Introduction to Online Theological Reference Resources

The ORU Library has thousands of resources that support our theological degrees. While we cannot provide all of our resources in electronic form, this guide provides a selection of some of our best theological reference sources that can help you with your research.

Theological research usually begins with getting definitions of words, theological concepts, or information on individuals you want to study. This is done through reference works such as academic dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks. From there, you can pursue more focused studies in books and journal articles about your topic. This guide will help you with suggestions of scholarly reference materials available to online learners.

If you need more help, you can email us at librarian@oru.edu or use the chat button to chat with a librarian.

Please be sure you are logged into your ORU Single Sign-On through the Library Home Page by clicking "Off Campus Access."

This guide a great source for the Seminar in Theological Research students.

Theological Dictionaries

A theological dictionary is designed to give you definitions of theological concepts found in the Bible and/or theological works. For example, "sovereignty" is a concept in theology, even though the word is not used often in the Bible. Same is true for "Trinity." These give you some basic understandings of how the word or concept is used in theological circles.

If you want to find more options, simply expand the box "Books, Ebooks, and Media" on the home page and in the search box type "theological dictionary". On the results page, change the dropdown from View Entire Collection to Ebooks and click on Search.

Bible Dictionaries and Word Study Resources

Word studies look at the definitions and uses of words in the Biblical text. Most in-depth word studies require knowledge of Greek and Hebrew in order to use a lexicon. However, a Bible dictionary also discusses how words are used and the background meanings of words.

If you want to find more options, simply expand the box "Books, Ebooks, and Media" on the home page and in the search box type "Bible dictionary". On the results page, change the dropdown from View Entire Collection to Ebooks and click on Search.

Handbooks on Theology and other Topics

Handbooks provides scholarly level information on a variety of topics, very much like a theological dictionary. This could include theological topics, related perspectives on issues, or individuals in history. The Oxford Handbook Series provides a large variety of handbooks on many different disciplines in theology. For example, topics range from scripture and hermeneutics to faith and reason, creation, Jesus Christ, Israel and salvation, eschatology, worship, and politics.

If you want to find more options, simply expand the box "Books, Ebooks, and Media" on the home page and in the search box type "handbook and theology". On the results page, change the dropdown from View Entire Collection to Ebooks and click on Search.