Library Classification & Filing System for Biblical & Theological Studies

Most recent release, 4th ed., Jan. 2006

I am frequently asked about organizing a biblical studies library—usually by students, but others inquire as well. After many years of such queries I decided that I should take the time to make my own system available in a form that I can share with others. The outline below is based on 35 years of sifting, sorting, consulting, adapting, inventing, revising, etc. my own personalized classification system for biblical studies. I’ve rummaged in many, many different published systems and libraries (Dewey, LC systems, and some less common ones) over the years and most of them have had their own impact on the eclectic results shown here. Some of the categories given here are not exactly my own system but instead reflect changes that I’d make if I were beginning again. It explicitly reflects the needs of the pastor and seminary prof’s professional library (probably in the “several thousand volumes” range) and also reflects my own idiosyncratic interests, needs, and teaching areas. It is not perfectly consistent (e.g., OT and NT subdivisions are not exactly parallel in some cases). It does not pretend to be adequate for a large institutional library, though I suspect that it might adequately handle, say, a 10- or even 20,000 volume library of biblical studies without too much further adaptation or expansion. (If someone were to use this for a large library, they should be aware that there is no attempt here to provide a detailed breakdown for church administration, Christian education, or counseling materials [some of the basics are here], primarily because this system is designed for biblical studies proper rather than its various applications.) The greatest detail will be found in New Testament followed by theology. It also reflects my own theological position: Baptist, premillennial, etc., with a noticeable conservative slant (and the list of attributives could surely go on!). In most cases I have not attempted to “generalize” the system to be more generic. You will want to make your own “tweaks” to compensate for my idiosyncrasies (and to accommodate your own!). Perhaps you will find it useful, but, as they say, caveat emptor (just remember what you paid for this system!).

Download/View4th ed. of the 34 page classification index in .pdf format. (This is the main file.)

Download/View4th ed. of the 26 page, dbl-col., alphabetical subject index in .pdf format.

(The pages of both files are formatted to fit a 6″ x 9″ binder if you trim the margins appropriately, or you can leave it full size and have a wide-margin edition for your own notes.)

First posted 12/31/2002. Future revisions, refinements, or additions will be listed below, so check back periodically if you decide to use this system.

3d ed., 1/13/03
4th ed., 1/4/06, adds several optional expansions in an Appendix for: Greek grammar, NT textual criticism, LXX, Apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, and Apostolic Fathers. Also included are additional revisions/expansions/refinements in both the main index as well as the subject index.