- Documentation of Books
- Documentation of Commentaries
- Documentation of Articles
- Documentation of Websites
When to Document Ideas
Ideas that are common knowledge do not need to be cited. The challenge is in 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 reflects the standard guideline of repetition in five or more sources as a baseline for something being in common knowledge. For further discussion of “common knowledge” and of plagiarism in general, see BibTheo.com/plagiarism.
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 by ½ inch (16.3.4). Footnotes are single-spaced entries with a double-space between entries (22.214.171.124). 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), e.g., “Ibid., 27.”. 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. See BibTheo.com/Abbreviations for abbreviations that are commonly-used by students.
Note that abbreviations are italicized if they are journal titles (e.g., JBL, JSNT, JSOT) or abbreviations based on book titles (e.g., ANET, COS) but are not italicized if they are 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, also BibTheo.com/Abbreviations), 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).
In the following guide, “N:” stands for “footnote” and shows what the source should look the first time the source appears in the footnotes of a paper. “SN:” stands for “shortened footnote” and shows what the source should look like all subsequent times it appears in the footnotes, after the first time in which its full citation was given. “B:” stands for “bibliography” and shows what the source should look like in a bibliography. NB, though this website may not show it, the bibliography should use a hanging indent.
Documentation of Books
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 this 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.
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 eBooks
Electronic books (eBooks) are cited just like their printed counterparts, with the only difference being the inclusion of the software or app in which the book was read (17.1.10). This principle applies to any type of electronic resources that has a print (hard copy) counterpart, which includes commentaries, essay collections, and lexicons.
If you read the book online in a library or commercial database, give the name of the database (AdobePDF eBook, Proquest Ebrary, Google Books). If you download the book, specify the format (Kindle, Apple Books, Logos, Accordance). If no page number is available in an electronic book, then either find the page number in the hard copy of the book or use the format employed by the software. For example, eBooks often have a location number rather than a page number. Do not include the URL anywhere in the citations.
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
N: 1. Harold Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 12.
SN: 3. Hoehner, Ephesians, 29.
B: Hoehner, Harold. Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002.
Commentary in a Series
Commentaries require the full information of the author, volume title, series title, editor, volume number, and publishing information (126.96.36.199). 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: 1. Lynn H. Cohick, The Letter to the Ephesians, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020), 73.
SN: 15. Cohick, Ephesians, NICNT, 73.
B: Cohick, Lynn H. The Letter to the Ephesians. NICNT. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020.
Numbered Commentary in a Series
Some commentary series use numbers for their volumes while others do not. If there is a volume number in a commentary series, include it after the series name but do not include the words “volume” or “number.” If the series divides the number further, as in the second example (below), include the subdivisions.
N: 1. Gerald L. Keown, Pamela J. Scalise, and Thomas G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52, Word 27 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 82.
SN: 15. Keown, Scalise, and Smothers, Jeremiah, 96.
B: Keown, Gerald L., Pamela J. Scalise, and Thomas G. Smothers. Jeremiah 26-52. Word 27. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.
N: 1. Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, Word 33A (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 12.
SN: 15. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, 26.
B: Hagner, Donald A. Matthew 1-13. Word 33A. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.
A Chapter within a Single Volume
Some commentaries combine treatment of multiple books of the Bible into a single volume. Each chapter is usually written by a different author, so make sure to start by crediting the author of the individual chapter that informs your writing. The editor has her or his own place later on in the citation.
N: 1. Paul John Isaak, “Luke,” in Africa Bible Commentary, ed. Tokunboh Adeyemo (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 1210.
SN: Isaak, “Luke,” 1215.
B: Isaak, Paul John. “Luke.” Pages 1203-1250 in Africa Bible Commentary. Edited by Tokunboh Adeyemo. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
A Chapter within a Volume within a Multivolume Work
Some commentaries combine treatment of multiple books of the Bible into more than one volume but fewer than the 66 volumes it would take to give each biblical book its own volume. Each chapter is usually written by a different author, so make sure to start by crediting the author of the individual chapter that informs your writing. The editor has her or his own place later on in the citation. Also clarify the volume number in addition to the page number, separating them by a colon (:).
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. Walter L. Liefeld and David W. Pao, REBC 10:25.
SN: 3. Liefeld and Pao, REBC 10:33.
B: Liefeld, Walter L. and David W. Pao. “Luke.” Pages 19-356 in Luke-Acts. Vol. 10 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Rev. ed. Edited by Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.
Documentation of Articles
Article in a Journal
Whenever possible, the footnotes should use the industry standard abbreviation for journals. The bibliographic entry may use the abbreviation or spell out the entire name of the journal. Since journals number their pages sequentially across issues within the same volume, do include the volume number but do not the issue number, month, day, and/or season of publication. E.g., JBL 109 (1990), not
JBL 109 no. 1 (1990), JBL 109 (Spring 1990), JBL 109.1 (1990).
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, “Verbum,” 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.
Article in an eJournal
Electronic journals are journals with a print counterpart whose articles are able to be read online. For journals and other resources without a print counterpart, see the “Websites” section, below. Cite eJournals the same way you would cite their print counterpart, but include the DOI (preferred) or URL at the end.
N: 1. Beverly Roberts Gaventa, “Places of Power in Paul’s Letter to the Romans,” Interpretation 76 (2022): 294, doi:10.1177/00209643221108179.
SN: Gaventa, “Power,” 300.
B: Gaventa, Beverly Roberts. “Places of Power in Paul’s Letter to the Romans.” Interpretation 76 (2022): 293-302. doi:10.1177/00209643221108179.
N: 4. H. Wayne Johnson, “Practicing Theology on a Sunday Morning: Corporate Worship as Spiritual Formation, Trinity Journal 31 (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 (2010): 27–44. http://www.academia.edu/7444520.
Article in an Edited Volume (e.g., essay collection, festschrift)
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.
Article in a Dictionary or Encyclopedia
The disciplines of Biblical and Theological Studies use the terms “Dictionary” and “Encyclopedia” interchangeably. What the public typically thinks of a “Dictionary,” that is, word lists and their definitions such as in Merriam-Webster, OED, Urban Dictionary, is called a “Lexicon” by the academy. When citing dictionaries and encyclopedias, use the standard, SBL-designated abbreviation for that dictionary or encyclopedia. Otherwise, spell the full dictionary title.
N: 1. Holly Beers, “Servant of Yahweh,” DJG2, 856.
SN: 9. Beers, “Servant” 726.
B1: Beers, Holly. “Servant of Yahweh.” DJG2, 855-859.
B2: Beers, Holly. “Servant of Yahweh.” Pages 855-859 in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 2nd ed. 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.
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 Websites
Websites and Blogs
Include as much identifying information as possible when citing something from a website. This includes the author of the content or the owner/sponsor of the website, the title of the content on the webpage, and the name of the website as a whole. You may need to click around to find out some of this information. Include the URL in the footnote and bibliography. It is no longer recommended to include the date the website was accessed.
N: 5. “Statement of Faith,” Society of Evangelical Arminians. http://www.evangelicalarminians.org/statement-of-faith.
SN: 7. “Statement,” Evangelical Arminians.
B: “Statement of Faith.” Society of Evangelical Arminians. http://www.evangelicalarminians.org/statement-of-faith.
N: 1. Ben Witherington III, “N.T. Wright on Post-Modernity and the Enlightenment,” Ben Witherington. http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/05/nt-wright-on-post-modernity-and.html.
SN: 7. Witherington, “Post-Modernity.”
B: Witherington, Ben III. “N.T. Wright on Post-Modernity and the Enlightenment.” Ben Witherington. Accessed Sept 25, 2017. http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2009/05/nt-wright-on-post-modernity-and.html.
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