Bible Dictionary Question


I’m wondering if anyone can recommend me a good “Bible dictionary.” I already have a dictionary that describes things related to Catholicism, but I’m specifically looking for one that relates to Biblical words (people, geography, animals, etc.). I’m noticing that this is harder and harder to find for Catholic Bible translations; I can find a gajillion “Bible dictionaries” that relate to terms found in the KJV, NIV, NKJV, etc.

I do have a Bible dictionary I like that is simply called “Smith’s Bible Dictionary.” But this appears to be a very condensed/abridged version; the original Smith’s Bible Dictionary I believe was a 3 or 4 volume series. I am seeing all kinds of books on ebay/amazon that are simply titled “Smith’s Bible Dictionary” without knowing so much as to if one includes more entries than the other. Mine is the cheap version published by Barbour and it states it includes more than 7,500 biblical words and definitions. Smith’s Bible Dictionary is apparently based off of the KJV/Authorized Version but I like all the maps, drawings, and calligraphy present in its 19th century style.

I’m not sure if there are better Bible dictionaries out there. Help?


Calmet’s Bible Dictionary is the best Catholic Bible Dictionary that I know of.


Scott Hahn’s Catholic Bible dictionary is my favourite Bible dictionary.


IMO, the best Bible dictionary is the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.

NIDB is $139.95 in Logos. The Logos software is always freeware if You don’t need/want extras. And they have a growing number of Catholic resources. If You want extras the smallest package is the Core Datasets, search for that! The “base-packages” contain a lot of fluff: … and the 1997 Catechism doesn’t ship outside the U.S (or it does if You just order with a U.S: bankcard (and shipping address?)). You can follow sales from the address: The products are downloads, but if You order a Verbum base-package You can request it to ship on a DVD also if You want to.

The NIDB is right now $79.95 as printed matter + postage. I don’t know how long the sale lasts.

I’m gonna have it both in Logos and as printed matter.


I like Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible, which I have in the print version and on my Logos 5/Verbum collection (prioritized). It isn’t strictly just Catholic but many Catholic SCripture scholars participated in the project. McKenzie’s dictionary is good but dated. The EDB is more up to date.


The OP specifically asked for a CATHOLIC Bible Dictionary so some of what has been suggested isn’t what he was looking for. There is a lot of good information in non-Catholic Bible resource material, but also a lot of error that a Catholic not fully versed in their Faith might get tripped up on.

I would second the suggestion on this one. It is fairly comprehensive, up to date and easy to read. The ONLY knock I have against it is that it is not illustrated–at all. If you want maps and charts and such, you may have to get a supplemental reference. For that, I highly recommend a resource that is not Catholic, but which I have been using for many years and have found NO denominational bias of any kind. Here’s a link:

Holman Bible Atlas

With these two resources side by side (along with, say, the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament), you’d have a pretty formidable reference library.

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