When to Capitalize Religious Terms
  • 4-minute read
  • 19th May 2019

When to Capitalize Religious Terms

Knowing when to capitalize religious terms can be hell. Or should that be Hell? And there we get to the crux of the matter. Are words from religions always capitalized? Is it only when you use these terms in a religious context? Or should you just say “to heck with it” and stop caring?

Well, before you do that, check out our guide to capitalizing religious terms.

When to Capitalize Religious Terms

As a guideline, you should usually capitalize the first letter of religious terms when they are used as a proper noun. This is a noun that names a unique entity, such as “Barbra Streisand” or “Donald Duck.”

In a religious context, proper nouns may include:

  • Religions and religious movements (e.g., Judaism, Methodism)
  • Religious figures and deities (e.g., Jesus, Zeus)
  • Holy texts (e.g., Bible, Quran)
  • Religious holidays (e.g., Easter, Diwali)
  • Titles when used with a name (e.g., Reverend Green)

However, there are some cases where the correct capitalization depends on how you’re using a term. We will look at a few of these below.

God, Gods, Goddesses and Proper Nouns

As mentioned above, you should always capitalize the first letter in a proper noun. If you were referring to the Christian deity, for instance, you would need to capitalize the “G” in “God”:

I am here only by the grace of God.

But some words, like “god,” can be either proper or common nouns depending on how we use them. So if you were referring to gods and goddesses in general, or any god or goddess where “god” is not part of their name, you would need to use a lower case “g” instead:

Prior to Christianization, the Anglo Saxons worshipped the Germanic gods and goddesses, including Ēostre, the goddess of the dawn and spring.

Notice that we do, however, capitalize Ēostre in the example above, even though we use a lower case “g” for “goddess.” This is because Ēostre is the name of a goddess, so it is a proper noun.

Other Inconsistent Capitalization

“God” is the most prominent example of something we only capitalize in certain cases. However, there are many religious terms that have second meanings. And you should only capitalize these words if you use them in a religious context, not when they’re used elsewhere.

For instance, we would capitalize “Catholic” in “the Catholic Church.” But “catholic” can also mean “all-embracing.” And we would not use a capital “C” to write about someone with interests in a range of seemingly unrelated things (i.e., someone with “catholic tastes”).

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"Catholic" tastes ≠ A liking for Gothic architecture and stained glass.
“Catholic” tastes ≠ A liking for Gothic architecture and stained glass.

Likewise, we would capitalize the “M” in “Mass” if we were talking about the religious ceremony. But we would not usually capitalize the same word when using it as an adjective in “mass market” or “mass transit.” It pays, then, to double check whether religious terms have other uses.

Holy Pronouns

In the past, it was common to capitalize the first letters of pronouns when referring to religious figures. This is known as reverential capitalization. For instance, if we used “his” to refer to God, we might capitalize the “H”:

Our hearts shall rejoice in God and His holy name!

This is quite unusual in modern writing. However, if you do use reverential capitalization, there are two key rules to follow:

  1. Only apply it to pronouns that refer to deities and divine beings.
  2. Apply it consistently throughout your writing.

You can apply reverential capitalization in other situations as well, but it is most common with pronouns.

To ensure consistency, you may also want to have your writing proofread. But if you do, let your editor know which terms you’ve chosen to capitalize.

Heaven and Hell

Finally, we have heaven and hell. As a rule, you do not need to capitalize these terms. This is true even when referring to the Christian concepts of “heaven” and “hell.” Take Matthew 5:18 from the NIV Bible, for instance:

For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

However, some religious institutions do prefer to capitalize the words “Heaven” and “Hell.” And you should always capitalize ‘Heaven’ when referring to the famous gay nightclub in London.

Is this what Belinda Carlisle was singing about? (Photo: Nick Cooper/wikimedia)
Is this what Belinda Carlisle was singing about?
(Photo: Nick Cooper/wikimedia)

The capitalization of “Heaven” is, in fact, one of the few areas where evangelical Christians and the LGBT+ community truly see eye to eye. And that, at least, should be celebrated.

Comments (86)
Tom
7th September 2020 at 10:37
He was not Saved, until he read the Bible. Should Saved be capitalized?
    Proofed
    7th September 2020 at 16:47
    Hi, Tom. You wouldn't usually need to capitalize "Saved" in this context because it is a verb, not a proper noun or a pronoun referring to a deity. Nor, incidentally, would you need the comma before "until."
David Haun
24th September 2020 at 21:59
Very helpful. Thanks for your guidance
Quinn
25th September 2020 at 16:35
What if I'm writing a Christian character who would usually capitalize heaven, and they refer to it while talking. It is not their perspective. Should I have it capitalized?
    Proofed
    25th September 2020 at 16:41
    Hi, Quinn. We offer some general guidelines in this post, but there is plenty of scope for variation in creative writing. If the passage is from the point of view of the character you mention (e.g., if it is narration from their POV or they're speaking and you want to show that they emphasize certain words), capitalizing "Heaven" and "Hell" for that character but not other characters might be a good way of setting them apart. But it isn't necessary, and you'll need to be careful to use the capitalized versions consistently. We'd be happy to help with the proofreading either way!
Quinn
25th September 2020 at 16:48
Okay. Thank you!
KKS
26th September 2020 at 05:20
Very insightful article! One question remains: assuming reverential capitalization is being used, are possessive pronouns supposed to follow suite? Examples: My/Our God.
    Proofed
    26th September 2020 at 11:48
    Hi! You wouldn't usually capitalize possessive pronouns unless they refer to the deity in question. So, for instance, you would say "We are here only by His grace," since the "He" in "His" is God. But you wouldn't capitalize the "M" in "Oh my God" or similar because "my" refers to the speaker, not the deity. Hope that helps!
KKS
27th September 2020 at 05:35
Understood! Thank you very much.
Mary Anne Zulisky
28th September 2020 at 18:11
I disagree about non-capitalization of Heaven and Hell. When using these terms to define the specific places, they should be capitalized as proper nouns just like a country or state. But when referring to the "heaven about us" or the "heavens" as the atmosphere, it should not. When using the term "hell" as a slang - "hell if I know," - or curse, it should not be capitalized.
    Proofed
    29th September 2020 at 10:06
    Hi, Mary. We do mention that some people prefer to capitalize "Heaven" and "Hell" when referring to the Christian afterlife, and it's fine if you prefer to do so. However, it's not necessary according to most style guides (e.g., AP style suggests using lowercase, and Chicago style says only to capitalize these terms in religious publications). And, as we point out in the post, not even all Bibles capitalize these terms! Thus, it would be wrong to say they need to be capitalized as standard.
Scott Moore
25th October 2020 at 22:23
What if I am using the term "Christian" as an adjective, as in "John did it because of his Christian values?"
    Proofed
    27th October 2020 at 15:16
    Hi, Scott. "Christian" is still capitalized as an adjective (most adjectives based on proper nouns are capitalized in English).
Gigi Galliani
30th October 2020 at 22:30
When using reverential capitalization, should adjectives and nouns in reference to God follow suit? Ex: "Christ is the only and ultimate judge"
    Proofed
    31st October 2020 at 10:06
    Hi, Gigi. To some extent it is a matter of personal preference (assuming you're not using a specific style guide), but it would be unusual to capitalize adjectives or other modifiers.
Jeremy
14th December 2020 at 16:11
What about terms like "Passion" (referring to the passion of Christ leading up to his crucifixion), or "Ascension"? Would these be capitalized in an MLA formatted paper?
    Proofed
    15th December 2020 at 09:59
    Hi, Jeremy. I don't believe that MLA style has any guidelines on the capitalization of religious terms in particular. I would suggest capitalizing them for clarity if necessary (e.g., if you need to distinguish between the Passion of Christ and "passion" more generally). And they are functioning as proper nouns (i.e., naming unique things), so there's an argument for capitalizing them on that count. But it is ultimately a matter of preference as long as you pick a clear and consistent style of capitalization.
Melody Banks
5th January 2021 at 19:49
Would you capitalize Holy with Holy God
    Proofed
    6th January 2021 at 10:44
    Hi, Melody. This would fall under the general category of reverential capitalization, but there are no universal rules for this. Many people capitalize the "Holy" in terms like "the Holy Spirit" and "the Holy Bible," and while "Holy God" seems less common, this is ultimately a matter of preference (unless you or your organisation has a style guide you're following, in which case it might have guidelines on capitalization you can use).
Kellie
6th January 2021 at 14:49
What about the word scripture? I thought that if you say the Scriptures, it will be capitalized, but what about "through the encouragement of scripture" is scripture capitalized in the latter case?
    Proofed
    6th January 2021 at 16:14
    Hi, Kellie. As with most cases of reverential capitalization, this is largely a matter of preference. Most writers would capitalize "Scripture" if they were using it as a synonym for "Bible" (e.g., "As set out in the Holy Scripture..." or similar). But it isn't necessary to capitalize it in other cases, and doing so might look slightly old-fashioned to some readers.
Robert
7th January 2021 at 22:44
I looked up the word Requiem in the Webster dictionary and it was capitalized. I was surprised. From my understanding of capitalizing of religious words, the keep it simple, if they refer to or are used in a religious context or are proper religious nouns, one would capitalize. Requiem is not strictly a religious word. Your thoughts?
    Proofed
    8th January 2021 at 10:49
    "Requiem" is mostly used in a religious context (i.e. a Requiem Mass) or a related musical context (e.g. Mozart's Requiem in D minor), and it would be standard to capitalize it in those cases. Can you think of examples where it has a non-religious usage? Perhaps if you were using it to refer to a piece of music used to honor the dead in a non-Christian context? Or even if referring to musical compositions in general rather than one particular piece? There's room for flexibility here at least, as long as you use a consistent style of capitalization for similar usages of the word.
Joanna Jablonska
27th January 2021 at 10:53
When writing about religious sisters and referring to them indirectly, should 'sisters' be written with an upper or lower case letter? Obviously, if I were referring to a particular order of nuns, I would write: "The Ursuline Sisters", for instance, but if I was saying: "The sisters then went into the chapel", I'm suddenly not sure if it should be a capital 's' or not. I've just translated a story (into English). The story also refers to a number of sisters (from the same family), so I also want to distinguish between birth sisters and fellow nuns. As a Catholic, I should know, but am suddenly unsure which to use.
    Proofed
    27th January 2021 at 13:25
    Hi, Joanna. The conventional rule would be only to capitalize "Sister" when it functions as part of a proper noun (e.g., in the name of an order of nuns, like you mention, or before the name of a specific nun such as "Sister Mary" or similar). There is some room for flexibility, though, in a creative writing context. Thus, if you're worried about the ambiguity of "sister" in parts of the story and it isn't clear which you mean from the context, it might make sense to capitalize "Sister" and "Sisters" when referring to nuns. The key will be making sure to apply the capitalization consistently.
Jeannie Taljard
11th February 2021 at 12:51
In the sentence "We christened her Lucy", should "christened" be capitalized?
    Proofed
    11th February 2021 at 14:54
    Hi, Jeannie. "Christened" is a verb, so it would only be capitalized at the start of a sentence.
Sheri
16th February 2021 at 12:03
Please tell me is this is the proper way to write this sentence: Follower of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
    Proofed
    16th February 2021 at 15:19
    Hi, Sheri. That isn't a full sentence (it looks like an appositive phrase), but if you're referring to the capitalization in particular, we can only point you to the advice in this post: you would not need to capitalize words like "Lord" and "Savior" in most contexts, and if you're using a specific style guide it is worth checking for advice on reverential capitalization, but otherwise it's a matter of choice. If you want to capitalize "Lord" and "Savior" to clarify that they refer to Jesus, feel free, but since you name Jesus explicitly as well it would still be clear without the non-standard capitals.
alain cozens
18th February 2021 at 16:50
Should confirmation be capitalised such as "there was a confirmation service" ?
    Proofed
    18th February 2021 at 17:05
    Hi, Alain. "Confirmation" is a common noun even in a religious context, so you would only usually capitalize it at the start of a sentence.
Riley
15th March 2021 at 14:56
Hi! Should Law of Moses or Mosaic Law be capitalized as such? Or would law of Moses and Mosaic law be better? Thanks!
    Proofed
    15th March 2021 at 15:31
    Hi, Riley. There is room for variation here. To my mind, they are proper nouns (i.e., they refer to a specific biblical convenant, which is a unique, singular thing). And if you follow that conclusion, "Law of Moses" and "Mosaic Law" would be most appropriate. However, it may depend on how and where you are using these terms (e.g., the Society of Biblical Literature recommends only capitalizing "Law" when "the term refers to a division of the canon," which would make "law of Moses" and "Mosaic law" correct). Ultimately, then, it's a matter of preference. If you're using a specific style guide or writing for a specific publication, you might want to check for further advice. Otherwise, though, you can pick the approach you think works best. Just make sure to apply capitalization consistently!
      Riley Shay
      15th March 2021 at 17:28
      Thank you so much! This is very helpful!
Jared
20th March 2021 at 21:16
When using the word grace for praying over a meal, does one capitalize the g?
    Proofed
    22nd March 2021 at 09:53
    Hi, Jared. You wouldn't usually need to capitalize "grace," no.
Janelle
20th April 2021 at 20:48
I am wondering about capitalization when referring to significant theological concepts or events. For example would the event of the first sin be called "the fall" or "the Fall"? Or when referring to Jesus' death, should it be "the cross" or "the Cross"? Or "the exodus" versus "the Exodus"? Thanks.
    Proofed
    22nd April 2021 at 09:04
    Hi, Janelle. This is a matter of preference to some extent, but many people do capitalize significant religious events like "the Exodus" or "the Fall" to signify their importance and singularity (e.g., https://calvin.edu/offices-services/communications-marketing/tools-resources/editorial-style-guide/religious-terms.html). And you'd always capitalize "Exodus" when referring to the book from the Bible.
Tammy Montgomery
29th April 2021 at 16:17
Hi, I am trying to reference a song, Holy God, we praise Thy Name, I am not sure if Thy and Name should be capitalized. Please advise
    Proofed
    29th April 2021 at 16:23
    Hi, Tammy. If that's the title of the song, you might want to capitalize the first letter of every word (i.e., Holy God, We Praise Thy Name). If it is just a lyric from the song and there isn't a lyric sheet available to see how the terms are usually capitalized, and you're not following a specific style guide, then it may just be a matter of preference. It is common, for example, to capitalize pronouns when referring to God, so you might want to opt for "Holy God, we praise Thy name." I'm not sure there's a reason to capitalize "name" there if you're not capitalizing the other words, but I might just be missing something.
Laura
4th May 2021 at 15:27
If you were writing a prayer, and said "God, we thank you for....", would you capitalize you? I've never done this, but it just came up and I couldn't say for sure.
    Proofed
    4th May 2021 at 15:41
    Hi, Laura. This falls under the "Holy Pronouns" section of the post: i.e., you can use reverential capitalization if you like (or if you're using a style guide that recommends doing so), but it isn't compulsory.
Bill
9th June 2021 at 17:27
Should the phrase "end times" be capitalized, such as in end times prophecies?
    Proofed
    10th June 2021 at 17:18
    Hi, Bill. You wouldn't usually capitalize "end times" as a generic description, but you might if you were naming a specific, identifiable time that is conventionally capitalized in a certain religion (e.g., like you would capitalize "Second Coming" or "Last Judgment" because they are established parts of the Christian apocalypse prophecy). I expect that you'll find many people who do capitalize "End Times" on this basis, but you may want to check your style guide if you're using one.
Debbie
28th June 2021 at 14:53
Hi. I'm finding a lot of inconsistency even within Bible translations for certain terms, particularly the Gospel vs. the Gospels or the Gospel of John; Epistle(s), the Word of God, This is the word... Aside from preference, which of these should be capitalized? I'm trying to develop a style guide for consistency, and I lean toward not capitalizing.
    Proofed
    28th June 2021 at 17:22
    Hi, Debbie. As noted in this post, the only things you should always capitalize are proper names (e.g., words that refer to a unique person, deity, or thing, such as "God," "Bible" and the names of books of the Bible, names of festivals like "Passover," names of people and places). Among your examples, I'd suggest the only definite candidate is "Gospel of John," since that refers to a particular book of the Bible. However, that is where personal preference and context come in: e.g., you might want to capitalize "Gospels" if you're using the term as a unique collective name for the canonical gospels of the Bible, but it is also a common noun so you could just use it descriptively to refer to "the gospels of the Bible." The same applies to "epistles," as you could refer to the "Epistles of Paul" as a collective name for those books of the Bible, or refer more generically to the "Pauline epistles." "Word" is a tricky one because it may be useful to capitalize to distinguish between the "Word of God" (i.e., as in the famous line from John 1:1, where it seems to be more of a proper name due to the use of the definite article) and any generic uses of "word" elsewhere. But, again, there is no strict rule here and the context should make it clear enough in most cases (although I won't claim to know for sure there aren't ambiguous passages in the Bible on that count), so if you prefer to not capitalize this term, it should be fine. Good luck with the style guide either way, and let us know if you need anyone to proofread it!
marcia
9th July 2021 at 18:37
Is eternal to be capitalized when used before God, as in The eternal God is .......... Thank you.
    Proofed
    12th July 2021 at 09:07
    Hi, Marcia. As explained in this post, it is a matter of preference in some cases (as long as you're consistent), but you wouldn't usually need to capitalize a basic adjective like "eternal," no.
      Marcia
      2nd August 2021 at 16:53
      Thank you very much.
JM Magarcenio
13th July 2021 at 04:40
How about saying the word Godly. Like godly wisdom, godly counsel, godly life. Will it be on cap G or lowcase? Thank you
    Proofed
    13th July 2021 at 08:57
    Most style guides recommend the lowercase "godly," although some prefer to capitalize all words that start with "God," so either should be fine as long as you're consistent (and you're not using a style guide that specifies using "godly").
Mary
4th August 2021 at 15:19
Would you capitalize the word "holy" or "Holy Secret" as in, "God revealed to me a holy secret" ?
    Proofed
    4th August 2021 at 16:02
    Hi, Mary. No, there's no need to capitalize "holy" there. You might choose to do so as a form of reverential capitalization (see the section on pronouns in the post above), but that would be unusual in modern writing, and most style guides would advise against it.
Sharon
18th August 2021 at 15:32
When using the terms "Sister", "Postulants", and "Novices" as an Eligible Individual in a Health Plan Document, are they considered proper nouns? A particular person's name would not follow them.
    Proofed
    18th August 2021 at 17:09
    Hi, Sharon. None of those words would need capitalizing if used generically, but I'm guessing this is some kind of legal agreement based on your use of "eligible individual"? There is a convention in some forms of legal writing to capitalize particular terms as proper nouns if they are defined as such when they are introduced (e.g., a contract might begin with a sentence like "This agreement, hereafter referred to as the 'Contract'...," then use the capitalized term "Contract" to distinguish the specific document at hand as from other contracts). And it may be acceptable to capitalize those terms in such circumstances, but it is difficult to say without seeing the document. If you'd like an expert to proofread it, though, we can certainly help with that (just leave a comment noting the issue with capitalization when you upload it): https://proofed.com/proofreading-services/
Anna Samara
18th September 2021 at 08:16
Should religious terms that have to do with doctrinal publications be capitalized such as Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, & Post-Tribulation? Or, the Great Tribulation? Or how about the flood that was not just any flood but THEE flood (sometimes referred to as the Great Flood) with Noah's family, his ark, & all the animals? I find this similar to the tribulation being referred to as the Great Tribulation. I ask only because Bible scholars have written exhaustively on eschatological constructs such as Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib & Post-Trib with respect to the Great Tribulation, so, in essence, they are publications (as well as doctrines) & the titles of doctrines in published form do have capitalization rules that apply. Hoping I'm making sense on some level. And yes, religious based capitalization is a HELLSCAPE all its own. LOLOL!
    Proofed
    20th September 2021 at 09:12
    Hi, Anna. You could argue that any of your examples are proper nouns, particularly "Great Flood" and "Great Tribulation," where the usages seem very well established (e.g., capitalizing "Great Flood" helps to signal that you're referring to the Biblical event, not just to one of the many other large floods in history that have been described in such terms). But a quick google shows that some sources do use, e.g., "pre-tribulation" alongside "Great Tribulation," so there's room for variation here as long as your meaning is clear. The main provisos are that you should try to use a consistent approach to capitalization throughout each document, and you may want to check your style guide if you're writing for a particular organization or publication.
Barbara House
5th October 2021 at 22:13
Should you capitalize the word Order when referring to a religious organization like, "The Order encourages prayer."
    Proofed
    6th October 2021 at 10:32
    Hi, Barbara. If "The Order" is the name (or part of the name) of the religious organization in question, then it is a proper noun and probably needs capitalizing.
Anthony Davis
13th December 2021 at 20:25
Hi, I'm assuming you might capitalize the word "faith" when it is a stand-in for a specific sect, as in "He was baptized in the Faith." (referring elsewhere to a specific denomination or sect). I'm thinking it wouldn't otherwise be capitalized, as in "Catholic faith" or "She has faith." What do you think of this?
    Proofed
    14th December 2021 at 11:21
    Hi, Anthony. Most sources seem to use the lowercase "faith" in all circumstances (e.g., even though this group uses reverential capitalization in some cases, such as with "the Church," it uses "faith" in the phrase "The child is baptized in the faith of their parents, godparents and of the Church"). I don't think there are any official guidelines on this outside of individual religious organizations' in-house approaches, though, so if you want to capitalize "faith" when it is a stand-in for a specific sect and you apply this convention consistently, that should be fine.
Maria
10th January 2022 at 08:30
Is the word "islamic" capitalized?
    Proofed
    10th January 2022 at 09:53
    Hi, Maria. Yes, "Islamic" is always capitalized as it is derived from the name of a religion.
Geraldine
8th February 2022 at 08:50
is intentional discipleship capitalized in a church newsletter article?
    Proofed
    8th February 2022 at 10:06
    Hi, Geraldine. Unless you're using them as part of a title or proper noun, those words don't usually need to be capitalized.
Brandy
17th February 2022 at 14:15
What about capitalization of the subject of God's (and Jesus', etc.) possession? The Word of the Lord, In Jesus' Name, etc. Thanks!
    Proofed
    17th February 2022 at 17:00
    Hi, Brandy. There's typically no need to capitalize those types of terms unless they're proper nouns in themselves. There is room for flexibility here in some cases, though. So unless you're following a specific style guide, you may choose to capitalize certain terms as a mark of reverence (like we discuss in relation to pronouns in the post), especially if it helps to distinguish a religious usage from a non-religious one. For instance, it is fairly common to capitalize "Word" when discussing the "Word of God" as this often refers to a specific religious concept (i.e., the Logos), not just words as we use them in day-to-day speech. But the word "name" in "Jesus's name" is being used in the same way we'd use it to discuss any person's name, so capitalizing that term would be less helpful (and could even be confusing). Ultimately, it comes down to clarity and consistency. But we'd suggest only capitalizing such words if it serves a specific purpose, like with the "Word of God" referring to Logos rather than our everyday definition of "word."
steve
29th March 2022 at 14:31
A character in my story is Padre McCaffery. Throughout the book, I just call him the Padre and I capitalize that without adding McCaffery is that OK. I do it consistently.
    Proofed
    30th March 2022 at 09:43
    Hi, Steve. As long as that character is the only person known as "Padre" (capitalized) and it's always clear who you're referring to, that should be fine.
C. T.
28th May 2022 at 21:26
Though it seems that all the style-guides and capitalisation advice available on the Internet agree that the word “kingdom” in the phrase “kingdom of God” should be lowercased, I can find no clear information on whether it should still be lowercased when used by itself as a shortened way to refer to the kingdom of God (e.g. “we should all be ready for the coming of the Kingdom” “the Kingdom is at hand”). CWMS seems to imply that it should not be capitalised, however CMOS states that important religious concepts should be capitalised and it seems that “the kingdom of God” would fall under this category. Leaving it uncapitalised when using it by itself looks like it would be confusing. Should it be capitalised when used by itself as a shortened way to refer to the kingdom of God or not?
    Proofed
    30th May 2022 at 09:18
    Hi, C. T. If you're not using a specific style guide, this is ultimately a matter of preference. If you introduce the full phrase as "Kingdom of God/kingdom of God," then shortening to just "Kingdom/kingdom" should be fine as long as the context makes it clear they refer to the same thing (and you use the same capitalization style for the full term and shortened version). I don't think you'd need to capitalize it unless there are other kingdoms you need to distinguish it from (e.g., you're also discussing some of the various biblical kingdoms in the same document). But if you want to use reverential capitalization here, that should be fine, too.
Ken Samonds
19th June 2022 at 02:33
Are parts of churches capitalized? Chancel, Narthex, Sanctuary, Nave, etc…not when used in vague and general architectural terms, but in referring to specific holy places within the church community as a matter of respect for their liturgical significance?
    Proofed
    20th June 2022 at 09:54
    Hi, Ken. If you're following a specific style guide, you might want to check that for advice as rules on capitalization can vary. And if you really want to capitalize those terms as a mark of respect for their liturgical significance (and there's no chance capitalization could lead to a lack of clarity for whatever reason), then feel free to do so. But unless you're referring to the part of the church in question by a specific proper name (i.e., perhaps a church community has assigned a unique name to part of their church), there wouldn't usually be any need to capitalize any of those terms as they're all common nouns.
Oluwaseun Ajayi
20th June 2022 at 19:56
The Catholic priest was reading to his congregation from the book of Matthew. Should priest be capitalized?
    Proofed
    21st June 2022 at 08:58
    Hi, Oluwaseun. "Priest" is a common noun, so it does not need to be capitalized.
      Oluwaseun Elijah Ajayi
      22nd June 2022 at 17:44
      Thank you very much
Jodie
13th July 2022 at 19:31
When writing about the Prophet Jeremiah or the Apostle John, should these titles before their names be capitalized?
    Proofed
    14th July 2022 at 08:41
    Hi, Jodie. There aren't any strict rules on this, since they're not "official" titles in the same way as a job title. Looking online, it seems that "the Apostle John" and "the apostle John" are both fairly common (although "John the Apostle" seems to be the most common proper name). And most people seem to write "the prophet Jeremiah." However, as long as you capitalize these terms consistently when used alongside the names in question, it is ultimately a matter of preference.
Jodie
14th July 2022 at 02:40
When I write: This scripture may be found in the Book of John or Book of Psalms. Is the word "Book" capitalized?
    Proofed
    14th July 2022 at 08:51
    Hi again, Jodie. This is another matter where there is stylistic variation, although this is at least one where there are sometimes concrete guidelines to follow if you're using a particular style guide. Chicago style, for instance, recommends using the lowercase "book" (e.g., "In the book of Psalms..."). But AP style tends to recommend capitalizing terms related to scripture, so this would likely mean capitalizing "Book" when referring to the Bible as well (e.g., "In the Book of Psalms..."). Ultimately, if you're not using a specific style guide, I'd say capitalizing could be helpful if you need to distinguish between "books" in general and books of the Bible (e.g., if, for some reason, you needed to clearly distinguish between the Book of John and a book belonging to someone called John). But otherwise it's just a matter of preference!
Lyn
23rd August 2022 at 16:45
Gospel, when used as a direct replacement for the Bible, is capitalised. My query is what about the term everlasting gospel? My instinct is to capitalise it as one would for the Bible: Everlasting Gospel. Your opinion?
    Proofed
    24th August 2022 at 14:23
    Hi Lyn. Looking online, both capitalized and non-capitalized versions are used, so it’s really down to your own, or a style guide’s, preference. As long as you stick with one or the other usage consistently throughout your piece of writing, then that’s fine.
Jeff Simpson
16th October 2022 at 03:17
In the OT the NIV uses both "Name" and "name" often when God is speaking or referenced. For example: Exodus 23:21, "since my Name is in him." then Exodus 33:19, "I will proclaim my name, the Lord", or I Kings 8:20, "I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord" and I Kings 8:33 "give praise to your name" plus Ezra 5:1 ,"in the name of the God of Israel" then Ezra 6:12, ""My God who has caused his Name to dwell there." What is the rule used when icapitalisating in such cases?
    Proofed
    21st October 2022 at 14:17
    Hi. Jeff! I'm not sure what the rule for this version might be without the context for these examples, but, strictly, the only word type you would need to capitalize is a proper noun. Some writers prefer to use reverential capitalization, as mentioned in the article and some of the comments here, as it helps to distinguish a religious usage from a non-religious one. If you (or your institution’s style guide) have a preference for capitalizing "Name," then that’s entirely your choice. The main thing is to make sure this is done consistently throughout the document.
Amy
22nd October 2022 at 19:41
If I'm writing a book and in the context of the book. a character says the following, is lord capitalized or not? "Please lord, he begged..." or He asked the lord for grace.
    Proofed
    28th October 2022 at 16:37
    Hi, Amy. Words such as “lord” only need to be capitalized if they are used as an official title with a name, but often reverential capitalization distinguishes a religious usage from a non-religious usage. If there is a style guide that, for example, your publisher has asked you to follow, then it’s best to check there first. Otherwise, use what you prefer, but the only thing to remember is to make sure it’s consistent throughout your book.

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