There are many rules that I tend to follow in my writings that may go against what other people like or choose to follow. I do this because I feel it provides better clarity and professionalism to the style of writing. The following is a list of things that stay consistent throughout this book. Many of the examples do not appear within the text; I just use them as exaggerated examples.
· The capitalization of the word bible
Never once will I capitalize the word bible, unless it is referring directly to a specific version of the bible. The bible is not a book; it is a compilation of many other books. Therefore, you will never see the word Bible unless it is directly accompanied by the proper edition name, such as the Scofield Reference Bible or the Hebrew Bible. Examples:
Correct: The bible was written by many different people.
The Hebrew Bible is said to be the very first edition of the bible.
Incorrect: The Bible was written by many different people.
The Hebrew bible is said to be the very first edition of the Bible.
There is no reason to capitalize the word bible unless it refers to a proper noun. The word bible has many different meanings, and capitalizing it makes it seem as if there is only one bible, when there are in fact many. Every religion has its own form of bible, and the Christian bible should only be capitalized when it is referring to a specific edition. The definition of the word bible is “a publication that is preeminent especially in authoritativeness or wide readership.” Like many other words, the word bible has only been capitalized by Christians to assert its importance. When referring to the bible as scripture, it is also not capitalized. However, Holy Scripture is capitalized; though I rarely refer to it as such.
· The capitalization of God and his pronouns
It is all too common nowadays to see every possible pronoun for God to be capitalized, and I have broken tradition on that since I do not feel that it is necessary. These pronouns include he, his, him, and to a lesser extent, you and your. Under no circumstance will I capitalize any of these pronouns if they are referring to God. It serves as a misuse of capitalization, and it clouds sentences with unnecessary grammar mistakes and reading difficulty. The only time I use the capitalized forms is if it is used from a quote in the bible or from someone else. Examples:
Correct: God punished Adam and Eve for disobeying his commands in the garden.
Adam and Eve were expelled from his garden when they disobeyed him.
“We all exist today because of Him” is a statement by Answers in Genesis.
Incorrect: Adam and Eve were expelled from His garden when they disobeyed Him.
God wrote the Bible, and He had man write it for Him.
I often avoid even using pronouns to describe God. I will simply just use the word God unless the sentence uses the word God too much or requires that I use a pronoun— such as using the pronoun him from the examples. A capital pronoun for God creates unnecessary capitalization within sentences; only proper nouns or the first word of a sentence should be capitalized. Like the capitalization of the word bible, capital pronouns for God only serves to give unneeded attention and importance to every little aspect about God. I also only capitalize God when referring directly to the character of God. God will never be capitalized if it is plural (polytheism) or proceeded by an article (the or a). Doing that does not refer directly to the one Christian god, known as God.
· The capitalization of descriptions of God and Jesus
This is something that I find totally unnecessary and sometimes humorous. It is only done by fundamental Christians to once again give importance to everything concerning God. These include descriptive words for God and Jesus: creator, lord, almighty, ruler, (holy) spirit, judge, redeemer, savior, father, and son. Also, sometimes capitalized by fundamentalist would be words relating to God’s characteristics: truth, word, being, infallibility, perfection, and omnipotence. I often avoid using these words altogether because of their absurdity. These capitalizations are just absurd as well, and it only serves to give unwarranted recognition to all aspects of God. Examples:
Correct: God’s word is said to be one of truth and infallibility.
The Word of God is not easily understood.
Creationists explicitly believe that he is the divine creator.
Incorrect: The Bible was written by Him and is therefore the ultimate Truth.
Jesus is the Lord and Savior, Son of the Omnipotent Father.
God is the Holy Father, the Almighty Ruler and Judge of us all.
I personally only capitalize the phrase “Word of God” when referring to it as a synonym for the bible and not literally the spoken words of God. In no other instance will any of the example words above be inappropriately capitalized unless it is from a direct quote. There is just no reason for it, and it creates terrible sentence structures.
· Formats for dates (bc and ad)
The format that use for mentioning dates is largely on the authority of MLA standards. These include writing dates in the following format: Month day, year (i.e. October 19, 1983). As far as using Before Christ and Anno Domini calendar numbering systems, they will always appear in small-caps as bc and ad with no periods for abbreviations, unless the numbering system falls at the end of the sentence— in which case it will naturally be followed by a punctuation mark. If for whatever reason, the mark is at the beginning of the sentence, it is still in small-caps and not capitalized. In no circumstances do I use the equivalent Before Common Era (bce) and Common Era (ce). All dates within this book are in either bc or ad. All years describing someone’s lifespan are in parentheses right after the person’s name, for example, Bertrand Russell (1872–1970). There are also requirements for when to use the marks within the text.
Ø The following are the requirements on how I use ad:
1. ad is only used when referring to the years 1–999. Dates later than the year 1000 do not need the mark. This is most common in referring to people’s lifespan. For example, it could appear as (ad 305–370) or (ad 976–1044). An example such as 1044–1120 does not need an ad mark.
2. The ad mark is never used to describe years such as 1925, although it may appear in unusual circumstances. This may occur if a bc year is mentioned within the description, and the bc year and the ad year are too similar. An example could be, “The artifact, created in 1453 bc, was not discovered until ad 1214.” This is done to avoid confusion. Also, a later ad year may have a mark if is appears alongside a bc year, for example (354 bc–1503 ad). In this case, the mark goes after 1503.
3. The mark for ad always appears before the year (i.e. ad 306), with a space between the mark and the year. If the year described has a specific date, then the ad mark goes after the year— for example: March 11, 306 ad. If the year 306 were instead 1306, there would be no need for an ad mark.
4. In dates that spans both bc and ad, both marks are used. An example would be if someone lived from (56 bc–32 ad). In this case, the ad mark goes after the year.
5. The ad mark will also be used if it appears in a sequence of events that contain a bc and/or an earlier ad date. For example, “The volcano erupted in 1056 bc, 477 bc, ad 369, and 1875.” It is not required for 1875 to have a mark, because it came after 369. It is required for 369 to have a mark; without it, you could not tell whether it was bc or ad.
Ø The bc scale follows slightly different requirement from the ad scale:
1. All years taking place in bc are to have a mark placed after the year, for example 544 bc, with a space between the year and the mark. This is even if the same year is mentioned within the same sentence. For example, “Ussher concluded that the universe was created in 4004 bc, but we have proof that is was created long before 4004 bc.” The mark is always after the year, no matter what.
2. bc dates appear only once if they are both in bc, for example, if someone lived entirely within that time, such as Saul (1080–1010 bc). For a mixture between bc and ad, see the above rule number four.
3. The only other time a date in the bc era does not have the mark is if it appears in a long sequence of dates, such as 5005, 4777, 4232, 4004, and 3971 bc. In this case, only the last year has the mark. In a list with ad years, the first ad has the mark if it is in a list with bc years, while all the bc’s in this situation would have the mark (see ad rule five).
4. The equivalent of bc is known as bp (before present). This is often used in place of bc to discuss things that took place a really long time ago. To say something took place in 8000 bc is the same as saying 10,000 bp. I rarely use numerical dates when dealing with a prehistoric date. I would typically say “10,000 years ago” instead of either above option. When something is generally older than 10,000 years, I will not use either dating mark. Also, when using dates that have five numbers (i.e. 10,000), a comma is used; years with less than five do not. How silly does ad 2,006 look?