Footnotes & Bibliography

1. Dolor sit amet.

When to Document Ideas

Ideas that are in the common knowledge do not need to be cited. The difficulty is knowing what is and is not common knowledge. When in doubt, cite it. It is better to have too many citations than too few. The Purdue OWL represents the standard guideline of repetition in five or more sources as a baseline for something being in the common knowledge. For further discussion of “common knowledge” and plagiarism in general, see


Footnotes are the required form of documentation (i.e., Bibliographic Method). Format footnotes according to the latest edition of A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian (16.3). Number the footnotes consecutively beginning with 1. Superscript the numbers in the footnotes or use full-sized numbers followed by a period.

Indent the first line of footnotes ½ inch (16.3.4). Footnotes are single-spaced entries with a double-space between entries ( Use the shortened form of author-title notes for repeat entries [last name, title, page number] (16.4.1). Use the term ibid to shorten a citation to a work cited in the immediately preceding note. Ibid. should be capitalized but not italicized and followed by a period since it is an abbreviation of ibidem. If the citation is from the same work but a different page, a comma should follow the period and the page number added, followed by a period (16.4.2). If Ibid. is going to be the first reference on a page, use the shortened author-date citation instead.

Documentation and Abbreviations

The SBL Handbook of Style offers two extensive lists of abbreviations for journals, series, and other standard reference works. The first abbreviation list is alphabetized by source (SBLHS 8.4.1) and the second by abbreviation (SBLHS 8.4.2). If the work cited is in these lists, use the standard abbreviation provided.

Note that both lists italicize abbreviations of journal titles and abbreviations based on book titles (e.g., JBL, COS) but do not italicize the abbreviations of book series (e.g., WGRW, JSOTSup) or abbreviations based on personal names (e.g., BAGD, BDB).

If a work is not included in the abbreviation lists of SBLHS or some other authoritative resource (e.g., IATG, CAD), use complete titles throughout or include a list  of additional abbreviations on a separate page at the beginning of the paper (after the title page and before the main text).

Documentation of Books

The citation of books (17.1) varies due to the wide variety of types of books and information needed to properly identify the source. For example, style changes if a book has one author, multiple authors, or an editor.  It changes if the book is part of a series or single chapter in a compiled work. The basic format for a book includes author, title, city of publication, publisher, date of publication, and page cited. For the examples below and all other examples, “N” is for Footnote, “SN” is for Shortened Footnote, and “B” for Bibliography.

Regardless of how the webpage renders the format, the first line of footnotes should be indented by ½ inch. Entries in the bibliography should be justified all the way to the left and then formatted with a hanging indent. Bibliographic entries are single-spaced within entries, with an extra space between entries.

N: 3. Michael F. Bird, What Christians Ought to Believe: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine through the Apostles’ Creed (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016), 179.

SN:     6. Bird, Ought, 179.

B:   Bird, Michael F. What Christians Ought to Believe: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine through the Apostles’ Creed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016.

Documentation of a Book with Two Authors

N:          1. James M. Robinson and Helmet Koester, Trajectories through Early Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971), 237.

SN:        7. Robinson and Koester, Trajectories, 237.

B: Robinson, James M., and Helmut Koester. Trajectories through Early Christianity. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971.

Documentation of a Book with an Editor

N:        1. Mark Chavalas, ed., Women in the Ancient Near East (New York: Routledge, 2014), 70.

SN:      11. Chavalas, ed. Women, 70.

B: Chavalas, Mark W., ed. Women in the Ancient Near East. New York: Routledge, 2014.

Documentation of Electronic Books

Electronic books are cited like their printed counterparts (17.1.10).  Be sure that the publication information is for the book and not the software. If one reads the book online in a library or commercial database, give the name of the database (AdobePDF eBook, Proquest Ebrary, Google Books). If one downloads the book, specify the format (Kindle, iBooks, Logos, Accordance). If no page number is available in a downloaded book, then either find the page number in the hardcopy of the book or use the format employed by the software. For example, Kindle books often have a location number but not a page number.

N:          2. Thomas Schreiner, Forty Questions About Christians and Biblical Law, ed. Benjamin L. Merkle (Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2010), 33, Logos.

SN:       5. Schreiner, Questions, 33.

B:    Schreiner, Thomas. Forty Questions About Christians and Biblical Law. Edited by Benjamin L. Merkle. Grand Rapids, Kregel Academic, 2010. Logos.

N:         1. Bruce W. Winter, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), loc. 146 of 3445. Kindle.

SN:        3. Winter, Roman Wives, loc 146 of 3445.

B.       Winter, Bruce W. Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. Kindle.

Documentation of Commentaries

Commentaries require the full information of the author, volume title, series title, editor, volume number, and publishing information  ( Many reference works such as commentaries, lexicons, biblical and theological dictionaries have approved abbreviations.  If you are unsure of the abbreviation you can spell out the entire series name.

N:          7. F. F. Bruce, Book of Acts, NICNT  (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 73.

SN:                         15. Bruce, Acts, NICNT, 73.

B:     Bruce, F. F. Book of Acts. NICNT. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.

Documentation of a Title within a Volume within a Multivolume Work

N:          1. Laurence M. Wills, NIB 3:1154.

SN:        3. Wills, NIB 3:1154.

B:       Wills, Lawrence M. “Judith.” Pages 1074-183 in 1 & 2 Kings; 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Tobit, Judith. Vol. 3 of New Interpreter’s Bible. Edited by Leander E. Keck. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999.

N:          1. Richard N. Longenecker, Expositor’s 9:268.

SN:       3. Longenecker, Expositor’s 9:268. 

B:      Longenecker, Richard N. “Acts.” Pages 207-573 in John and Acts. Vol. 9 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Edited by Frank E. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981.

Documentation of an Article in an Edited Volume

N:          1. Richard Bauckham, “The Relevance of Extra-canonical Jewish Texts to New Testament Study,” in Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation, ed. Joel B. Green, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 68.

SN:        5. Bauckham, “Relevance,” 68.

B:     Bauckham, Richard. “The Relevance of Extra-canonical Jewish Texts to New Testament Study.” Pages 65-84 in Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation. Edited by Joel B. Green. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.

Documentation of an Article in a Dictionary or Encyclopedia

Whenever possible, use the standard, SBL-designated abbreviation for the dictionary or encyclopedia. Otherwise, spell the full dictionary title.

N:         1. H. G. M. Williamson, “Samaritans” DJG, 726.

SN:        3. Williamson, “Samaritans” DJG, 726.

B1:    Williamson, H. G. M. “Samaritans.” DJG, 724-728.


B2:   Williamson, H. G. M. “Samaritans.” Pages 724-728 in The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2013.

N:          1. Stanley D. Walters, “Jacob Narrative” ABD 3:599.

SN:        3. Walters, “Jacob” ABD 3:599.

B1:    Walters, Stanley D. “Jacob Narrative.” ABD 3: 359-609.


B2:     Walters, Stanley D. “Jacob Narrative.” Pages 359-609 in vol. 3 of The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David Noel Freedman. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Documentation of an Article in a Lexicon

N:          1. F. Annen, “θαυμάζω,” EDNT 2:135.

SN:        3. Annen, “θαυμάζω,” EDNT 2:135.

B:      Balz, Horst and Gerhard Schneider, eds. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. 3 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990–1993.

N:          1. Wilhelm Mundle, Colin Brown, and Otfried Hofius, “Miracle, Wonder, Sign,” NIDNTT 2:634.

SN:       3. Mundle, Brown, Hofius, “Miracle,” NIDNTT 2:634.

B:    Brown, Colin, ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 4 vols. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975-85.

N:          1. L&N, 1:315.

SN:         5. L&N, 1:315.

B:      Louw, J. P. and E. A. Nida, eds. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. 2nd ed. 2 vols. New York: United Bible Societies, 1989.

Documentation of Journals

Whenever possible, the footnotes should use the standard, SBL abbreviation for journals. The bibliographic entry may use the abbreviation or spell out the entire name of the journal.

N:          1. Paul Achtemeier, “Omne Verbum Sonat: The New Testament and the Oral Environment of Late Western Antiquity,” JBL 109 (1990): 16.

SN:        3. Achtemeier, “V,” 16.

B:     Achtemeier, Paul. “Omne Verbum Sonat: The New Testament and the Oral Environment of Late Western Antiquity.” Journal of Biblical Literature 109 (1990): 3-27.

N:          1. Steven M. Fettke and Michael L. Dusing, “A Practical Pentecostal Theodicy?” Pneuma 38 (2016): 169.

SN:       3. Fettke and Dusing, “Practical,” 169.

B:     Fettke, Steven M. and Michael L. Dusing. “A Practical Pentecostal Theodicy?” Pneuma 38 (2016): 160–179.

Documentation of Electronic Journals

Electronic journals should include all the appropriate information for a journal entry. Do not include the URL in the footnote, but do include it in the bibliography. (17.2; 15.4.1).

N:          4. H. Wyane Johnson, “Practicing Theology on a Sunday Morning: Corporate Worship as Spiritual Formation, Trinity Journal 31 (Spring 2010): 28, Academia.

SN:        7. Johnson, “Practicing,” 28. 

B:     Johnson, H. Wayne. “Practicing Theology on a Sunday Morning Corporate Worship as Spiritual Formation.” Trinity Journal 31 (Spring 2010): 27–44.

Documentation of Websites with no print counterpart

When citing a website do not include the URL address in the footnote, even though Turabian recommends one do so (17.7.1). Do include the URL address in the bibliography only. The footnote should include all other appropriate bibliographic information. If possible, also include an author’s name, article title, and website name.

N:     5. “Statement of Faith,” Society of Evangelical Arminians.

SN:          7. “Statement,” Evangelical Arminians.

B:      “Statement of Faith.” Society of Evangelical Arminians.

N:          1. Ben Witherington III, “N.T. Wright on Post-Modernity and the Enlightenment,” Ben Witherington; accessed September 25, 2017.

SN:      7. Witherington, “Post-Modernity.”

B:     Witherington, Ben III. “N.T. Wright on Post-Modernity and the Enlightenment.” Ben Witherington. Accessed Sept 25, 2017.

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