BTS 1850: Introduction to the Bible (Hayes)

Finding Journal Articles

Using Databases

  • Databases can help you find the full-text of an article (if it is available) when you have a complete citation.
  • Databases can also help you find complete bibliographic information when you have a partial citation.
  • Databases can be accessed in two ways.
    • First, on the Library home page,
      • click on "Articles" in the left-hand list,
      • then click on "Choose" under "All article databases" and select one from the alphabetical list.
    • Alternatively,
      • click on the "Research Resources" tab at the top of the page
      • then on "Online Resources," which provides a more complete list of resources.
        • Clicking on the link brings a list with various disciplinary categories and combinations.
        • Biblical and theological databases are listed under the "Humanities" heading.‚Äč
  • Databases contain indexed articles (and sometimes essays in books) and ATLA contains the full-text of many of the articles and essays it indexes.

What Databases should I use?

Use databases to search for articles both when on campus and off.  When searching from off-campus, you will be prompted for a username and password; enter your usual North Park information.

ATLA's Scripture Search


  • When you open the ATLA database, on the top border of the screen, third from the left, is a heading "Scriptures." The following process is a convenient way to search for articles about a passage or passages of Scripture.
  • When you click on this heading, hyperlinked names of the books of the Bible (of the Protestant canon and order) appear, in several successive screens (two or three screens listing the OT books, one or two screens listing the NT). Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical books can be searched by name.
  • When the hyperlinked names of the Protestant canonical contents are clicked, each book's name opens up to a hyperlinked list of the chapters.
  • When the chapters are clicked, a hyperlinked list of the verses in each chapter appears.
  • When the verses are clicked, all of the articles in the database that are indexed as treating that verse will appear.
  • Some of these articles are available full-text immediately and others are not. The latter articles will need to be obtained in other ways:
    • from our print collection of journals
    • from other databases (such as JSTOR)
    • or ordered through Interlibrary Loan.
  • This search procedure in the ATLA Religion database is precise when looking at a single verse or an entire chapter.
  • It is somewhat redundant when looking at a range of verses within a chapter because each verse must be clicked individually, resulting in repeated retrievals of articles that covers more than one verse.


  • When studying a passage of several verses, it may be more useful to search under the “Indexes” tab, the fourth tab to the right at the top of the ATLA homepage.
  • Select the “Scripture citation” dropdown option.
  • Then enter the biblical passage you want, such as Matthew 5:5-12. This should retrieve a list or verse ranges that treat part or all of the passage.
  • Then click in the box next to the various verse ranges to select the ones that you want to retrieve.


Getting Articles

You can get journal articles in three ways:

  • Online - through the Brandel Library's databases and online journal subscriptions.
  • WorldShare Interlibrary Loan - request a specific journal article and the library will work to send you a PDF of that article.
  • Print - The Brandel Library's print journals are on lower level of the library for you to read, scan, and photocopy.

"Scholarly" vs. "Popular"

Use the following criteria to decide if a publication is popular or scholarly.

Scholarly journal articles:

  • written by experts in the field for an informed reader 
  • make careful, substantial use of scholarly sources in notes and/or bibliography 
  • reviewed by scholars outside the publication staff ('peer-reviewed') before publication
  • longer than articles in a popular magazine
  • Examples: Church History; Journal of Ecclesiastical History; Archive for Reformation History

Popular magazine articles:

  • aimed at the general public
  • usually shorter in length
  • use fewer sources and use them less substantially
  • published more frequently (weekly or monthly) 
  • Examples: Christianity Today; Covenant Companion; Christian History

Most databases provide a way to limit your search to or sort your results by "peer-reviewed" (the review process for publishing most scholarly articles).