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CITATION GUIDE: SBL

SBL CITATION STYLE

Bible, religion, or philosophy sometimes use the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) style of citations. Similar to Chicago/Turabian, you can use the examples on the right to model your citations. However, the final authority for the bibliographic form used in your paper is your professor.

You can also use the Student Supplement to the SBL for a simplified set of instructions.

How to format your paper

Use 1 inch margins on all sides.

Double-space all main text except for block quotations (long quotations of 5 lines or more)

On the first page, put the page number at the bottom center. For all following pages, use the top right corner.

For a full set of instructions and examples, see the SBL Handbook Student Supplement.

SBL ABBREVIATIONS OT

Old Testament:

Gen - Genesis
Exod - Exodus
Lev - Leviticus
Num - Numbers
Deut - Deuteronomy
Josh - Joshua
Judg - Judges
Ruth - Ruth
1Sam - 1Samuel
2Sam - 2Samuel
1Kgs - 1Kings
2Kgs - 2Kings
1Chr - 1Chronicles
2Chr - 2Chronicles
Ezra - Ezra
Neh - Nehemiah
Esth - Esther
Job - Job
Ps - Psalms
Prov - Proverbs
Eccl - Ecclesiastes
Song - Song of Solomon
Isa - Isaiah
Jer - Jeremiah
Lam - Lamentations
Ezek - Ezekiel
Dan - Daniel
Hos - Hosea
Joel – Joel
Amos - Amos
Obad - Obadiah
Jonah - Jonah
Mic - Micah
Nah - Nahum
Hab - Habakkuk
Zeph - Zephaniah
Hag - Haggai
Zech - Zechariah
Mal - Malachi

SBL ABBREVIATIONS NT

New Testament:

Matt - Matthew
Mark - Mark
Luke - Luke
John - John
Acts - Acts
Rom - Romans
1Cor - 1Corinthians
2Cor - 2Corinthians
Gal - Galatians
Eph - Ephesians
Phil - Philippians
Col - Colossians
1Thess - 1Thessalonians
2Thess - 2Thessalonians
1Tim - 1Timothy
2Tim - 2Timothy
Titus - Titus
Phlm - Philemon
Heb - Hebrews
Jas - James
1Pet - 1Peter
2Pet - 2Peter
1John - 1John
2John - 2John
3John - 3John
Jude - Jude
Rev - Revelation

SBL REFERENCES, PRINT

Edited Bible book:

Footnote

12. Bernard M. Levinson, ed. Deuteronomy in The New Oxford Annotated Bible (ed. Michael D. Coogen; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 253.

19. Levinson, Deuteronomy, 201.

Internal citation

Sentence (Levinson 2001, 301).

According to Bernard M. Levinson, "...quotation..." (2001, 301).

Bibliography

Levinson, Bernard M., ed. Deuteronomy. Pages 240-308 in The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Edited by Michael D. Coogen.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Bible Commentaries

Footnote

4. Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John XII-XXI, Anchor Bible 29A (Garden City: Doubleday, 1966), 980.

32. Brown, The Gospel According to John XII-XXI. 1159.

Internal citation

Sentence (Brown 1966, 1159).

According to Raymond Brown, “...quotation...” (1966, 1159).

Bibliography

Brown, Raymond. The Gospel According to John. 2 vols. Anchor Bible 29A.Garden City: Doubleday,1966.

Dictionary or encyclopedia entry

Footnote

33. Krister. Stendahl, “Biblical Theology, Contemporary,” IDB 1:418-32.

39. Stendahl, “Biblical Theology” 1:419.

Internal citation

Sentence (Stendahl 1962, 1:422).

According to K. Stendahl, “...quotation...” (1962, 1:422).

Bibliography

Stendahl, Krister. “Biblical Theology, Contemporary.” IDB 1:418-32.

Article in a journal

Footnote

24. Marcus Joel, “Rivers of Living Water from Jesus’ Belly (John 7:38),” Journal of Biblical Literature 117 (1998): 329.

35. Joel, “Rivers of Living Water,” 330.

Internal citation

Sentence (Joel, 1998, 330).

According to Marcus Joel, “...quotation...” (1998, 330).

Bibliography

Joel, Marcus. “Rivers of Living Water from Jesus’ Belly (John 7:38).” Journal of Biblical Literature 117 (1998): 328-330.

Book

Footnote

12. Martin Hengel, The Johannine Question (London: SCM; Philadelphia: Trinity Press, 1989), 132.

19. Hengel, The Johannine Question, 152.

Internal citation

Sentence (Hengel 1989, 152).

According to Martin Hengel, “...quotation...” (1989, 152).

Bibliography

Hengel, Martin. The Johannine Question. London: SCM; Philadelphia: Trinity Press, 1989.

SBL REFERENCES, ELECTRONIC

Electronic Book - When citing an online version of a book, include the DOI instead of the book format. If the DOI is not available, include the URL in the citation.

Footnote

14. Jo-Ann A. Brant, Ancient Fiction the Matrix of Early Christian and Jewish Narrative. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005), E-book edition, 129. 

18. Brant, Ancient Fiction, 132.

Bibliography

Brant, Jo-Ann A. Ancient Fiction the Matrix of Early Christian and Jewish Narrative.Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005. E-book edition.

Electronic Journal Article

43. Carl P. E. Springer, "Of Roosters and Repetitio: Ambrose's Aeterne rerum conditor," VC 68 (2014): 155-77, doi:10.1163/15700720-12341158.

45. Springer, "Of Roosters and Repetitio," 158.

Springer, Carl P.E. "Of Roosters and Repetitio: Ambrose's Aeterne rerum conditor." VC 68 (2014): 155-77. doi:10.1163/15700720-12341158.

SBL STANDARD BIBLICAL REFERENCE FORMS

Mark 7:11-21 means chapter 7 verses 11 through 21.
Mark 7:11-21:1 means chapter 7, verse 11 through to chapter 21, verse 1.
Mark 7-10 means chapters 7 through 1.
Mark 7, 8 and 10 means chapter 7, chapter 8 and chapter 10.
Mark 7:11, 21 means chapter 7 verses 11 and 21.
Mark 7:11; 21 means chapter 7 verse 11 and chapter 21.

(Normally a colon divides chapter from verse, a semi-colon divides chapter from chapter, and a comma divides verse from verse.)

Biblical Citations

If you are citing a modern version of the Bible, you do not need to include publisher's information. Instead, use the standard abbreviations for the Bible version (see below). If you are only citing one version of the Bible throughout your paper, only include the version in the first citation. If you are citing multiple versions, include it in every citation.

GNB Good News Bible
NASB New American Standard Bible
NIV New International Version
NRSV New Revised Standard Version
RSV Revised Standard Version

For a full list of modern Bible abbreviations, see the SBL handbook in the Reference room, or ask a librarian for help.