Chicago Style Bible

The Chicago Manual of Style has many different requirements for referencing the Bible and the books within it. In this post we will summarize how to reference the Bible and biblical texts according to Chicago Style.

Always capitalize “Bible” when referencing the religious text but do not italicize (except when used in the title of a published work). For example,

  • The Bible is the world’s best selling book.

-but-

  • This is the bible of all gardening books.

-also-

  • The book I just read, 10 Lessons to Learn from the Bible, really taught me a lot about living.

Books of the Bible

Books of the Bible are always capitalized but never italicized. When referencing a book of the Bible, the word “book” is generally lowercased. The words “gospel” and “epistle” are usually capitalized, but in a work that references these two words with some frequency, they may be treated alike, lowercased of capitalized. Some examples,

  • Exodus; the book of Exodus.
  • Isaiah; the book of Isaiah.
  • 2 Chronicles; Second Chronicles; the second book of the Chronicles.
  • Psalms (but a psalm).
  • Mark; the Gospel according to Mark.
  • 1 John: the First Epistle of John.

Names and Versions of the Bible

There are other names and version of the Bible. They are usually capitalized but not italicized. Here are some of their forms and how they should appear in Chicago Style,

  • the Apocrypha (Apoc.)
  • the American Revised Version (ARV)
  • the American Standard Version (ASV)
  • the American Translation (AT)
  • the Authorized Version or the King James Version (AV)
  • the Breeches (or Geneva) Bible
  • Codex Sinaiticus
  • Complutensian Polyglot Bible
  • the Contemporary English Version (CEV)
  • the Douay (or Rheims-Douay) Version (DV)
  • the English Version (EV)
  • the English Revised Version (ERV)
  • the Hebrew Bible (HB)
  • the Holy Bible
  • Holy Writ
  • the Jerusalem Bible (JB)
  • the Masoretic Text (MT)
  • the New American Bible (NAB)
  • the New English Bible (NEB)
  • the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)
  • the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
  • the New International Version (NIV)
  • the New Testament (NT)
  • the Old Testment (OT)
  • Peshitta
  • the Psalter (but a psalter)
  • the Revised Standard Version (RSV)
  • Revised Version (RV)
  • the Septuagint (LXX)
  • the Syriac (Syr.)
  • the Vulgate (Vulg.)
  • World English Bible (WEB)

-but-

  • scripture(s); scriptural

Sections of the Bible

There are also different sections of the Bible. These are usually capitalized but not italicized:

  • the Hebrew scriptures or the Old Testament
  • the Christian scriptures or the New Testament
  • the Apocrypha; Apocryphal
  • the Epistles; the pastoral Epistles
  • the Gospels; the synoptic Gospels
  • the Pentateuch or the Torah; Pentateuchal
  • Hagiographa or Ketuvim; hagiographic

Prayers, Creeds, etc.

Christian prayers, creeds, and terms of special importance are usually capitalized. Parables and miracles are usually lowercased. Here is how they should appear in Chicago Style,

  • the Decalogue; the Ten Commandments; the first commandment
  • Kaddish; to say Kaddish
  • the Lord’s Prayer; the Our Father
  • Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses
  • The Nicene Creed; the creed
  • Salat al-Fajr
  • the Sermon on the Mount
  • the Shema

-but-

  • the doxology
  • the parable of the prodigal son
  • the miracle of the loaves and fish
  • the star of Bethlehem

Biblical Abbreviations

The Chicago Manual of Style notes that, in running texts, the books of the Bible are generally spelled out, but in parenthetical citations or notes they can sometimes, when appropriate, be abbreviated. Here is a list of their abbreviations,

The Old Testament

  • Amos or Am Amos
  • 1 Chron. or 1 Chr 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chron. or 2 Chr 2 Chronicles
  • Dan. or Dn Daniel
  • Deut. or Dt Deuteronomy
  • Eccles. or Eccl Ecclesiastes
  • Esther or Est Esther
  • Exod. or Ex Exodus
  • Ezek. or Ez Ezekiel
  • Ezra or Ezr Ezra
  • Gen. or Gn Genesis
  • Hab. Or Hb Habakkuk
  • Hag. or Hg Haggai
  • Hosea or Hos Hosea
  • Isa. or IS Isaiah
  • Jer. or Jer Jeremiah
  • Job or Jb Job
  • Joel or Jl Joel
  • Jon. or Jon Jonah
  • Josh. or Jo Joshua
  • Judg. Or Jgs Judges
  • 1 Kings or 1 Kgs 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings or 2 Kgs 2 Kings
  • Lam. or Lam Lamentations
  • Lev. or Lv Leviticus
  • Mal. or Mal Malachi
  • Mic. or Mi Micah
  • Nah. or Na Nahum
  • Neh. or Neh Nehemiah
  • Num. or Nm Numbers
  • Obad. or Ob Obadiah
  • Prov. or Prv Proverbs
  • Ps. (pl. Pss.) or Ps (pl. Pss) Psalms
  • Ruth or Ru Ruth
  • 1 Sam. or 1 Sm 1 Samuel
  • 2 Sam. or 2 Sm 2 Samuel
  • Song of Sol. or Sg Song of Solomon (=Song of Songs)
  • Zech. or Zec Zechariah
  • Zeph. or Zep Zephaniah

The Apocrypha

The Apocrypha are books accepted by the Roman Catholic version of the Bible but not Jewish or Protestant versions. There abbreviations follow,

  • Bar. or Bar Baruch
  • Ecclus. Ecclesiasticus (=Sirach)
  • 1 Esd. 1 Esdras
  • 2 Esd. 2 Esdras
  • Jth. or Jdt Judith
  • 1 Macc. or 1 Mc 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Macc. or 2 Mc 2 Maccabees
  • Pr. of Man. Prayer of Manasses (=Manasseh)
  • Sir. or Sir Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
  • Sus. Susanna
  • Tob. or Tb Tobit
  • Ws Wisdom (=Wisdom of Solomon)
  • Wisd. of Sol. Wisdom of Solomon (=Wisdom)

The New Testament

  • Acts Acts of the Apostles
  • Apoc. Apocalypse (=Revelation)
  • Col. or Col Colossians
  • 1 Cor. or 1 Cor 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Cor. or 2 Cor 2 Corinthians
  • Eph. or Eph Ephesians
  • Gal. or Gal Galatians
  • Heb. or Heb Hebrews
  • James or Jas James
  • John or Jn John (Gospel)
  • 1 John or 1 Jn 1 John (Epistle)
  • 2 John or 2 Jn 2 John (Epistle)
  • 3 John or 3 Jn 3 John (Epistle)
  • Jude Jude
  • Luke or Lk Luke
  • Mark or Mk Mark
  • Matt. or Mt Matthew
  • 1 Pet. or 1 Pt 1 Peter
  • 2 Pet. or 2 Pt 2 Peter
  • Phil. or Phil Philippians
  • Philem. Or Phlm Philemon
  • Rev. or Rv Revelation (=Apocalypse)
  • Rom. or Rom Romans
  • 1 Thess. or 1 Thes 1 Thessalonians
  • 1 Thess or 2 Thes 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Tim. or 1 Tm 1 Timothy
  • 2 Tim. or 2 Tm 2 Timothy
  • Titus or Ti Titus

 

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