General Formatting

What follows is taken directly from the Style Guide in use by the Department of Bible and Theology at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. The guide was recently updated, and is presented here with permission.

Style and Format

The latest edition of A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian is the required style manual. The latest edition of the SBL Handbook of Style provides required abbreviations necessary for the biblical and theological writing. This manual provides points of clarification required by the Department of Bible and Theology. Where the Turabian manual and the departmental manual disagree, students must follow the requirements of the department.

Note: As a general rule, professors in the department grade papers in conformity to the guidelines presented in this manual. Students are still responsible, however, to confirm with the professor whether he/she has any special requirements. Always review the course syllabus and other guidelines provided by the professor. Students are encouraged to ask the professor for a grading rubric, if one is available, to help inform the editing of their papers.

Length of the Paper

The length of the research paper varies depending upon the requirements of the course. Check to see if the professor prefers a page-count limit or a word-count limit.  In most cases, the page limit or word limit is based off the body of the paper and the footnotes, but does not include the front matter or bibliography.

Order of Front Matter

The front matter includes the title page and table of contents. Consult the professor to see whether other prefatory material is preferred.

Font Style and Size

The required font for research papers is Times New Roman. Use size 12-point font (Turabian A.1.2). Footnotes are the same font style but use a 10-point font. For biblical languages, use a True Type font. The Society of Biblical Literature provides free fonts for Greek and Hebrew (

Margins, Spacing, and Indentations

All margins on top, bottom, and right will be one inch. Do not justify the right margin. Double-space all text except items such as block quotations, footnotes, front matter, and the bibliography (Turabian A.1.3). Some types of software (e.g., MS Word) put an extra space between paragraphs as a default setting. Turn off this setting, as there should be no extra space between the paragraphs. Indent the first  line  of all  paragraphs  ½ inch, except block quotes (A.1.3).

Page Numbering

Traditionally papers, theses, and dissertations have different page formatting depending upon the part of the paper. Today many departments and universities eliminated these distinctions and require consistent placement of page numbers throughout the work (A.1.4.2).

Number all the pages in the upper right corner of the page in the header at least ½ inch from the edge of the paper (A.1.4.2). Use Arabic numerals in sequential order. The Title Page counts as page one, but do not put a page number on it.


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.

Block Quotations

Block quotations are required for quotations of five lines or more. Single-space a block quotation and leave a blank line before and after it.  Indent  the  entire  quotation  ½ inch  and do not  use quotation marks to begin or end the quote (25.2.2).


Plagiarism is the act of passing someone else’s work off as your own. There are many ways to plagiarize, both accidentally and on purpose. All forms of plagiarism are avoidable by properly citing each quotation and source of information in your paper. When it doubt, cite it. For a primer on plagiarism see

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s