In Search Of Inspiration. A man with an empty notebook.One issue with which Christian writers struggle is knowing when to capitalize a word and when not to capitalize a word. Depending on the requirements of certain faiths, a writer may feel that any reference to God or godly things requires capitalization.

Capitalizing anything that is godly or Christian may satisfy the law for writing religious texts, but it can crush and flatten the spirit of the writing. Capitalizing anything that is “godly” can make reading difficult. Writers write so that their books or articles are read. A book that is overladen with capital letters can lose the reader’s attention. Over-capitalization should be avoided at all costs.

For example, look at the following paragraph and see how overusing capital letters affects the reading:

Christians who go to Church are free to Worship God and sing to His Glory. As they enter the Sanctuary, they feel the Holy Spirit and It moves them to seek Him with Godly fervor. They prayerfully sit before the Holy Altar and wait to hear the Minister read the Scriptures to guide them in God’s Word. 

When referring to God or the names of God, capitalization is required because grammatically they are proper nouns. For Christian writers, capitalizing the name of God is more than that. It shows respect and reverence. Some of the names that are used to denote God are Adonai, Christ, Emanuel, El-Shaddai, God the Father, HaShem, Holy Spirit, Jehovah, Jesus, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Son of God, Yahweh, etc.

However, when it comes to using pronouns in place of the name of God, this requirement is subject to the writer’s discretion. If the writer feels that all pronouns referring to God should be capitalized, then that is fine.

If the writer chooses to follow English style guides and uses the lowercase pronouns, then that also is acceptable. There is no right or wrong on this issue. Consistency is the key. Whatever is decided should be adhered to throughout the work. Above all else, writers must decide how to address the capitalization issue before beginning the writing process.

I have read texts where the pronouns for God are capitalized throughout a text and I find it to be fatiguing to my eyes.

For example, We know that Jesus cares for us and that He is always with us. He says His sheep know His voice and follow Him. He guides our paths, but He allows us to follow Him or choose to go our own way.

Again, consistency is the key. If the writer chooses to capitalize all the pronouns used in place of God’s name, this style choice must continue throughout the manuscript. I often tire of capitalizing the pronouns He and Him. I believe readers feel the same so I choose to use lowercase pronouns. In addition, I have found that many modern Bible translations (New King James Version and the New International Version) are following this style as well.

Here are a few additional style considerations for Christian writing. The word “Bible” should be capitalized because it is a proper noun. The word “Gospel” is also capitalized when it stands alone and designates the entirety of the four books in the Bible, as in: We read through the Gospels. When the word “gospel” is used to refer to the good news of Jesus Christ it is written in the lower case.

The words “apostle”, “disciple” and “prophet” are not generally capitalized, such as the prophet Jeremiah or the apostle Paul. Capitalize “Church” when referring to the body of believers, but write it in lowercase when referring to the building (We are going to the church.).

For more information on the use of capitalization for Christian texts, go to Moody Bible Institute Web Wiki.