Right now our tags are an absolute hodge-podge. Over the coming weeks I'll be making an effort to help clean up and organize these. Right off the bat I've been thinking about naming schemes a little bit and see there are several that are as-of-yet unresolved. For starters lets bite off an easy one.

Right now we have both and , both apparently used for the same thing. The ... uh ... book of Revelation.

As a moderator I can merge these tags without disturbing home page by bumping everything but before I do we should settle on which direction to merge and make canonical.

In general it looks like most of our books are tagged with just the name, like . In one case there is even an existing synonym from to . A few outliers appear to be the gospels, some of which are tagged like [tags:gospel-of-john].

Which tag format for book names should be canonical?

  • BTW, there is no '2-timothy' tag; this question is currently tagged 'timothy' (the person--2 other questions so tagged are for the person). No letters of john exist (there is at least this question). '2-peter' is also missing, but appears not to have any questions.
    – user3331
    Jun 24, 2013 at 15:53
  • Also, do we really not have tags for God the Father and the Holy Spirit ('pneumatology' does exist)? (This closed question was mistagged 'spirit' and 'holy".)
    – user3331
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:27
  • @PaulA.Clayton the God tag was terribly overused and was actually destroyed in the recent past.
    – wax eagle
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:29
  • @waxeagle Yeah, I remember that a similar fate was considered for 'jesus'. While most God the Father questions could probably fit under 'trinity' (seeking to distinguish the persons), such feels a bit uncomfortable to me.
    – user3331
    Jun 24, 2013 at 17:09
  • That just does not seem right that "revelation" should be used for just the Book of Revelation when Revelation is the entire Bible.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:18
  • @PeterTurner Tags are an on-demand thing. Until I created them today general-revelation and special-revelation didn't even exist and none of the questions with revelation where about the sort of thing you are referring to. We do have inspiration if that makes the deal fair.
    – Caleb
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:21
  • @Caleb those are good tags, but neither are private revelation. I think I may have used private-revelation once or twice, but far enough apart for the tag to be deleted. I certainly see questions that I would have tagged private revelation when I search for it.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:42
  • @PeterTurner I think I would tag those as mysticism-and-other-superstitious-nonsense myself. But that's just me. If you find two or more questions that it's actually appropriate for go ahead and tag 'em.
    – Caleb
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:46

4 Answers 4


I think that we should avoid hyphenating things that will be regularly occurring so my vote is that we go for as the parent and to be the child tag.

There is the potential that folks might want to use for the concept of God speaking to man. however, I suggest that these folks may want to be more specific and identify whether they are speaking of or .

  • 1
    I agree, but 'gospel-of-' seems a good disambiguation from the author, using the principle that persons should be more "bare" than books (especially when the disambiguated personal name might be less clear to the poster--possible example: 'luke-author' or 'luke-physician').
    – user3331
    Jun 24, 2013 at 15:59
  • @PaulA.Clayton I'm not sure there is a need to differentiate via tags between the book and the author, that should be obvious from the context of the question (I know that differs from our current tagging philosophy).
    – wax eagle
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:28
  • 1
    What about all the prophets named after their author? isiah should be the person and book-of-isiah should be the book.
    – user3961
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:51
  • For someone like Habakkuk, I could somewhat understand not having separate tags, but for (John) Mark people interested in the person (as presented mostly in Acts but mentioned in 2 Tim. 4:11) might be less interested in searching under/following the gospel tag. I really do not understand tags well and am not skilled at classification; I can only sometimes imagine possible (not necessarily probable or significant) issues. My views here are not of great worth.
    – user3331
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:52
  • @fredsbend I think what I'm arguing is that the distinction may be unnecessary
    – wax eagle
    Jun 24, 2013 at 17:02
  • 2
    @wax I see what you mean: The more common question tag should be the unhyphenated one. That is very likely the book rather than the person, etc. We don't want to be bogged down with constant retagging. However, The tag suggestions should get people using the correct ones.
    – user3961
    Jun 24, 2013 at 17:05
  • 3
    This conforms to the BH.SE convention, which I consider (with some conflict of interest) the state of the art in book-of-the-Bible tagging. ;-) In the case when the author (and not the book) is meant (such as the mention of Luke in Colossians) there is a possibility of ambigouity. I'm not sure if that's common enough to warrant a separate tag for the person. It's probably a case-by-case thing, but a tag for the person (e.g., luke-the-evangelist) might be in order. Jun 24, 2013 at 18:45
  • With a 6 vote spread and particularly with the match between sites (making question migration much cleaner) I am going to go ahead and call this consensus for now. If any concerns come up with this scheme later we can of course raise them again.
    – Caleb
    Jun 25, 2013 at 11:55
  • -1 as far as Catholicism is concerned. Revelation is a good synonym for public-revelation, the only other time we'd want to distinguish is private-revelation.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:20
  • @PeterTurner If there is a call for a public-revelation tag go ahead and use it, this isn't blocking that. Considering we have 36 questions about the book already and none with that tag, I think the priority would go to synonyming it to book-of-revelation anyway even if we didn't use revelation as primary.
    – Caleb
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:49
  • @PeterTurner: For the book, I could see the primary tag be apocalypse and with a book-of-revelation synonym. But we'd have to be extremely vigilant about fixing the tags when a new question on the book shows up 'cause people will tag it incorrectly. The tab-completion thing is likely the only reason we don't already have a revelations, which is how lots of folks think of the title of the book. Jun 28, 2013 at 16:39

should be the convention for the books and should be the convention for the name of the person where that is applicable (which is often).

Consider all the prophets, the epistles, the gospels, etc. They are all names of a people group or an individual person AND the name of the book.

= The Book of Isaiah
= The Prophet Isaiah

= The Gospel written by John
= John the disciple of Jesus
= John, the man who baptized Jesus

= A letter from Paul to the Churches in Galatia
= The people known as the Galatians.

= The prophetic book written by John
= An internal revealing of Truth from God

  • This scheme was my first inclination as well, but as I thought about it I decided it was likely over-complicating matters because most of the time no distinction is needed. It's a nice theoretical scheme, but what are we ever going to have that is on topic for "the people knows as the Galatians" but not about the book of Galations? Our subject mater simply isn't history, it's Christianity and that any question dealing with the church in Galatya (modern Turkish spelling there, it's right around the corner from me) would be sell served by a book tag. The same with most other cases.
    – Caleb
    Jun 25, 2013 at 7:24

There may be a limited number of tags, arranged as follows:

  • book-of
  • gospel-of
  • epistle-of
  • pentateuch
  • prophet
  • wisdom
  • poetry
  • law
  • commandment
  • beautitude
  • parable
  • traditional-narrative

Each genre of the Bible would have a tag; each author would have a tag; each book would have a tag.

  • It might be nice if SE supported tag grouping, then a specific tag would implicitly include the groups of topics to which it belongs. (It might also be interesting if following could exclude. E.g., following "('gospel-of-luke'-'parable') 'gospel-of-matthew'" would exclude parables from Luke.) However, I suspect that tags just aren't that aggressively used.
    – user3331
    Jun 24, 2013 at 16:41
  • @PaulA.Clayton I think you right, aggressive or not we at least are not rigorous in using them. However the entire concept of tags is contrary to "grouping". That starts producing a folder like hierarchy really fast. Tags are by definition already groups and you can already search by including or excluding them. I see what your saying that some sort of semantic relation would be nice, but I think proper tagging would make most uses cases possible with any fancy relational data.
    – Caleb
    Jun 25, 2013 at 7:28
  • @Caleb Grouping is not strictly hierarchical, but you may be correct that it would mostly be hierarchical. I think the main problem with grouping would be the temptation to use the most general tag (e.g., 'gospels' rather than a specific gospel). I tend to see relationships and to want an exactly correct choice (I am not a good analog-to-digital converter), so I find tagging difficult. I do agree the the existing system is good enough (and even if grouping would be an improvement, it probably would not be worthwhile). BTW, thanks for your retagging efforts!
    – user3331
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:17
  • @PaulA.Clayton Our tags would be a lot easier to use well if we get the junk tags removed and the whole set cleaned up, specifically some of the more less meaningful "catch-alls" culled out in favor of good specific non-meta style tags. Working on that...
    – Caleb
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:27

Couldn't we just use abbreviations?

Abbreviation:   Book:
Am          Amos
Bar         Baruch
1-Chr       1 Chronicles
2-Chr       2 Chronicles
Dn          Daniel
Dt          Deuteronomy
Eccl            Ecclesiastes
1-Esd       1 Esdras
2-Esd       2 Esdras
Est         Esther
Ex          Exodus
Ez          Ezekiel
Ezr         Ezra
Gn          Genesis
Hb          Habakkuk
Hg          Haggai
Hos         Hosea
Is          Isaiah
Jer         Jeremiah
Jb          Job
Jdt         Judith
Jl          Joel
Jon         Jonah
Jo          Joshua
Jgs         Judges
1-Kgs       1 Kings
2-Kgs       2 Kings
Lam         Lamentations
Lv          Leviticus
Mal         Malachi
1-Mc        1 Maccabees
2-Mc            2 Maccabees
Mi          Micah
Na          Nahum
Neh         Nehemiah
Nm          Numbers
Ob          Obadiah
Prv             Proverbs
Ps              Psalms
Ru          Ruth
Sir             Sirach
1-Sm            1 Samuel
2-Sm        2 Samuel
Sg          Song of Solomon (=Song of Songs)
Sus         Susanna
Tb          Tobit
Ws              Wisdom 
Zec         Zechariah
Zep         Zephaniah

The New Testament 
Abbreviation:   Book:
Acts            Acts of the Apostles
Apoc        Apocalypse (=Revelation)
Col         Colossians
1-Cor       1 Corinthians
2-Cor       2 Corinthians
Eph         Ephesians
Gal         Galatians
Heb          Hebrews
Jas         James
Jn          John (Gospel)
1 Jn        1 John (Epistle)
2 Jn        2 John (Epistle)
3 Jn        3 John (Epistle)
Jd          Jude
Lk          Luke
Mk          Mark
Mt          Matthew
1 Pt        1 Peter
2 Pt        2 Peter
Phlm            Philemon
Phil        Philippians
Rv          Revelation (=Apocalypse)
Rom         Romans
1-Thes          1 Thessalonians
2-Thes      2 Thessalonians
1-Tm        1 Timothy
2-Tm            2 Timothy
Ti          Titus

Adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style intentionally used from a secular source so as not to upset anyone's personal constitution about the matter.

That would make it exceptionally obvious that when the abbreviation is used we're talking about the book and when the name is used, we're talking about the person who wrote the book or the person the book is about. We'd have synonyms until a question was asked about the person who wrote (or starred in) the book (or Wisdom or Revelation or The Apocalypse specifically). Once the tag could stand alone as a direct reference to the idea it's more directly about, then it would supplant the bible book tag.

I request this because I personally object to as the defacto tag for the last book in the NT. Revelation is God's Revealed truth, not just one book in the Bible. Catholics believe this to be revealed through Scripture and Tradition and I think the wisest thing to do would be to let the real living people of the Bible stand alone outside their books.

  • I dont use this short hand and i'm sure many other people dont as well though however i admit even if you would have suggested the short hand i use it would still be confusing when we could just use whole whole word for meta information
    – user4060
    Jun 28, 2013 at 3:52
  • 1
    Seems... user-unfriendly. I'm extremely familiar with the books of the Bible and I'm not sure I would have guessed Jl, Jo or Jas to say nothing of Jdt. I could imagine a use for these as synonyms...but why bother with tab-completion making typing unnecessary? Jun 28, 2013 at 5:05
  • This would be "exceptionally obvious" to anybody who knew the design pattern, but to a newby user trying to type in a tag, it would almost certainly require synonyms from all major names to their abreviations. In the end I'm not sure what this would gain us over other disambiguation schemes and I see several potential losses in the clarity and intuativeness departments.
    – Caleb
    Jun 28, 2013 at 9:54
  • @caseyr547 It's from the Chicago manual of style, I figured a secular source would be best for the site. The only think I changed was Jude and removed what I think was an ambiguous abbreviation for Sirach (Eccls. for Ecclesiasticus another name for the book) and I left out one Orthodox book that I don't think would need abbreviation.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:15
  • @JonEricson what does your bible use? What do we use in answers. I have a problem with the fact that you can't search "Genesis" for all the answers that reference Genesis, I think Affable Geeks was working on some sort of concordance, this would really help to have "Gn" and "[Gn]" be matching searches. All the full-name-tags would be synonymous with the books until such time as someone deigned to ask a question specifically about the person the book is about. How do you ask about joshua in exodus?
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:18
  • @Caleb I'd say the same thing until they launched the patent site.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:20
  • @PeterTurner: The ESV on the Kindle uses this style of abbreviation for it's index. When I need to look up something in mk or ac or gal, it works great. But I always fail to find the book I'm looking for if it happens to start with the letter 'J'. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I assume I'm better than average at this sort of minutia and it doesn't work for me. On the other point, I don't see how changing the way a question is tagged will help you search for Bible references in answers. Surely genesis will work equally as well as gn? Jun 28, 2013 at 16:09
  • As for Joshua in Exodus, it seems a question tagged [joshua] [exodus] would likely be about the man in the book. If such questions were common, it might be worth giving the man an unambiguous tag such as judge-joshua, joshua-the-judge or yehoshua (though the last isn't terribly user-friendly either). As it is, there's only one joshua question and it's about a miracle that happens to be written up in the book of Joshua. Jun 28, 2013 at 16:18
  • Oh well, I'll give up its no big deal, thx for the thoughtful consideration fellas
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Jun 29, 2013 at 15:36

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