A Simple Guide to How to Expand Your Research Materials

As a biblical scholar, you need access to materials for your research—primarily books and journals.1

You need what’s pertinent to your work, regardless of how easy it is to get to. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make accessing that material as easy as possible.

How to Expand Your Research Materials

To do so, you can use

  1. all of the collections at all of the libraries you have access to. When in doubt, check. What’s available might surprise you.
  2. Internet Archive to download the full text of any number of public domain titles or temporarily borrow a number of others that are still under copyright.
  3. Amazon and Google Books to preview substantial portions of volumes or even download the full text of works available in the public domain. Of course, you can’t limit your research to what’s available in previews. But you might well be able to find just that full chapter that you actually need. And
  4. the whole rest of the Internet as your personal research library. Doing so can take some work just because there’s so much available. But you can also check out this growing guide to get started with just a few of the resources I’ve found helpful for my own research.


In a 1524 letter about the importance of Christian schools, Martin Luther pressed the importance of biblical languages, saying

O how happy the dear fathers would have been if they had had our opportunity to study the languages and come thus prepared to the Holy Scriptures! What great toil and effort it cost them to gather up a few crumbs, while we with half the labor—yes, almost without any labor at all—can acquire the whole loaf!2

Similarly, by comparison to how research had to be done in the past, the libraries and wider Internet make accessing material so much easier. And that becomes still more true over time as resources evolve and you get accustomed to where you need to look for particular things.

  1. Header image provided by Eugenio Mazzone

  2. Timothy Lull and William Russell, eds., Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 3rd ed. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2012), 466. 

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