How to Master SBL Style in 7 Simple Steps

Besides what it shares with general Chicago style, many details of SBL style pertain specifically to biblical studies. So learning SBL style can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be.

Use this checklist to ensure you end up following the right advice about SBL style for your context.

The 7 Steps

  1. If you have to follow a “house style” in addition to the SBL Handbook of Style (e.g., from a professor, school, or publisher), follow any relevant advice your house style has. If not, skip to the next step.
  2. If you’re a student, follow the guidance of the Student Supplement to the SBL Handbook of Style, as far as it goes. If not, skip to the next step.
  3. Check the SBL Handbook of Style blog for any updates, corrections, or additional relevant advice.
  4. Consult the SBL Handbook of Style itself.
  5. If the SBL Handbook of Style asks for an abbreviation of a series or journal title:
    1. Look for the appropriate abbreviation in the SBL Handbook of Style.
    2. If you don’t find it there, look it up in Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete.
    3. If you find an abbreviation in Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete, double check it isn’t already assigned to a different source in the SBL Handbook of Style.
    4. If you don’t find an abbreviation in Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete, you can make one if you have a place to define your own abbreviations (e.g., an abbreviations list in the front matter to a dissertation or monograph). If you don’t have a place to define your own abbreviations, leave the title unabbreviated.
  6. Spell words properly.
    1. For names, use the SBL Handbook of Style’s specified authorities (§§3.4.1–3.4.4, 4.3.3.4).
    2. For words other than proper nouns, use follow Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
  7. If you still aren’t sure how to do something, consult current Chicago style.
    1. If you’re a student, look first at Turabian’s Manual for Writers. If you don’t find what you need there, follow the advice in the full Chicago Manual of Style.
    2. If you’re not a student, follow the advice in the full Chicago Manual of Style.

Conclusion

Understanding what SBL style requires in a given situation takes some practice. But with these 7 steps, you’ll know exactly where to look so you won’t miss anything and can begin mastering SBL style.

What is your biggest struggle with learning and using SBL style?

To go deeper, check out my new e-book. It’s free, and I wrote it specifically to help you save time and effort in uncovering some of these more hidden features of SBL style and (re)editing your work.


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Daily Gleanings: Pistis (6 September 2019)

Just out from Baylor University Press is David Downs and Benjamin Lappenga’s Faithfulness of the Risen Christ. According to the publisher, the volume contributes to the ongoing discussion of the pistis Christou and related phrases by

focus[sing] upon the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus …. They claim that when Paul writes of Christ’s pistis, he refers to the faithfulness of the risen and exalted Christ. Downs and Lappenga carefully survey Paul’s use of pistis in Philippians, the Corinthian letters, Galatians, Romans, and Ephesians, revealing how pistis epitomizes the risen Christ’s continuing faithfulness toward all those who participate in him by pistis. Downs and Lappenga effectively reframe any future consideration of the pistis Christou construction for both New Testament scholars and theologians by showing that the story of Jesus in the letters of Paul extends to the faithfulness of the exalted Christ Jesus, who will remain faithful to those justified through union with Christ.

Daily Gleanings: Weekly Reviews (5 September 2019)

Todoist discusses the importance of having a weekly review and gives some helpful thoughts about what that process might entail. The essay comments, in part,

Moving from task to task each day leaves little room to be strategic about the big picture of our lives. Jam-packed days turn into hectic weeks. Busy months become a whirlwind year.

That’s where the weekly review comes in.

A weekly review is an opportunity to direct your life with intention. It’s dedicated time to think about the past week, reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and plan for the week ahead. It’s a chance to get aligned with your goals and ensure that the work you’re doing on a daily basis is helping you reach them. It avoids you ever having to ask, “What was I doing all this time?”

For the full essay, please see Todoist’s original post.

Daily Gleanings: Septuagint (4 September 2019)

Kreuzner, ed., “Introduction to the Septuagint” coverDue out this October from Baylor University Press is Siegfried Kreuzer’s edited Introduction to the Septuagint. The volume weighs in at a hefty 728 pages. According to the publisher,

Siegfried Kreuzer’s Introduction to the Septuagint presents, in English, the most extensive introduction of the Septuagint to date. It offers comprehensive overviews of the individual biblical writings, including the history of research, current findings and problems, and perspectives for future research. Additionally, this survey presents a history of the Septuagint in its Greco-Hellenistic background, theories of its genesis, the history of its revisions, its lore in antiquity, and an overview of the most important manuscripts and witnesses of the convoluted transmission history of the text. The text includes extensive bibliographies that show the ongoing interest in Septuagint studies and provide a reliable basis for future studies.

Most of the volume proceeds book-by-book, including the apocryphal texts commonly included with Septuagint editions. Other chapters include two discussing the origins, transmission, and textual witnesses for the Septuagint and two discussing the significance of the Septuagint for understanding early Christianity.

Daily Gleanings: Faith-Allegiance (3 September 2019)

This month with Brazos, Matthew Bates is following up on the trajectory he has previously set out with Gospel Allegiance. According to the publisher,

Popular pastoral resources on the gospel are causing widespread confusion. Bates shows that the biblical gospel is different, fuller, and more beautiful than we have been led to believe. He explains that saving faith doesn’t come through trust in Jesus’s death on the cross alone but through allegiance to Christ the king. There is only one true gospel and one required response: allegiance.

Bates ignited conversation with his successful and influential book Salvation by Allegiance Alone. Here he goes deeper while making his acclaimed teaching on salvation more accessible and experiential for believers who want to better understand and share the gospel. Gospel Allegiance includes a guide for further conversation, making it ideal for church groups, pastors, leaders, and students.

Daily Gleanings: Scheduling Change (2 September 2019)

For the past several months, I’ve been using the “Daily Gleanings” posts to deliver ten shorter notes per week—two per weekday—about things I’ve found helpful and think you will too.

Pretty consistently of late, however, I’ve sometimes had difficulty finding ten items each week that I really felt added value like I wanted them to. I’m not sure the precise reason for this. But rather than posting this way simply to maintain a schedule, I want to focus this series on what you may find most valuable, recognizing that not everything will add the same value for everyone. Biblical studies is a broad field.

Given all of this, starting today, I’m planning a one-month test for releasing one daily gleanings note per weekday, or five per week. That way, the series can continue consistently, but I can also be a bit more choosey about what makes it in. At the end of the month, I’ll see how your response was and decide whether this should be a more permanent scheduling change.

Of course, both now and later, feedback is always welcome. So I’d encourage you to leave a comment with your input.