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SBL Style Guide

Biblical References

Even though SBL is a footnote style, you should prefer in-text references to biblical passages, unless you're referring to more than three biblical texts in the same parenthesis. After a quotation, paraphrase, summary, or allusion to a biblical passage, you should place the passage in parentheses using the standard abbreviation for the biblical book, chapter, and verse. Multiple references in the same parenthesis should be separated as in this example: (Eph 1:1, 12; Deut 21:23; Rom 8:1-4; 12:10). Below is longer example of how it might look in the text of a research paper. The relevant references are placed in bold only for emphasis in the example.


When Paul states that "the righteous will live by faith" (Gal 3:11), he is quoting Hab 2:4: "But the righteous person will live by his faithfulness" (NIV). Notice how Paul drops the pronoun "his." To make things more complicated, in the Septuagint (the Greek OT) the pronoun seems to have been changed from "his" to "my" (Hab 2:4 NETS). It's hard to tell if Paul relied on the Septuagint or the Hebrew text as represented in the NIV for his quotation. Perhaps looking at Paul's quotations of other OT texts in this same passage could help (viz., Lev 18:5; Deut 21:23; 27:26).