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The Citation: Giving Credit Builds Your Credibility

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written. (Mark 1:1-2, NLT)

A Word For Writers

The Citation: a #devotional based on Mark 1:1-2 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #Research

A citation is a reference to a source of information. For instance, you may quote an expert or give a statistic or offer research results in your content – each as an information source to support a point. Your citation acknowledges the writer and the work that gave you that information. 

A citation bolsters your argument.  And a citation is useful to your readers, too. Your reference to the original material points readers to the source so they can examine it for themselves.

Bible writers regularly offered citations when they quoted prophets. Their citations lead us to the prophet’s original words. For Christ-followers, a cited prophecy is a powerful marker for the truth. Plus, the citation allows us to go to the source – the prophecy – and study it for ourselves. 

Take the gospel of Mark, for instance. Mark opens his book by explaining how John the Baptist prepared listeners for Jesus, an event that was foretold in two prophecies:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. [citation - Isaiah 40:3, brackets mine]  He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,‘ Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’” [citation - Malachi 3:1, brackets mine].

Mark referenced Isaiah (writing in 8th century BC), but also quoted Malachi (writing in 5th century BC.) Jewish writers of the time, explains Ligonier Ministries, often combined Bible passages but typically cited only the most well-known text (note the citation!). 

A writer’s citations, like Mark’s, build credibility into our content. 

Similarly, citations of scriptural prophecy build our faith in God’s truth.

A Wise Word

Citations build credibility in your content.

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

Thank you for the hundreds of prophecies in your Word, cited by your writers, that have proven to be true. Let me write with credibility and integrity. Lead me to cite sources that are trustworthy and reliable.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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