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How to do Scripture Research in the ATLA Database: ATLA Religion

This guide offers strategies for finding information on particular Bible passages in APU databases.This guide was originally created by Michelle Spomer.

Database Information

Four of the EBSCOhost databases (ATLA Religion, New Testament Abstracts, Old Testament Abstracts, and Catholic Periodical & Literature Index) offer a unique searchable field called either 'Scripture Citation' or 'Scripture Reference.' This allows the researcher to find items in the database that are relevant to particular scripture passages. When this search is used, the items retrieved will generally be quite academic and will focus on analysis of particular passages.

ATLA Religion Database is the premier index to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion. The database includes more than 555,000 article citations from more than 1,656 journals (518 currently indexed), more than 232,000 essay citations from over 16,700 multi-author works, more than 511,000 book review citations, and a growing number of multimedia citations. Full text is provided for more than 266,000 electronic articles and book reviews, from more than 130 journals selected by leading religion scholars in the United States.

All APU Databases can be accessed via the APU Libraries website by clicking on "All Databases." 

ATLA Religion Database with ATLAS Tutorial

Learn how to use the ATLA Religion Database with ATLAS effectively by watching the tutorial below. This tutorial is approximately 15 minutes from beginning to end.


  • Be sure the volume is turned on and is set at the volume level you want - the presentation has voice commentary throughout.
  • Invite students to go to the APU Libraries website ( where they can follow along in the ATLA Religion Database
  • Click on "Start Prezi."
  • Click on the expand icon  in the lower right corner of the Prezi, and then click on the play arrow in the lower left corner - the Prezi will then play automatically.

Problems Loading?

  • Click on the Prezi icon  in the lower right corner of the Prezi - this will take you to the Prezi online where you can play it and expand it to full screen. Use the arrow in the lower left corner to autoplay the Prezi.

NOTE: You can download a zip file to your computer that contains a copy of the Prezi, which can be run at any time (no Internet connection necessary). Follow the instructions above for getting to the Prezi online, and then click the 'Download' link below the Prezi.

Scripture Research Instructions

ATLA Religion Database provides a convenient 'Scriptures' option at the top of the page that will retrieve results for you. To use the 'Scriptures' option, follow these steps:

  • Access the database by clicking on the 'ATLA Religion Database' link in the box to the left.
  • Click on the 'Scriptures' link near the top of the page.

  • Use the 'Previous' and 'Next' links to find a particular book of the Bible.
  • Click on the [Expand] link to view the chapters of the book.
  • Click on the [Expand] link to view the verses in the chapter of the book.
  • Click on the verse of interest - you will then see a list of results that have something to do with the particular book, chapter, and verse that was selected. 
  • If you would like to search for several passages at once, see the example below. You will need to copy the search phrase (i.e. SR "Genesis 41:54") and modify it accordingly. You will also need to add 'OR' between each different search phrase.

  • After you have finished modifying your search click on the 'Search' button.
  • Consider narrowing your results to 'Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)' articles, by date (after 1985 is recommended by most biblical studies instructors at APU), or by language (many articles in ATLA Religion are written in French, German, and other languages). Use the tools in the 'Limit To' section in the column to the left of your results to limit to scholarly articles or to limit by date. Click on the 'Show More' link to limit by language.