Religious Style Guide: Consistency!

Religious Style Guide: Consistency!

October 9, 2014 by

Every church communicator needs a style guide, but the trusty AP Stylebook doesn’t exactly cover churchy lingo. You need a religious style guide and the Religion Stylebook is here to help. This religious style guide is by and for journalists, but it can settle arguments among the more anal of your proofreaders or back you up when your pastor wants to capitalize everything.

“Just be consistent. For the love of all things holy, be consistent.”

Is biblical capitalized? No. Bible, yes, but biblical, no.

Is nonbeliever hyphenated? No. And, sadly, “heathen” is not suggested as an alternative.

When is gospel capitalized? “Capitalize when referring to each or all of the first four books of the New Testament. Lowercase in all other references.”

Are pronouns for God (he, him, his) capitalized? No.

Is there an apostrophe in Apostles’ Creed? Yes, it’s a plural possessive, so put it after the ‘s’.

Do we capitalize heaven or hell? No. Nor is “h-e-double-hockey-sticks” an accepted alternative.

What the heck is a narthex? Sadly, the Religion Stylebook lets us down on this one. (It also defines sacrilegious, but not sacrilicious. Can’t win ’em all.)

More Style Help

Hopefully the Religion Stylebook can solve some style debates at your church. You should also definitely have your own style guide. For more on good writing and style, check out Getting Started in Church Communication: Copy Matters.

No matter what religious style guide decisions you make, just be consistent. For the love of all things holy, be consistent.

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Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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