Footnotes & Bibliography

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Documentation of Books
  3. Documentation of Commentaries
  4. Documentation of Articles
  5. Documentation of Websites
  6. Documentation of Bible Software


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.

Documentation in Footnotes

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.
  • Use Times New Roman, 10 point font.
  • Indent the first line of footnotes by 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), e.g., “Ibid., 27.”. If Ibid. is going to be the first reference on a page, use the shortened author-date citation instead.

Documentation in a Bibliography

  • A bibliography lists every source that was referenced in the footnotes of a paper. Called “Works Cited” in other disciplines, ours retains the old ways.
  • Use Times New Roman, 12 point font.
  • Bibliographies use single-spaced entries with a double-space between entries.
  • Use a hanging indent, with the first line flush with the left margin and subsequent lines indented by 1/2 inch.

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 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), 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

A Book with One Author

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.


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 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

Independent Commentary

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.


Volume in a Series

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:        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 Volume 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 Series

Some commentaries combine treatment of multiple books of the Bible into more than one volume. Each chapter is usually written by a different author, so cite 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. Lawrence M. Wills, NIB 3:1154.

SN:        3. Wills, NIB 3:1154.

B:       Wills, Lawrence M. “Judith.” Pages 1074-1183 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

Footnotes should use the standard SBL-designated abbreviations for journals whenever possible. 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, the month, the day, and/or the season of publication. For example, the following example cites it as JBL 109 (1990), and not as JBL 109 no. 1 (1990), or JBL 109 (Spring 1990), or 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

Cite electronic journals like their print counterparts. 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.


Article in an Edited Volume (e.g., essay collection, festschrift)

Essay collections usually have a different author for each chapter in the book. Begin by citing the author of the chapter and not the editor of the book. The editor has his or her own space later on in the citation.

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

Whenever possible, use the standard, SBL-designated abbreviation for the dictionary or encyclopedia. Otherwise, provide the full title. The first example is from a one-volume Bible dictionary. The second example is from a multivolume Bible dictionary.

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 webpage, and the name of the website as a whole. Do not include the URL in the footnote but do include the URL in the bibliography. Remove the hyperlink to the URL.

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.

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

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


Documentation of Bible Software

Bible Software such as Logos and Accordance should be cited like their print counterparts, with “Logos.” or “Accordance.” appended at the end of the citation. This is because Bible Software does not usually publish its own material, but has digitized and integrated other people’s work so that it is searchable within their own proprietary software. So when citing resources from Bible Software, cite the print counterpart and then indicate which software you used. See the eBook guidelines for examples.

Accordance has its guidance on how to use the software to generate citations It also has guidance on how to export its bibliographic information into programs such as Zotero and EndNote:

Sometimes Logos or Accordance produces its own content within the software, such as with their atlas or word-count features. In those cases where the software is not simply providing a digital copy of an independent, physical resource, cite the module in the same way one would cite a webpage from a larger website, or provide a narrative explaining the module in the footnote.


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