Citing Reference Works 3: Dictionaries (Word)

Titling this post is difficult, since there is no unambiguous term for a reference work that offers prose discussions of a word or group of related words. This blog series uses the term lexicon to refer to a dictionary-type work that presents, generally in list form, a simple definition of the term, grammatical notes, and, perhaps, the sources from which the meaning of the term is derived. The term dictionary as used here signals that the work is arranged like a lexicon (by word) but offers additional types of information (e.g., the theological significance of a term) in a different format (prose discussion, not a list).

Of course, biblical studies has a fair number of dictionaries that are not lexical in nature (e.g., ABD, NIDB); those will be discussed in a subsequent post. The subject of this post is strictly lexically arranged reference works that provide prose discussions of specific words or groups of words (e.g., TDOT, TLOT, EDNT). As with the post on lexica (here), we begin with principles for referencing these works in a traditional (footnote; not author-date) citation system, then offer examples of those principles for the most widely used dictionaries; abbreviations for all the works relevant to the post appear at the end.


1. Citations of these dictionaries should be placed within footnotes, not embedded within the main text.

2. Articles in these dictionaries are usually signed, but there are exceptions (e.g., EDNT). The citation of a signed article should include the following elements: article author, article title, abbreviation of reference work, and volume and/or page(s):

23. Oswald Becker, “ἀρραβών,” NIDNTT 2:39.


17. Gerhard Delling, “μάγος,” TDNT 4:357.

Note that the second example above lists a specific page within an article whose entire range is 356–59. Readers are best served when an author points to the specific page(s) in view.

All signed articles should be included in a bibliography, which is the proper place to give the entire page range:

Becker, Oswald. “ἀρραβών.” NIDNTT 2:39–40.


Delling, Gerhard. “μάγος.” TDNT 4:356–59.

3. Articles sometimes cover multiple words. For example, one TDNT entry covers the Greek words μάγος, μαγεία, and μαγεύω; similarly, one NIDNTT entry discusses several Greek words under the heading “Gift, Pledge, Corban.” The inclusion of multiple words within a single entry raises several considerations: whether one wishes to cite the entire multiple-word entry or only a section of it; how to title a citation of the multiple-word entry; and whether the entire entry was written by one individual or by two or more.

3.1. The second example provided in number 2 above (Delling) shows the preferred way to cite a part of a multiple-word entry: list only the word being referenced, and include only that page range in a bibliographical entry.

3.2. When citing an entire multiple-word entry authored by one individual, one should consider abbreviating the multiple-word entry title. Not all titles should be shortened (see the examples section below), but many may be abbreviated as follows:

17. Gerhard Delling, “μάγος κτλ,” TDNT 4:356–59.

Delling, Gerhard. “μάγος κτλ.” TDNT 4:356–59.

In this case the entire page range is provided in the note because the entire μάγος-μαγεία-μαγεύω entry is being cited; if one wishes to cite only one portion of the entry, follow the guidelines in number 2 above. Note especially the use of the abbreviation or acronym κτλ, which stands for καὶ τὰ λοιπά, “and the rest” (etc.). This abbreviation is frequently used with TDNT and other Greek dictionaries with multiple-word entries. It is generally not used with English-language entry titles.

3.3. Citing a multiple-word entry authored by several individuals introduces an additional complication. As before, if one wishes to cite only a portion of a multiple-word entry and that portion was authored by one individual, follow the guidelines provided in number 2 above. If, however, one wishes to cite the entire multiple-word, multiauthored entry, follow the pattern of the example below (compare with number 2 above):

45. Oswald Becker, Herwart Vorländer, and Colin Brown, “Gift, Pledge, Corban,” NIDNTT 2:39–44.

Becker, Oswald, Herwart Vorländer, and Colin Brown. “Gift, Pledge, Corban.” NIDNTT 2:39–44.

In this case the full English section title is included.

A citation of a multiple-word, multiauthored entry in TDNT provides another example:

32. Volkmar Herntrich and Gottlob Schrenk, “λεῖμμα κτλ,” TDNT 4:194–214.

Herntrich, Volkmar, and Gottlob Schrenk. “λεῖμμα κτλ.” TDNT 4:194–214.

The order in which to list the author names is not always clear; in the example above, for example, Schrenk wrote the first part of the entry, Herntrich the large middle portion, and Schrenk the last part. SBL Press defaults to the order in which the names are listed in the table of contents.

4. As evident in all the examples thus far provided, SBL Press prefers lowercasing words displayed in non-Latin alphabets even when style would otherwise specify capitalization (“μάγος,” not “Μάγος”).

5. Some dictionary entries offer additional information after a headword. For example, the TLOT entry for לבשׁ is followed by a transliteration (lbš) and a gloss (to clothe oneself). Neither of those elements is included in a citation of the entry:

41. Ernst Jenni, “לבשׁ,” TLOT 2:642–44.

Jenni, Ernst. “לבשׁ.” TLOT 2:642–44.

However, whenever additional information is necessary for identifying the correct entry (e.g., Hebrew homonyms), it should be included as part of the title:

21. Robert Martin-Achard, “ענה II,” TLOT 2:931–37.

Martin-Achard, Robert. “ענה II.” TLOT 2:931–37.

6. When referring to a specific section within a dictionary article, use the page number(s) rather than the labels for the article’s sections (e.g., the μάννα citation below is section 3 of the entry):

36. Rudolf Meyer, “μάννα,” TDNT 4:463–65.

Meyer, Rudolf. “μάννα.” TDNT 4:462–66.

7. Subsequent citations of a dictionary entry should be treated like any other article or essay: include the author last name, title, and location.

38. Meyer, “μάννα,” 4:464.

This guideline departs from SLBHS 6.3.7, which allows subsequent references to “include only the dictionary volume and page numbers.” For consistency, SBL Press now prefers subsequent citations to follow the style of all other articles and essays by identifying the article by title.

8. All the preceding guidelines relate to signed articles in dictionaries. However, at least one of the works in the group (EDNT) also includes unsigned entries. When referencing an unsigned entry in EDNT and similar works, follow the guidelines for citing entries in lexica in the earlier post here.

51. EDNT, s.v. “Ἅγαβος.”

In this case the word being referenced is a personal name and is therefore capitalized, following the EDNT entry.

9. Although dictionary articles are included in a bibliography, the dictionaries themselves are not. Full references should be provided only in an abbreviations list.

The examples below apply the principles above to the most commonly cited dictionaries in the field. Readers with questions about dictionaries not represented are encouraged to email us at


EDNT: This work contains both signed articles and unsigned entries. The former should be cited in full according to the guidelines provided in numbers 1–7 above; the latter are best treated as entries in lexica (see here). A citation title should not include case endings, definite articles, and the like when they are listed with the headword.

42. Michael Lattke, “κακία,” EDNT 2:237.

Lattke, Michael. “κακία.” EDNT 2:237.

NIDNTT: This work includes broader articles arranged under English headings, each of which includes articles on the relevant Greek terms. For example, the article “Gift, Pledge, Corban” covers the Greek words ἀρραβών, δῶρον, and κορβᾶν. Most citations of this work will be to one of the Greek lexical entries (first set of examples below), although references to the broader article (second set of examples) are also possible.

26. Herwart Vorländer, “δῶρον,” NIDNTT 2:42.

Vorländer, Herwart. “δῶρον.” NIDNTT 2:40–43.


45. Oswald Becker, Herwart Vorländer, and Colin Brown, “Gift, Pledge, Corban,” NIDNTT 2:39–44.

Becker, Oswald, Herwart Vorländer, and Colin Brown. “Gift, Pledge, Corban.” NIDNTT 2:39–44.

NIDNTTE: This revision of NIDNTT differs from its predecessor in several significant ways: the arrangement scheme has been thoroughly revised, with articles on Greek words arranged alphabetically (not grouped into English categories); more important, the revision has been so extensive that the names of the original contributors have been removed from the articles. Consequently, we prefer to list revising editor Moisés Silva as the author of all the Greek articles. The numeric label, transliteration, gloss, and related terms listed after the headword should be omitted from citations.

65. Moisés Silva, “ἀρχή,” NIDNTTE 1:413.

Silva, Moisés. “ἀρχή.” NIDNTTE 1:412–18.

NIDOTTE: Although designed as a companion to NIDNTT, this work diverges in several important respects: lexical entries are arranged in Hebrew word order, not English word order; and a topical dictionary of nearly a thousand pages follows the Hebrew entries (4:346–1322). The examples provided below are for the Hebrew entries; citations of the topical dictionary will be discussed in a subsequent post.

Each headword is bounded by a lined box that contains the Hebrew word and a number (its entry number in Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III’s Exhaustive Concordance of the NIV); only the Hebrew word should be included in a citation. When two words are listed within the lined box, include both in the citation.

57. Judith M. Hadley, “אֱלִיל,” NIDOTTE 1:411.

Hadley, Judith M. “אֱלִיל.” NIDOTTE 1:411.


58. Gordon H. Johnston, “בטה/בטא,” NIDOTTE 1:643.

Johnston, Gordon H. “בטה/בטא.” NIDOTTE 1:642–44.

TDNT: Although many articles in TDNT cover a single Greek word, a significant number discuss multiple Greek words, sometimes written by one author, sometimes by multiple authors. Example 1 below shows how to cite an entry for a single Greek word. Examples 2 and 3 demonstrate how to cite a portion or all of a multiple-word entry with a single author. Example 4 shows how to cite a multiple-word entry with multiple authors.

36. Christian Maurer, “σκεῦος,” TDNT 7:361.

Maurer, Christian. “σκεῦος.” TDNT 7:358–67.


17. Gerhard Delling, “μάγος,” TDNT 4:357.

Delling, Gerhard. “μάγος.” TDNT 4:356–59.


17. Gerhard Delling, “μάγος κτλ,” TDNT 4:356–59.

Delling, Gerhard. “μάγος κτλ.” TDNT 4:356–59.


32. Volkmar Herntrich and Gottlob Schrenk, “λεῖμμα κτλ,” TDNT 4:194–214.

Herntrich, Volkmar, and Gottlob Schrenk. “λεῖμμα κτλ.” TDNT 4:194–214.

TDOT: The Hebrew counterpart to TDNT, this work generally covers only one Hebrew word in each entry. When other words (related forms) are listed alongside the headword, cite only the first one (consult the table of contents listing as needed). The transliteration given after the Hebrew word (e.g., דָּבַר dābhar) should be omitted from the article title. Finally, some entries have multiple authors, all of whom should be listed in any citation of the article (example 2 below).

44. Helmer Ringgren, “זָנַח,” TDOT 4:105.

Ringgren, Helmer. “זָנַח.” TDOT 4:105–6.


87. Vinzenz Hamp and G. Johannes Botterweck, “דִּין,” TDOT 3:191–94.

Hamp, Vinzenz, and G. Johannes Botterweck. “דִּין.” TDOT 3:187–94.

TLNT: What distinguishes this multivolume dictionary from all others in this section is that it is the work of a single author. Other aspects of TLNT are similar to works already covered. For example, some entries cover a single Greek word; some encompass two or more related forms (as with example 2 below, which lists ἱκανός, ἱκανότης, ἱκανόω as the entry). In addition, the headword is followed by a transliteration and a gloss, both of which may be omitted from the citation.

15. Ceslas Spicq, “ἀπέχω,” TLNT 1:164.

Spicq, Ceslas. “ἀπέχω.” TLNT 1:162–68.


4. Ceslas Spicq, “ἱκανός,” TLNT 2:221.

Spicq, Ceslas. “ἱκανός.” TLNT 2:217–22.

TLOT: A companion to TLNT, this edited work arranges articles in Hebrew word order. Most articles are authored by only one scholar (example 1 below), although two authors collaborate on a few articles (example 2). As is evident in the tables of words (1:il–lii, 2:vii–x, 3:vii–viii), multiple-word entries are rare.

41. Ernst Jenni, “לבשׁ,” TLOT 2:642–44.

Jenni, Ernst. “לבשׁ.” TLOT 2:642–44.


43. Claus Westermann and Rainer Albertz, “גלה,”TLOT 1:317.

Westermann, Claus, and Rainer Albertz. “גלה.”TLOT 1:314–20.

TWOT: Some entries in this work are signed, some unsigned. The latter generally contain only lexicon-type information and can thus be cited as other lexica entries (see here). Each TWOT entry is preceded by a number and followed by a transliteration and a gloss; all this additional information should be omitted from a citation.

67. John E. Hartley, “קָוָה,” TWOT 2:791.

Hartley, John E. “קָוָה.” TWOT 2:791–92.


N.B. All the abbreviations below are based on the title of the work and are thus set italics, just as the title is.


Balz, Horst, and Gerhard Schneider, eds. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. 3 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990–1993.


Brown, Colin, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 4 vols. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975–1978.


Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. 2nd ed. 5 vols. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014. * This is the second edition of NIDNTT, albeit with a slightly altered title.


VanGemeren, Willem A., ed. New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis. 5 vols. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997.


Kittel, Gerhard, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. 10 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964–1976. * This is the English translation of TWNT below.


Botterweck, G. Johannes, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, eds. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Translated by John T. Willis et al. 15 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974–2006. * The number of volumes given here is correct; the SBLHS 2 listing contains an error.


Jenni, Ernst, with assistance from Claus Westermann, eds. Theologisches Handwörterbuch zum Alten Testament. 2 vols. Munich: Kaiser; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1971–1976.


Botterweck, G. Johannes, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, eds. Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament. 10 vols. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1970–2000. * This entry corrects several errors in SBLHS 2.


Spicq, Ceslas. Theological Lexicon of the New Testament. Translated and edited by James D. Ernest. 3 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.


Jenni, Ernst, and Claus Westermann, eds. Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Translated by Mark E. Biddle. 3 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1997. * This is a translation of THAT. Unlike the German edition, the English edition lists Jenni and Westermann as equal editors, so the SBLHS 2 entry has been modified to reflect that.


Kittel, Gerhard, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theologische Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1932–1979.


Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.

4 thoughts on “Citing Reference Works 3: Dictionaries (Word)

  1. One minor clarification is needed here: in this post, the abbreviation κτλ. is given with a period. However, in SBLHS2, no period is used either in the abbreviations list (8.1.3; p. 120), or in the TDNT citation example (6.3.6; p. 94), where we are given ‘”Hermann W. Beyer, “διακονέω, διακονία, κτλ,” TDNT 2:81–93.’ (Note the lack of a period before the comma after κτλ.) Should this post be considered an official revision of the former practice in SBLHS2? For consistency with other abbreviations that combine multiple words (i.e., n.d., s.v., etc.), wouldn’t it make more sense to make it κ.τ.λ.? In any case, it seems like some punctuation should be used to indicate the presence of an abbreviation.


    • Thank you for your question. The period in the post was a momentary lapse. We still prefer κτλ sans period. We have corrected the post to match this preference.


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