Genesis BS 1235
Exodus Bible. Exodus BS 1245
Leviticus Bible. Leviticus BS 1255
Numbers Bible. Numbers BS 1265
Deuteronomy Bible. Deuteronomy BS 1275
Joshua Bible. Joshua BS 1295
Judges Bible. Judges BS 1305
Ruth Bible. Ruth BS 1315
Samuel, 1st and 2nd Bible. Samuel
Bible. Samuel, 1st
Bible. Samuel, 2nd
BS 1325
Kings, 1st and 2nd Bible. Kings
Bible. Kings, 1st
Bible. Kings, 2nd
BS 1335
Chronicles, 1st and 2nd Bible. Chronicles
Bible. Chronicles, 1st
Bible. Chronicles, 2nd
BS 1345
Ezra Bible. Ezra BS 1355
Nehemiah Bible. Nehemiah BS 1365
Esther Bible. Esther BS 1375
Job Bible. Job BS 1415
Psalms Bible. Psalms BS 1430
Proverbs Bible. Proverbs BS 1465
Ecclesiastes Bible. Ecclesiastes BS 1475
Song of Solomon Bible. Song of Solomon BS 1485
Isaiah Bible. Isaiah BS 1515
Jeremiah Bible. Jeremiah BS 1525
Lamentations Bible. Lamentations BS 1535
Ezekiel Bible. Ezekiel BS 1545
Daniel Bible. Daniel BS 1555
Hosea Bible. Hosea BS 1565
Joel Bible. Joel BS 1575
Amos Bible. Amos BS 1585
Obadiah Bible. Obadiah BS 1595
Jonah Bible. Jonah BS 1605
Micah Bible. Micah BS 1615
Nahum Bible. Nahum BS 1625
Habakkuk Bible. Habakkuk BS 1635
Zephaniah Bible. Zephaniah BS 1645
Haggai Bible. Haggai BS 1655
Malachi Bible. Malachi BS 1675


Esdras, 1st and 2nd Bible. Esdras
Bible. Esdras, 1st
Bible. Esdras, 2nd
BS 1715
Tobit Bible. Tobit BS 1725
Judith Bible. Judith BS 1735
Rest of Esther Bible. Rest of Esther BS 1745
Wisdom of Solomon Bible. Wisdom of Solomon BS 1755
Ecclesiasticus Bible. Ecclesiasticus BS 1765
Baruch Bible. Baruch BS 1775
Song of the Three Children Bible. Song of the Three Children     BS 1785
History of Susanna Bible. History of Susanna BS 1795
Bel and the Dragon Bible. Bel and the Dragon BS 1805
Prayer of Manasses Bible. Prayer of Manasses BS 1815
Maccabees, 1st and 2nd Bible. Maccabees
Bible. Maccabees, 1st
Bible. Maccabees, 2nd
BS 1825

New Testament

Matthew Bible. Matthew BS 2575
Mark Bible. Mark BS 2585
Luke Bible. Luke BS 2595
John Bible. John BS 2615
Acts Bible. Acts BS 2625
Romans Bible. Romans BS 2665
Corinthians, 1st and 2nd Bible. Corinthians
Bible. Corinthians, 1st
Bible. Corinthians, 2nd
BS 2675
Galatians Bible. Galatians BS 2685
Ephesians Bible. Ephesians BS 2695
Philippians Bible. Philippians BS 2705
Colossians Bible. Colossians BS 2715
Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Bible. Thessalonians
Bible. Thessalonians, 1st
Bible. Thessalonians, 2nd
BS 2725
Timothy, 1st and 2nd Bible. Timothy
Bible. Timothy, 1st
Bible. Timothy, 2nd
BS 2745
Titus Bible. Titus BS 2755
Philemon Bible. Philemon BS 2765
Hebrews Bible. Hebrews BS 2775
James Bible. James BS 2785
Peter, 1st and 2nd Bible. Peter
Bible. Peter, 1st
Bible. Peter, 2nd
BS 2795
Epistles of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd     Bible. Epistles of John
Bible. Epistle of John, 1st
Bible. Epistle of John, 2nd
Bible. Epistle of John, 3rd
BS 2805
Jude Bible. Jude BS 2815
Revelation Bible. Revelation BS 2825
Commentaries are resources that explore the biblical texts in depth. Some commentaries cover the entire Bible in one volume. Others are published as multi-volume series, each volume treating one or more books of the Bible. They often contain an introduction that gives some facts about the biblical book(s) as a whole, then systematically go through each chapter or section in very close detail. A commentary will often include research findings relevant to the text, including archaeological findings, linguistic studies, historical records, etc. 

Just as there are many ways to read and interpret the Bible, each commentary offers a different perspective. It is helpful to consult more than one commentary when seeking to read and understand a biblical text more fully.
Subject Headings and Keywords
When initiating searches in the library’s online catalog or online databases, the following search terms may be helpful: It makes a difference how you enter the name of the biblical book. For the majority of biblical books, it is the name as it appears in your Bible. If the book has two parts, like 1 and 2 Samuel, the search terms would be: Bible Samuel (for works on both books); Bible Samuel, 1st; or Bible Samuel, 2nd. Consult the list of biblical books found in the Biblical Studies Shelf Guide for additional guidance.
What's in the Stacks
Here are some commentary series available in our collection:
  • Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries (available in the circulating stacks and on Ministry Matters): good outlines, good historical and literary analysis; mixed reviews on social location
  • Anchor Bible (available as a set in Reference BS 192.2 .A1 1964 .G3; additional copies available in the circulating stacks according to biblical book): excellent historical analysis, basic literary analysis, and rarely includes social location
  • Belief, a Theological Commentary on the Bible (available in the circulating stacks and on EBSCO eBooks): This series focuses primarily on the contemporary relevance of biblical texts. It doesn’t offer many historical or literary perspectives but instead invites a diverse range of interpreters to reflect theologically on the text.
  • Believers Church Bible Commentary (available in the circulating stacks and on EBSCO eBooks and Ministry Matters): A “cooperative project of Brethren in Christ Church, Brethren Church, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Brethren Church, and Mennonite Church.” Value for historical and cultural background varies. Helpful for reflections on what the text means to those in the “believers church” tradition.
  • Berit Olam (available in the circulating stacks): good historical analysis and mostly good literary analysis
  • Black's New Testament Commentaries: Relatively slim verse-by-verse expositions of the biblical text, accompanied by fresh translations. Helpful introductory essays. Light on references to secondary literature, but well informed and generally theologically sensitive.
  • Blackwell Bible Commentaries: Commentaries that focus on the history of the interpretation of biblical texts. Less about the text in its original setting than how it has been interpreted over time.
  • Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible: Written by theologians rather than biblical scholars, the authors focus on the theological implications of the text.
  • The Eerdmans Critical Commentary: Strong on issues of translation, literary, and historical study of the text. Some theological reflection.
  • Hermeneia (available in the circulating stacks and Project MUSE): good historical analysis, mixed reviews on literary analysis, and rarely includes social location.
  • Historical Commentary on the Old Testament: Explores translation and summarizes exegetical issues. Focuses mostly on the final form of the text. 
  • International Critical Commentary (available in Reference and circulating stacks): good historical analysis, minimal literary analysis, no social location
  • Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (available as a set in Reference BS 491.2 .I52; additional copies in the circulating stacks according to biblical book): mixed reviews on historical and literary analysis
  • The Interpreter's Bible (sets available in Reference and circulating stacks and on Ministry Matters): this is an outdated resource, published between 1951 and 1957
  • New Cambridge Bible Commentary: Detailed passage by passage engagement with the biblical text, based on the NRSV. Brief by substantial introductions. Aimed at non-specialist users. 
  • New Century Bible Commentary (available in the circulating stacks): mostly good historical and literary analysis
  • New International Commentary on the New Testament: Detailed research commentaries on the Greek text, including rich conversation with diverse scholarly opinions. Historical-critical in nature, but occasionally innovative. Tends to reflect a moderate evangelical perspective. Rich bibliographic sourcing.
  • New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Includes translation, textual study, archaeology, history, literary analysis, and theological reflection.
  • The New Interpreter's Bible (sets available in Reference and circulating stacks and on Ministry Matters): excellent outlines, good historical and literary analysis, occasionally includes social location
  • New Testament Library (available in Reference and circulating stacks and EBSCO eBooks): Research commentaries that are accessible to a broad range of readers. Generally historical-critical in nature with some literary sensitivity and given to theological insight from an ecumenical perspective. Significant introductory essays. Provides detailed translation and textual notes. Each author offers their own translation.
  • Old Testament Guides (available in the circulating stacks): good historical and literary analysis
  • Old Testament Library (available in Reference and circulating stacks and EBSCO eBooks): good historical analysis, mostly good literary analysis, rarely includes social location
  • Paideia, Commentaries on the New Testament: Aimed specifically at students who are seeking theological insight. Significant introductory essays. Comments are organized by textual unit rather than verse-by-verse of phrase by phrase. More attention to literary and rhetorical concerns than most commentaries. Introductions to biblical books are substantial. Direct interaction with other scholarly sources is minimal. Translations provided by the authors. Broadly ecumenical.
  • The Pillar New Testament Commentary (available in the circulating stacks and EBSCO eBooks): Research-level commentaries with significant introductions and thick engagement with scholarship. Clearly evangelical in perspective. 
  • Readings, a New Biblical Commentary (available in the circulating stacks): good outlines, minimal historical analysis, excellent literary analysis, usually includes social location
  • Sacra Pagina (available in Reference and circulating stacks): mostly good historical and literary analysis
  • Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary (available in the circulating stacks and EBSCO eBooks): Provides up-to-date historical information about biblical books, as well as reflections about their literary style. Sidebars and insets provide information about how the text has been used in the history of interpretation.
  • Two Horizons New Testament Commentary (available in the circulating stacks and EBSCO eBooks)
  • Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary (available in the circulating stacks and EBSCO eBooks): Attempts to bring together biblical studies and systematic theology.  Engages theological questions posed by the text. Some volumes offer historical background, but the real focus is theological interpretation of scripture.
  • Westminster Bible Companion (available in circulating stacks): mixed reviews on historical and literary analysis, rarely includes social location
  • Wisdom Commentary: This series, still early in production, provides commentary on biblical materials from feminist and womanist perspectives. Value for historical and literary study varies by volume.
  • Word Biblical Commentary (available in circulating stacks): good outlines, historical and literary analysis

Here are some one-volume commentaries available in our Reference collection:
On the Internet
Oxford Biblical Studies Online Oxford Biblical Studies Online  Our subscription to Oxford Biblical Studies Online (OBSO) allows you to access commentaries from Oxford Bible CommentaryNew Oxford Annotated BibleOxford Study BibleJewish Study BibleCatholic Study Bible, and Access Bible
Click here to visit OBSO's commentary guide, organized by biblical book.* (Must be connected to the LTS wireless network or logged in to OBSO remotely.)

EBSCO eBooks - This link will take you to all biblical commentaries in our eBook holdings. Current students and faculty have remote access to our EBSCO eBook collections; all visitors to our library have on campus access.