You’re writing a Bible commentary for publication, and you need some help designing a bibliography for it. After all, you have a whole book to organize and write about, so it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. Luckily, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll discuss what is commonly known as a citation line in Bible commentary writing and how to properly use it.
What is a Citation Line?
Put simply, a citation line is a line of quotation you’ve directly taken from the text that you’re commenting on. For example, in Mark 4:34, which reads “And he said [to the disciples], ‘Let’s go to Jerusalem and see the things that are written about in the Book of Genesis,'” you would write:
“And he said [to the disciples], ‘Let’s go to Jerusalem and see the things that are written about in the Book of Genesis.’ (Mark 4:34).”
In this case, you’ve directly quoted Jesus and it’s been attributed to him. If you were to leave off the quotation marks, it would read:
“And he said let’s go to Jerusalem and see the things that are written about in the Book of Genesis.”
This would imply that the comment is coming from someone other than Jesus. Though you’ve quoted Jesus in your own commentary, you’re still attributing his quote to someone else. In other words, you’ve done it in an indirect way. This is how you cite a Bible verse in a citation line.
How Many Citing Lines Should I Include In My Commentary?
This is a common question among authors who are just starting out. Especially if you’re writing a multi-author commentary, it’s essential to know how many citing lines to include. There’s no definite rule, but it’s generally accepted that you should include no more than four or five. Why?
A citing line is only as good as the passage it’s directly drawn from. Therefore, the more you have, the better. You should include no more than four or five because if you have more than that, it becomes difficult to track where the quotation actually came from. For example, say you’re writing about Mark 4:34 and you include the complete passage. Now you have to go back and include every instance of “and he said” in your commentary. This can get tedious, especially if you have a lot of material to cover. In this case, you might consider removing some of the extra information and including only four or five lines, giving the reader a better sense of what the passage was actually about. This is why it’s best not to have an excess of citing lines. Also, try to avoid putting a lot of quotations in one single passage. Quoting is important, but it should be done selectively. So, as we mentioned above, the best practice is to have no more than four or five citing lines per page.
When you have a lot of material to cover in a particular topic area, it’s advisable to write a summary of the most important points at the end of each chapter. This way, you won’t have to constantly refer back to the original text for clarification. Remember, your audience has other things to do besides listening to you pontificate on the scriptures. So it’s best to keep things simple and to the point. In this manner, you’ll keep the reader’s attention and enhance the overall readability of your work. These are some general guidelines that will help you write the best possible Bible commentary.