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SBL Style Guide

Biblical Books & Versions

While the books contained in the New Testament (NT) do not differ amongst all three Christian traditions (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant), the same is not the case with the Old Testament (OT) books. All three Christian traditions include or exclude certain ancient works in their respective OT canons.

A full list of abbreviations for versions and biblical texts can be found in §8.2 - §8.3.3 (pages 121-125) of SBLHS.

English Versions of the Bible

There are dozens of English translations or versions of the bible available today. The list below represents the most widely used modern English versions and their common abbreviations.

English Version   Abbreviation
American Standard Version   ASV
Englsih Standard Version   ESV
Holman Christian Standard Bible   HCSB
Jerusalem Bible   JB
King James Version   KJV
New American Bible, Revised Edition   NABR
New American Standard Bible   NASB
New English Translation   NET
New English Translation of the Septuagint   NETS
New International Version   NIV
New Jerusalem Bible   NJB
New King James Version   NKJV
New Living Translation   NLT
New Revised Standard Version   NRSV
Revised English Bible   REB
Revised Standard Version   RSV

Biblical & Apocryphal Books

The Protestant OT canon has the same books as the Hebrew Bible (HB), but their arrangement differs. In Protestant English bibles, the OT books are arranged mostly by genre: Pentatuach, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, and Prophetic Books. In the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh) the books are arranged in three groups: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

The Hebrew Bible has different names for Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. Additionally, the Greek version of the OT (called the Septuagint and abbreviated as LXX) has different names for 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings.

Title Abbreviation   Title Abbreviation
Genesis Gen   Song of Songs Song
Exodus Exod   Canticles Cant
Leviticus Lev   Isaiah Isa
Numbers Num   Jeremiah Jer
Deuteronomy Deut   Lamentations Lam
Joshua Josh   Ezekiel Ezek
Judges  Judg   Daniel Dan
Ruth Ruth   Hosea Hos
1-2 Samuel 1-2 Sam   Joel Joel
1-2 Kingdoms 1-2 Kgdms   Amos Amos
1-2 Kings 1-2 Kgs   Obadiah Obad
3-4 Kingdoms 3-4 Kgdms   Jonah Jonah
1-2 Chronicles 1-2 Chr   Micah Mic
Ezra Ezra   Nahum Nah
Nehemiah Neh   Habakkuk Hab
Esther Esth   Zephaniah Zeph
Job Job   Haggai Hag
Psalm(s) Ps(s)   Zechariah Zech
Proverbs Prov   Malachi Mal
Ecclesiastes Eccl      
Qoheleth Qoh      

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition and Roman Catholicism, the OT has a number of additional books and additions not found in the Protestant OT or Hebrew Bible. These books were written in the Second Temple Period. Protestants refer to these books as the Apocrypha and Roman Catholics call them Deuterocanonical. Eastern Orthodoxy has a few more books in addition to the Roman Catholic Deuterocanonical works. All these books, however, were arguably not included in the Hebrew Bible of the Jewish people at the time of Christ, which is why Protestants do not recognize them as Scripture.

Eastern Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism
Tobit Tob  
Judith Jdt   1 Esdras  1 Esd
Additions to Esther Add Esth   Prayer of Manasseh Pr Man
Wisdom of Solomon Wis   Psalm 151 Ps 151
Sirach/Ecclesiasticus Sir   3 Maccabees 3 Macc
Baruch Bar   2 Esdras 2 Esd
Epistle of Jeremiah Ep Jer   4 Maccabees 4 Macc
Additions to Daniel Add Dan      
Prayer of Azariah Pr Azar      
Song of the Three Young Men Sg Three      
Susanna Sus      
Bel and the Dragon Bel      
1-2 Maccabees 1-2 Macc      

The NT canon is traditionally organized in four sections: (1) the Gospels & Acts, (2) the Pauline Epistles, (3) the Catholic or General Epistles, and (4) Revelation.

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