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Theology, Christian Ministries, and Philosophy: Reference Sources incl. Commentaries

Research Guide in the areas of Theology, Philosophy, and Christian Ministry.

Preferred Bible Commentaries

The below books are just one in a commentaries series. Ryan Library usually contains all titles in the series (unless the series is not yet complete). Some commentaries are available in two locations: Reference and Lower Level. Reference books have an "R" in front of their call number. Copies on the Lower Level may be borrowed and copies in the Reference Area must be used in the library.

Bible Commentary Series in eBook Format

The Bible commentary series listed below are available in ebook format through Ryan Library. Not all volumes in each series is available as an ebook.

Credo Reference: Religion & Theology

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Credo Reference helps you start your research in religion with dictionaries of theology, profiles of religious figures, and overviews of key ideas.

Reference Sources on Religion and Philosophy

Ryan Library has hundreds of subject encyclopedias, commentaries, and lexicons in the area of Religion and Philosophy. 

Note: To view the table of contents in a print book, open the book's record in WorldCat (the hyperlinked titles below open each book's record), then expand the View Description section. If the table of contents is quite long, try keyword searching on the page by using the Cntl F/Command F shortcut.

Reference Books and Individual Bible Commentaries in eBook Format

The ebooks listed below require a PLNU OneLogin:

Online Bible Commentaries from Ryan Library: These are the Bible commentaries available in ebook format through Ryan Library's WorldCat catalog.

Encyclopedia of World Religions: Encyclopedia of Protestantism (2016): Available through Credo Reference database. Using an A-to-Z format, this encyclopedia covers the primary people, events, groups, and theological issues that emerged at the Protestantism's origin; the main individuals, concerns, and movements that shaped it in subsequent centuries. Coverage includes those parts of the world in which Protestantism did not appear until the 19th century, regions that are now home to the growing edge of the movement (Asia, Africa, and Oceania).

The below list highlights individual Bible commentaries available in the ebook format through Ryan Library. Note: You can find more commentaries on your area of interest by clicking on the hyperlinked series titles and subject headings in each book's record.

Bible Dictionaries: Print and Online

Print Bible dictionaries are located in the Ryan Library's Reference Area. Online dictionaries require a PLNU OneLogin.

Dictionaries in Print

These print dictionaries are available in the Reference Area of Ryan Library and must be used in-house.

Dictionaries Available In Both Print and Online

Online Bible Dictionaries

Encyclopedia of ProtestantismEssential Bible Dictionary (2017): This Bible dictionary is published by Zondervan and is available through the Credo Reference database. The hyperlinked title opens to a alphabetized table of contents.



Open Access Bible Commentaries

The below Bible commentary series are 'open access' meaning they are freely available on the internet and do not require a PLNU OneLogin.

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: available through the Bible Gateway website; some content is free, some is not.

Virtual Theological Library Project: provides links to open access online commentaries.

Google Search for Open Access Bible Commentaries Online: This customized Google search pulls results from multiple online Bible research tools such as and Search by Bible passage.

Requesting Materials from Other Libraries

Use this option when requesting items that are not available at Ryan Library:

      InterLibrary Loan

  • Articles, books, and other materials can be requested from InterLibrary Loan.

***Ebooks are rarely available via InterLibrary Loan***      (Licensing restrictions limit the sharing of digital resources.)

  • Ebook chapters may be more readily obtained than the entire book. Keep this in mind when placing requests and be specific about chapters/page numbers when possible.
  • Books requested via InterLibrary Loan take a minimum of 7-10 business days to receive.
  • Loan periods and renewal availability vary depending on the participating libraries.
  • Overdue fines will apply.

Click Here for ILL Request Form

Please select either ARTICLE or BOOK when placing your request.

Why Use Reference Books?

Reference sources provide background information, an overview of a topic, specialized vocabulary and terminology, and critical concepts.  They're often a great starting point.  The Library has reference materials both online and in print.

Want more information? 

  • Contact the Reference/Information Desk on the Main Level of Ryan Library (619.849.2337)
  • Email 
  • Instant Message through the Ask a Librarian box on the right.

Browse our Reference section or the corresponding call numbers on the Lower Level of Ryan Library:

  • 220 Bible
    • Bible Concordances 220.2
    • Bible Dictionaries 220.3
    • Bibles 220.52
    • Bible Interpretation and Criticism; Exegesis 220.6
    • Bible Commentaries 220.7