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Michigan State University

Bible Resources: Using the Online Catalog

The purpose of this guide is to point the way to information sources about the Bible.

Using the Online Catalog

It is possible to do a quick and dirty, one box keyword search of the contents of the MSU Libraries' web site, starting at the top left of the Libraries' home page.  The results will be sorted into several categories to follow up on:  articles from journals, books/media from our online catalog, databases, library research guides like this one, other. Watch a short video about it here. To do a more traditional search, read on.

Our Books and Media (online catalog) may be searched by keyword (any word that might be in a book's title or bibliographic entry), by specific book title, by author (last name first), or by subject heading.  Areas of the stacks can be browsed by call number on your computer.

To look up the text of particular books of the Bible, do a title search like this:  Bible Genesis.  Bible John.  Bible Psalms.

Following a productive keyword search, click on one or more of the subject headings near the bottom of the record to find more books on that subject.

Subject headings come from a set of fat red books in the Reference collection, at Z 695, of the Main Library.  Subject headings are standardized words and phrases assigned to each book when it is cataloged; they describe a book or electronic resource's contents intellectually, whether those words actually appear in the title or not.  To do a subject heading search, click on Books and Media on the Libraries’ home page under the one box search, at the left side of the page.   Then click on "Subjects" from the "Other Catalog Searches" list in the middle of the screen.  Some commonly used subject headings are below.

Search for information about different books of the Bible by using subject heading phrases composed like this:  Bible--[name of book of the Bible]-- [standardized sub-heading for type of material desired].  Here are some examples:

Bible Genesis--concordances

Bible Isaiah--criticism, interpretation, etc.

Bible Matthew--commentaries

Bible Acts--history

Bible Acts--criticism, textual

Bible Acts and Epistles--commentaries


Commonly Used Subject Headings about the Bible

Abraham--biblical patriarch

Apocalyptic literature



Bible. English. [name of version of the Bible], for instance, Bible English New International Version

Bible. English. Authorized, to find copies of the King James Version

Bible. [language] for Bibles in other languages, for instance Bible. Latin. Vulgate or Bible. Spanish



Bible—Black interpretations


Bible—criticism, interpretation, etc.—[country name]

Bible—criticism, interpretation, etc.—history [time periods]

Bible--criticism, narrative

Bible—criticism, textual


Bible—feminist criticism


Bible—history of Biblical events

Bible—in motion pictures

Bible and evolution

Bible and science

Bible as literature

Bible films

Creation--biblical teaching

Dead Sea Scrolls

Isaiah (biblical prophet)

Jesus Christ

John, the apostle, saint

Luke, saint

Moses (biblical leader)

Paul, the Apostle, Saint

Ten Commandments

Wisdom literature

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