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SBL Handbook of Style

A guide to using the SBL Handbook of Style.

SBL Formatting Specifications

SBL provides specific formatting instructions for papers, footnotes, and bibliographies.  This page provides further information on SBL's formatting instructions with specialized information for Lincoln Christian University students.

General Paper Formatting

Margins and Font:

  • All pages must have one inch margins on all four sides.
  • Use one readable font, typically Times New Roman, throughout the paper.  Lincoln Christian University recommends using twelve-point font for the text and ten-point font for footnotes and figure captions.

Spacing and Indentation:

  • Double-space all text except for block quotations and tables. 
  • Table of contents, footnotes, and bibliography entries should be single-spaced with a blank line between items.
  • Indent all paragraphs one tab which SBL indicates should be one-half inch.
  • Use only one space at the end of a sentence.


In most papers, number each page of the document except for the title page, table of contents, and other front matter using Arabic numerals according to the following specifications. 

  • The first page should have the page number at bottom center. All following pages should have the page number in the top right corner.
  • When writing a thesis, the first page of each chapter will have the page number at bottom center with subsequent page numbers in the top right corner. 
  • The first page of a bibliography, appendix, or any other back matter will have the page number in the bottom center. Each following page will have the number in the top right corner. 

Number the front matter using Roman numerals.

  • Do not place a number on the title page.
  • Use the Roman number "ii" for the following page with the number in the top right corner.

Name & Title Pages

Short Papers or Class Assignments:

A paper of 5 pages or less is considered a short paper and does not need a separate title page.

  • A single-spaced heading at the top left of the page should include the author's name, course title, and date.
  • A blank line should separate the heading from title which should be centered.

Long or Major Papers:

A paper over 5 pages is considered a long or major paper.  A long paper must have a separate title page.

  • All of the title page must be centered and capitalized.
  • There should be two inches between each element of the title page.
  • NAME OF INSTITUTION should appear two inches from the top of the page.
  • If the paper has a title and subtitle, place the title on one line and the subtitle on a second line with a double-space between.
  • Two inches below place the following information with each item on a separate line: SUBMITTED TO (Professor name). IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF, (COURSE NUMBER AND TITLE). 
  • Two inches below include the following information with each item on a separate line: BY, (YOUR NAME), ()MONTH, DAY, YEAR.
  • Include a 2-inch bottom margin.
  • The course instructor is always the final say on items to include in a title page.