Explore the tabs below to see examples of how to reference different types of resources with SBL. If you want an overview of SBL see the Trinity Referencing Style page. If you need more detail on a particular kind of reference refer to the SBL Handbook of Style. The handbook is available in the Library reference collection or there is an electronic copy available on Moodle on the Assessment Resources page under ‘Assessment Schedule, Guides, and Policies’.
Examples for secondary sources have three entries:
- The first time you reference the work
- A subsequent reference to that work
- The work in the bibliography
There are multiple examples for some types of resources to show how extra information should be formatted.
The Bible is the basis of theological study at Trinity, so you will often refer to it in your assignments. Names of books of the Bible should be written in full in the text of the assignment. In parentheses and footnotes the following abbreviations should be used:
Gen, Exod, Lev, Num, Deut, Josh, Judg, Ruth, 1 Sam, 2 Sam, 1 Kgs, 2 Kgs, 1 Chr, 2 Chr, Ezra, Neh, Esth, Job, Ps (if referencing more than one Psalm: Pss), Prov, Eccl, Song, Isa, Jer, Lam, Ezek, Dan, Hos, Joel, Amos, Obad, Jon, Mic, Nah, Hab, Zeph, Hag, Zech, Mal
Matt, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Rom, 1 Cor, 2 Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1 Thess, 2 Thess, 1 Tim, 2 Tim, Titus, Phlm, Heb, Jas, 1 Pet, 2 Pet, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Rev
It is important to be precise in referring to specific chapters and verses. All numerical ranges, including biblical references, should by signified with an en-dash (–), as shown below:
Matthew 5:18, 20; 6:2–3
1 Corinthians 12:1–13:13
Chapter and verse are separated by a colon, distinct chapter references by a semi-colon and space, and distinct verses by a comma. There is a space between the book name and reference, but no spaces within the numerical reference. When the book or chapter is clear from the context, it may be omitted in the reference, for example:
Often the Bible references will be put in parentheses, and in this case abbreviations should be used, for example:
Biblical references in parentheses should precede any punctuation and do not count towards the word count of the assignment. If there is a long list of references, it may be best to put them in a footnote.
When referencing a primary source in a Church History (or Theology) essay, it must contain three basic elements in the following order:
- Primary source including where the citation is from in it (chapter number etc.)
- Modern book in which the primary source text is found.
For example, if I’m quoting Augustine’s On the Trinity from the third chapter (which is found in a modern book by Hill published in 2012 on page 166), my footnote would be:
Augustine, On the Trinity IV.3, Hill 2012:166.
The bibliographic reference of Hill 2012 would be:
Augustine. On the Trinity. Translated by Edmund Hill. 2nd ed. Hyde Park: New City, 2012.
You may indicate the date of the original work (as opposed to the edition you are using) by placing the date in square brackets [ ] at the end of the citation. See example 3 below.
Standard abbreviations of primary source texts
Very often there are standard primary source texts used in a particular area of scholarship. For example, the standard English translation of Martin Luther’s works is:
Luther, Martin. Luther’s Works. Edited by Jaroslav Pelikan and Lehmann Helmut. 56 vols. St Louis: Concordia, 1955-86.
Hence, to save writing out in a footnote ‘Pelikan and Lehmann 1955–86’ when citing regularly from them, standard abbreviations become used. The standard abbreviation for Luther’s English works is LW. So, if I were quoting thesis 43 from Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses (which is found in volume 31, on page 12), the footnote would look like this:
Luther, Ninety-Five Theses 43, LW 31:12.
See the Assignment Guidelines and Style Guide on the Assessment resources page on Moodle for a list of standard primary source volumes with their appropriate abbreviations.
Example 1: Primary source collection without a standard abbreviation
5 Justin, The First Apology of Justin, 22, Richardson Early Christian Fathers, 256.
Richardson, Cyril C., trans. Early Christian Fathers. Reprint edition. New York: Westminster, 1996.
Example 2: Primary source collection with a standard abbreviation
22 Tertullian, Apology, 21.10-14, NE, 160.
Stevenson, J., and W. H. C. Frend, eds. New Eusebius, A: Documents Illustrating the History of the Church to AD 337. 3rd ed. London: SPCK, 1987.
Example 3: Including the date of the original work in the citation (optional)
8 Jonathan Edwards, A Faithful Narrative, YE 4:159. 
Edwards, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Edwards. Edited by Perry Miller, John E. Smith, and Harry S. Stout. Vol. 4. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972.
Example 4: Newspaper article, unknown author
It may be easier to enter a work like this manually into the bibliography and not use Zotero. List under P alphabetically in your bibliography.
14 “Pentecost Has Come,” Apostolic Faith 1.1 (1906): 1.
“Pentecost Has Come.” The Apostolic Faith 1.1 (1906): 1.
Zotero does not format the footnotes for Church History correctly. It is simpler to just enter the footnote manually with your word processor (for Word click on References > Insert Footnote).
For the bibliography enter the book into Zotero as a book and then insert it into the bibliography by clicking the ‘Add/Edit Bibliography’ button in your word processor and selecting the book. Or you can add the bibliographic entry manually when you finish your assignment.
Example 5: Online version of the Ante-Nicene Fathers
3 Tertullian, On Repentance, IV, ANF 3
Roberts, Alexander, and James Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translation of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325. 10 vols. American ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978–1979. Cited 23 Mar 2022. Online: https://ccel.org/fathers.
If you reference multiple volumes from a multivolume work you only need one bibliography entry for all the volumes. Include which volume you are citing from in the footnote.
Example 1: Book with single author
3 Kevin J. Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical–Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 332–33.
11 Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine, 81.
Vanhoozer, Kevin J. The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical–Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005.
Long titles are shortened in subsequent footnotes. To do this add the shortened title to the ‘Short Title’ field in Zotero.
Example 2: Multivolume work – commentary set
55 John Nolland, Luke (3 vols.; Word Biblical Commentary 35; Dallas: Word, 1989–1993), 995–96.
57 Nolland, Luke, 1182–84.
Nolland, John. Luke. 3 vols. Word Biblical Commentary 35. Dallas: Word, 1989–1993.
Because Zotero cannot handle a date range, you will need to use the ‘Extra’ field when needed. A date range can be specified like this: ‘issued: 1989–1993’.
Example 3: Commentary with two authors and abbreviated series title
14 Daniel C. Fredericks and Daniel J. Estes, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs (AOTC 16; Nottingham: Apollos, 2010), 126.
16 Fredericks and Estes, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs, 150–51.
Fredericks, Daniel C., and Daniel J. Estes. Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. Apollos Old Testament Commentary 16. Nottingham: Apollos, 2010.
It is optional to abbreviate the series title in the footnote. To do this add the abbreviation to the ‘Extra’ field in Zotero like this: ‘collection-title-short: AOTC 16’.
Example 4: Translated Book
4 Shimon Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible (trans. Dorothea Shefer-Vanson; JSOTSup 70; Sheffield: Almond, 1989), 54.
12 Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art, 139–44.
Bar-Efrat, Shimon. Narrative Art in the Bible. Translated by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 70. Sheffield: Almond, 1989.
Don’t forget about translators and series titles! They need to be included in your referencing and are easy to miss.
Don’t include the editor of a series – although the JSOTSup series has an editor, they aren’t included in the bibliographic reference.
Example 5: Foreign language series title
6 Jean Noël Aletti, Justification by Faith in the Letters of Saint Paul: Keys to Interpretation (trans. Peggy Manning Meyer; AnBib 5; Roma: Gregorian & Biblical, 2015), 86.
14 Aletti, Justification by Faith, 139–44.
Aletti, Jean Noël. Justification by Faith in the Letters of Saint Paul: Keys to Interpretation. Translated by Peggy Manning Meyer. Analecta biblica 5. Roma: Gregorian & Biblical, 2015.
Series titles are capitalised, except for foreign langage ones.
Consult section 8.4 of the SBL Handbook when in doubt.
44 Todd Klutz, ed., Magic in the Biblical World: From the Rod of Aaron to the Ring of Solomon (JSNTSup 245; London: T&T Clark, 2003).
11 Klutz, Magic in the Biblical World.
Klutz, Todd, ed. Magic in the Biblical World: From the Rod of Aaron to the Ring of Solomon. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 245. London: T&T Clark, 2003.
When referencing a common dictionary or reference work entry, you should refer to the author of the individual article as well as the editor(s) of the work in the bibliography. Subsequent entries need to include only the dictionary volume and page numbers.
Example 1: Dictionary
6 P. W. Barnett, “Revolutionary Movements,” DPL, 818.
10 Barnett, DPL, 813–14.
Barnett, P. W. “Revolutionary Movements.” Pages 812–19 in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Edited by Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1993.
Use item type ‘Enclyclopedia Article’ for dictionary entries.
Add the dictionary abbreviation to the ‘Extra’ field like this: ‘container-title-short: DPL’.
Example 1: Multivolume Dictionary
6 Christopher J. H. Wright, “Sabbatical Year,” ABD, 5:860.
11 Wright, ABD, 5:859.
Wright, Christopher J. H. “Sabbatical Year.” Pages 857–61 in vol. 5 of The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David Noel Freedman. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
2 D. A. Carson, “The Tripartite Division of the Law: A Review of Philip Ross, The Finger of God,” in From Creation to New Creation: Biblical Theology and Exegesis, Essays in Honor of G. K. Beale (ed. Daniel M. Gurtner and Benjamin L. Gladd; Peabody: Hendrickson, 2013), 235.
15 Carson, “The Tripartite Division of the Law,” 226–27.
Carson, D. A. “The Tripartite Division of the Law: A Review of Philip Ross, The Finger of God.” Pages 223–36 in From Creation to New Creation: Biblical Theology and Exegesis, Essays in Honor of G. K. Beale. Edited by Daniel M. Gurtner and Benjamin L. Gladd. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2013.
Note the chapter title is not in italics. Remember a chapter title is always in “quotations” and book title in italics.
In this example the last part of the chapter title is in italics because that is a book title. You can either manually edit, or place html tags in Zotero like this: <i>The Finger of God</i>.
6 Stephen L. Cook, “Burgeoning Holiness: Fecundity Let Loose in Ezekiel 34–36,” in Ezekiel: Current Debates and Future Directions (ed. William A. Tooman and Penelope Barter; FAT 112; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017), 347.
15 Cook, “Burgeoning Holiness,” 350–53.
Cook, Stephen L. “Burgeoning Holiness: Fecundity Let Loose in Ezekiel 34–36.” Pages 345–59 in Ezekiel: Current Debates and Future Directions. Edited by William A. Tooman and Penelope Barter. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 112. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.
Footnotes for Lexicons do not need publication details included. This is because they are so well known most people know what you are referencing. The easiest way to do this is enter the footnote manually with your word processor (for Word click on References > Insert Footnote).
For the bibliography enter the Lexicon into Zotero as a book and then insert it into the bibliography by clicking the ‘Add/Edit Bibliography’ button in your word processor and selecting the Lexicon.
Alternatively, you can use the Item Type ‘Dictionary Entry’ if you want Zotero to manage a particular lexical entry. To input an abbreviation for a lexicon, use the ‘Extra’ field with a format like this: ‘container-title-short: HALOT’.
If you need help working out the abbreviation for the Lexicon title, look up the title in section 8.4 of the SBL Handbook. There is a list of abbreviations for journals, periodicals, major reference works and series.
19 “ἄγνοια, ας, ἡ,” BDAG, 13.
Bauer, Walter, Frederick W. Danker, William Arndt, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
23 “תִּפְאֶרֶת,” HALOT, 1772.
24 “תִּפְאֶרֶת,” DCH, 8:662–64.
Clines, David J. A., ed. The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. 9 vols. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993–2016.
Koehler, Ludwig, Walter Baumgartner, and Johann J. Stamm. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament: Study Edition. 2 vols. Leiden: Brill, 2001.
Because the short name ‘BDAG’ isn’t an abbreviated title, it isn’t italicised.
Add the short name to the ‘Extra’ field with html italics code like this (which in this case will remove it 😀): ‘container-title-short: <i>BDAG</i>’.
Many journal articles include a permanent digital link, known as a Direct Object Identifier (doi). If one is given in the article, it should be included after the page number.
Just include the volume and year for the journal. It is not necessary to include the issue number unless the journal volume is not paginated consecutively.
You may choose whether to abbreviate the titles of journals in footnotes using the ‘Journal Abbr’ field, as long as you are consistent; these titles should be written out in full in the bibliography. At all times make sure the ‘Use MEDLINE journal abbreviations’ checkbox in ‘Document Preferences’ of the Zotero add-in is UNCHECKED.
There is a list of abbreviations for journals, periodicals, major reference works and series in section 8.4 of the SBL Handbook.
2 Christopher Craig Brittain, “Can a Theology Student Be an Evil Genius? On the Concept of Habitus in Theological Education,” SJT 60 (2007): 430, doi: 10.1017/S0036930607003730.
10 Brittain, “Can a Theology Student Be an Evil Genius?” 433–34.
Brittain, Christopher Craig. “Can a Theology Student Be an Evil Genius? On the Concept of Habitus in Theological Education.” Scottish Journal of Theology 60 (2007): 426–40. doi: 10.1017/S0036930607003730.
Zotero will not output a doi, this will need to be added manually to your footnote and bibliography entry.
1 Sean Christensen, “The Pursuit of Self-Control: Titus 2:1–14 and Accommodation to Christ,” JSPL 6 (2016): 166.
3 Christensen, “The Pursuit of Self-Control,” 172–73.
Christensen, Sean. “The Pursuit of Self-Control: Titus 2:1–14 and Accommodation to Christ.” Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters 6 (2016): 161–80.
Note the article title is not in italics. Remember an article title is always in “quotations” and journal title in italics.
The main difference with referencing an eBook is the page reference format. There is no need to include a URL unless that is the best location reference. Below are some options for working out the page number of an eBook; these are listed in preference:
- Page number corresponding to the print copy
- If there is a PDF version of the book, this should include the print page numbers
- Look at the print book
- Look up the reference through google books to get the page number
- The location reference (for a kindle book)
- The chapter number/section name
- The URL if that helps define the location
Our two most common eBook platforms are ProQuest and EBSCO. Below are some tips on referencing ProQuest and EBSCO eBooks if there is no PDF or you cannot work out the page number for the print copy.
Example 1: ProQuest eBook – with no PDF
For ProQuest eBooks you will find the page number in the top righthand corner of the online viewer.
3 Joseph Early Jr., A History of Christianity: An Introductory Survey (Nashville: B&H, 2015), loc. 37.
11 Early, A History of Christianity, loc. 39.
Early, Joseph, Jr. A History of Christianity: An Introductory Survey. Nashville: B&H, 2015. Online: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ttc.idm.oclc.org/lib/ttcwa/reader.action?docID=1935577&ppg=37.
When you enter the page number change ‘Page’ to ‘Location’.
Add the URL manually to the Bibliography entry when you have unlinked Zotero and are checking references.
Example 2: EBSCO eBook – only EPUB no PDF
For EBSCO eBooks use the Permalink to work out the location, it is the last number of the url. Then include the URL in the footnote because there is no way to input the location into the online viewer. This will help faculty follow up a reference if they need to. There is no need to include a URL in the bibliography.
12 Graham A. Cole, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), locs. 59–61, Online: https://search-ebscohost-com.ttc.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1140652&site=ehost-live&scope=site&ebv=EK&ppid=Page-__-59.
15 Cole, He Who Gives Life, loc. 71, Online: https://search-ebscohost-com.ttc.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1140652&site=ehost-live&scope=site&ebv=EK&ppid=Page-__-71.
Cole, Graham A. He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Wheaton: Crossway, 2007.
When you add a footnote use the ‘Suffix’ field to add the URL.
When you reference a website you need to include the date the page was last updated or published, the date you looked at it and the url. Insert n.p. for the page number, this stands for no pages.
1 Chris Fresch, “Paul the Paraphraser or Paul the Septuagint-Quoter?” Koine Greek, 9 Dec 2018 (cited 12 Dec 2018), n.p. Online: https://koine-greek.com/2018/12/09/2013-11-17-paul-the-paraphraser-or-paul-the-septuagint-quoter/.
3 Fresch, “Paul the Paraphraser or Paul the Septuagint-Quoter?” n.p.
Fresch, Chris. “Paul the Paraphraser or Paul the Septuagint-Quoter?” Koine Greek, 9 Dec 2018. Cited 12 Dec 2018. No pages. Online: https://koine-greek.com/2018/12/09/2013-11-17-paul-the-paraphraser-or-paul-the-septuagint-quoter/.
Zotero will not output the dates or url correctly, you will need to manually edit these to correct them.
5 Chara Scroope, “Japanese Culture – Core Concepts” Cultural Atlas, 2021 (cited 3 Aug 2023), n.p. Online: https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/japanese-culture/japanese-culture-core-concepts.
10 Scroope, “Japanese Culture – Core Concepts” n.p.
Scroope, Chara. “Japanese Culture – Core Concepts” Cultural Atlas, 2021. Cited 3 Aug 2023. No pages. Online: https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/japanese-culture/japanese-culture-core-concepts.
11 Frank A. James, “De Iustificatione: The Evolution of Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Doctrine of Justification” (PhD diss., Westminster Theological Seminary, 2000), 44.
15 James, “De Iustificatione,” 55–56.
James, Frank A. “De Iustificatione: The Evolution of Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Doctrine of Justification.” PhD diss., Westminster Theological Seminary, 2000.
Use the Thesis Item Type when entering the details into Zotero.
The title of an unpublished work goes in “quotation marks”.
It is not in italics like a book or journal title, unless particular words in the title are themselves italicised (as in the example).