For referencing of biblical texts the University of Divinity observes the latest edition of The SBL Handbook of Style available online via the UD Library Hub.
The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) has a student supplement of the handbook in pdf format available for free download: https://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/pubs/SBLHSsupp2015-02.pdf.
Referencing biblical text
Short biblical references are given in parentheses in the text, using an abbreviated title. Semi-colons separate each biblical reference where multiple references are used. If the translation needs specifying, it is noted in abbreviated form after the verse number. If the same translation is used throughout, mention it in the first note only. Biblical languages may be quoted in the original characters or in transliteration (see The SBL Handbook of Style for guidance). Do not begin a sentence with a numeral, e.g. 1 Corinthians. Find another way to express the thought, or use the term First Corinthians instead, so that the 1 in 1 Corinthians is not at the beginning of the sentence.
Where the biblical book is mentioned as part of a sentence use the book’s title.
For example: Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan at Luke 10:25–37 speaks of the neighbourliness required of Jesus’ followers.
Where the biblical book is mentioned in parentheses use the book’s abbreviation.
For example: Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25–37) speaks of the neighbourliness required of Jesus’ followers.
Rule for notes in text
(Abbreviated book title Chapter:Verses in sequence separated by an en dash Translation if required)
Example of note entry in text
(Gal 5:22–23a, 25; Jer 17:7–8 NRSV)
Bibles are not usually listed in the bibliography (except in particular types of essays, for example, a historical or missional theology study of the publication of particular Bible editions and translations).
For a range of verses use an en dash with no spaces either side of the dash. Do not use ff.
For example: Luke 10:38–42; 15:3–10 or Lk 1:5–25, 57–66.
For non-consecutive verses use a comma to separate.
For example: Galatians 5:13, 26.
For a range of chapters use an en dash with no spaces either side of the dash.
For example: Luke 16–19.
Commonly used abbreviations SBL 8.3
ch. / chs.
chapter / chapters
New International Version
v. / vv.
verse / verses
New Jerusalem Bible
New Revised Standard Version
Revised Standard Version
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament abbreviations SBL 8.3
1–2 Kings (LXX)
3–4 Kings (LXX)
Eccl (or Qoh)
Ecclesiastes (or Qoheleth)
Song (or Cant)
Song of Songs, Song of Solomon, or Canticles
New Testament abbreviations
Epistle of Jeremiah
Additions to Daniel
Prayer of Azariah
Bel and the Dragon
Song of the Three Young Men
Prayer of Manasseh
Additions to Esther