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How to Cite the Bible in MLA | Format & Examples
Published on January 21, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 16, 2022.
MLA in-text citations of the Bible differ from other book citations in that they list the book, chapter, and verse rather than the page number.
In the Works Cited entry, it’s important to list the version of the Bible you used, not just “The Bible.” Include a URL if you accessed an online version of the Bible.
Table of contents
Mla in-text citations of the bible, version information in the works cited entry, frequently asked questions about mla citations.
In your in-text citations, MLA recommends abbreviating the names of the different books of the Bible. A list of standard abbreviations can be found here .
Additionally, chapter and verse numbers are separated by a period in MLA style, not a colon—unlike in some other styles.
- (Ezek. 1:5)
- (Ezek. 1.5)
Use an en dash to indicate a range of verses. If the range extends across chapters, include the new chapter number after the dash; otherwise, don’t repeat the chapter number.
- (Ezek. 1.5–1.6)
- (Ezek. 1.5–6)
- (Ezek. 1.5–2.1)
The first Bible citation in your text should include the Bible’s title , abbreviated if necessary (and always omitting “ The ” from the beginning).
You can omit this part in subsequent citations. However, if you are citing multiple different versions of the Bible, include the title each time to clarify which you’re referring to, and include a separate entry for each version in your Works Cited list.
The format of the Works Cited entry varies depending on whether the version is already clear from the title or needs to be clarified afterwards. Use the following format if the version is already clear from the title.
If the version needs to be clarified, do so after the title. This version information is capitalized but not italicized, and it is separated from the title with a period.
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If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
In MLA style , book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:
The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.
The title of a part of a book—such as a chapter, or a short story or poem in a collection—is not italicized, but instead placed in quotation marks.
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Caulfield, J. (2022, June 16). How to Cite the Bible in MLA | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/bible-citation/
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / How to Cite the Bible in APA
How to Cite the Bible in APA
The Bible is a frequently used source of information for many types of papers, but is referencing it the same as citing a book? This page will help you format citations for the Bible based on APA 7th edition guidelines.
Citing a bible (print or ebook), citing a translated bible, citing a bible on a website, apa in-text bible citations, apa reference page entry for a bible.
Reference page citations for the Bible are similar to that of a book; however, Bible texts are treated as not having an author.
However, if an editor or translator contributed to the text, then they must be included following the same citation conventions as a book.
In terms of dates, you must include the current version’s date after the title. For the original publication date, include the republished date only (if provided), as the date of publication for the Bible and for other religious texts is uncertain.
Reference page structure:
Bible name. (Year published). Publisher. URL (Original work published year)
Reference page PRINT Bible example:
King James Bible. (2019). Christian Art Publishers. (Original work published 1769)
Bible name (Translator’s F. M. Last name, Trans.). (Year published). Publisher.
Reference page example:
The holy Bible translated from the Latin Vulgate (R. Challoner, Trans.). (2017). Andesite Press.
If there is no site/page published date, use “n.d.” which stands for “no date.”
Bible name. (Year published). Publisher or Website Name. URL (Original work published year)
Holy Bible – American Standard Version. (n.d.). Holy-Bible.online. https://holy-bible.online/asv.php (Original work published 1901)
In-Text Citation Structure:
When quoting or paraphrasing specific excerpts from the text, use the name/version of the Bible, the year(s) (remember to write the original publication year, a slash, and then the year of the version you are using), the chapter name, the verse, and then the line.
( Version name , Year, Chapter name line:verse)
In-Text Citation Example:
The Bible extols the virtues of love; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” ( King James Bible , 1769/2019, 1 Corinthians 13:4).
APA Formatting Guide
- Annotated Bibliography
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Multiple Authors
- Page Numbers
- Parenthetical Citations
- Reference Page
- Sample Paper
- APA 7 Updates
- View APA Guide
- Book Chapter
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all APA Examples
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To cite a bible verse in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information such as the bible version, year, chapter number, verse number, and/or URL (uniform resource locator). The templates for in-text citations and reference list entry of a bible verse along with examples are given below:
In-text citation templates and examples:
Set the bible version in italics along with the year. Include the biblical abbreviation for the book, chapter number, and verse number. There is no need to include the page number.
Bible version (Year, Book Name Chapter #:Verse #)
GOD’S WORD Translation (1995, Ruth 4:1)
( Bible Version , Publication Year, Book Name Chapter #:Verse #)
( GOD’S WORD Translation , 1995, Ruth 4:1)
Reference list entry template and example:
Title of the Bible Version . (Year). Publisher. URL
GOD’S WORD Translation . (1995). Bible Study Tools. https://www.biblestudytools.com/gw/ruth/4.html
The Bible is italicized both in the in-text citation and in the reference list entry.
APA Citation Examples
Other Citation Styles
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MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Biblical Sources
- Introduction to MLA Style
- Journal Articles
- Magazine/Newspaper Articles
- Books & Ebooks
- Government & Legal Documents
- Biblical Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Videos/DVDs/TV Shows
- How to Cite: Other
- 9th Edition Updates
- Additional Help
Table of Contents
Bible dictionary, single-volume commentary, multi-volume bible commentary, book-length commentary in a series, citing the bible.
Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.
A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.
Name of Generic Religious Texts in the Body of Your Paper
Do not italicize or use quotation marks in your paper when referring to a generic religious text. These terms appear without italics or quotation marks when referred to in your paper:
Bible, Old Testament, Genesis, Gospels, Talmud, Qur'an (Koran), Upanishads.
Only italicize titles of individual published editions of religous texts (e.g., The Talmud of the Land of Israel: A Preliminary Translation and Explanation, The Interlinear Bible, etc.) when specifically citing them in your paper.
The titles of books of scripture are often abbreviated for the in-text citation. For a full list of abbreviations, consult section 1.6.4 of the MLA Handbook.
Works Cited List Example:
Sarna, Nahum. M. “Exodus, Book of.” The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary , edited by Daniel Noel Freedman, vol. 2, Yale UP, 2008, pp. 689-700.
In-Text Citation Example:
(Author's Last Name Page Number)
Example: (Sarna 690)
Browning, W. R. F. “Daniel, Book of.” A Dictionary of the Bible , 2nd ed., Oxford UP, 2009. Oxford Reference , www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199543984.001.0001/acref-9780199543984-e-485.
(Author's Last Name) - if the online source does not provide page numbers then omit the page number from the in-text citation
A single-volume commentary is a book that contains chapters covering each of the books of the Bible.
Perkins, Pheme. “The Gospel According to John.” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy, Prentice-Hall, 1990, pp. 942-85.
(Author's Last Name) Page Number
Example: (Perkins 955)
Franklin, Eric. “Luke.” Oxford Bible Commentary , edited by John Barton and John Muddiman, Oxford UP, 2001. ProQuest Ebook Central , ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/up/detail.action?docID=3052723&pq-origsite=primo.
(Author's Last Name)
A multi-volume commentary is a set of multiple books that contains chapters covering each of the books of the Bible.
Perkins, Pheme. “Mark.” The New Interpreter’s Bible , edited by Leander E. Keck, vol. 8, Abingdon Press, 1994, pp. 507-734.
Example: (Perkins 601)
A book-length commentary is a book that includes commentary on just one book of the Bible (and sometimes only part of one book of the Bible).
Vinson, Richard Bolling. Luke . Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Smyth & Helwys, 2008.
Example: (Vinson 302)
Vinson, Richard Bolling. Luke. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Smyth & Helwys, 2008. EBSCOhost , search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=942774&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Citing the Version of the Bible
The first time you paraphrase or quote from the Bible, identify which version of the Bible that you used. You do not need to repeat the version name in subsequent references. You also do not need to cite the Bible in your bibliography.
In-Text Indication of the Bible Version Used
The researchers consulted the Bible (King James Version) to provide items for the development of their religious values assessment.
No citation needed
Citing Biblical Chapters and Verses
When referring to books of the Bible within the body of your paper:
- Example: Genesis, Luke 4, Revelation 1-3
- Example: Exod 2:1-3; Matt 13:12
Note: it isn't necessary to add a period after the abbreviated book name. Include a space between the book name and the chapter number, and include a colon between the chapter number and the verse(s).
Citing Introductions, Annotations, or Supplemental Content in the Bible
Works Cited List Examples:
Carr, David M. Introduction to Genesis. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version , edited by Michael D. Coogan et al., Oxford UP, 2010, pp. 7-11.
Kaiser, Walter C. and Duane Garrett, editors. Footnote to Genesis 1:12. NIV Archaeological Study Bible: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture, by Kaiser and Garrett, Zondervan, 2006, p. 20.
In-Text Citation Examples:
(Kaiser and Garrett 4)
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How to Cite the Bible
Last Updated: May 7, 2020
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. This article has been viewed 353,976 times. Learn more...
When used as a reference in research papers or articles, the Bible and other classic works have a different citation format than other works. The specifics also vary depending on whether you're using the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or Chicago/Turabian citation styles. Turabian is the student's version of the Chicago manual, which is more extensive. Neither APA nor Chicago requires a full citation entry in your reference list at the end of your paper. However, your instructor or editor may want one.  X Research source
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- Example: The New Oxford Annotated Bible.
Variation: If the version you used has a specific author listed, lead with the author's name, then provide the title of the version. For example: Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language.
- Example: The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Edited by Michael D. Coogan,
- Example: The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Edited by Michael D. Coogan, Oxford University Press, 2007.
MLA Works Cited Entry Format:
Title of Version in Title Case . Edited by First Name A. Last Name, Publisher, Year.
- Example: New International Version. Bible Gateway, www.biblegateway.com. Accessed 29 Jan. 2019.
- Example: ( New International Version , Rom. 12.2).
- In-text citations are designed to point your readers to the full citation listed in your Works Cited. If you used several different versions of the Bible as sources, let your readers know when you've switched to a different version by adding the name of the version to the parenthetical citation.
- For example: "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father" (Matt. 5:16 New Living Translation).
- For example: "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father" (Matt. 5:16).
- If you switch to a different version, for example, if you were comparing translations, then you would list the different version in the parenthetical citation.
Tip: If you're using the same version and you list the book, chapter, and verse in the body of your paper, no parenthetical citation is needed.
- For example, your reference list entry might look like this: The New Oxford Annotated Bible. (2007). M. D. Coogan (Ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
- Example: 1 Cor. 13:4
- If you're citing several books or chapters of the same book in the same footnote, separate those citations with a semi-colon. For example: 1 Cor. 13:4; 15:12-29.
- A list of abbreviations used in Chicago or Turabian style can be found at http://hbl.gcc.libguides.com/BibleAbbrevChicago if you don't have a copy of the manual handy.
Tip: Chicago has a list of traditional abbreviations as well as another list of shorter abbreviations. Typically you can use either as long as you use the same one consistently. However, you may want to ask your editor or instructor which they prefer.
- Example: 1 Cor. 13:4 Revised Standard Version
- After your first footnote, there's no need to add the name of the version unless you switch to a different version, such as if you were comparing translations.
- For example, your bibliography entry might be formatted like this: Coogan, Michael D., ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
- ↑ https://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/1647/bible_cite.pdf
- ↑ http://libanswers.hiu.edu/faq/40591
- ↑ https://hbl.gcc.libguides.com/c.php?g=339562&p=2286667
- ↑ https://hbl.gcc.libguides.com/c.php?g=339562&p=2286666
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- If you're using an annotated or study Bible and quote or paraphrase an annotation or study guide notes, cite the book as you would any other book. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- When mentioning the Bible generally in the body of your paper, the title is capitalized but not italicized or underlined. However, if you are mentioning a specific annotated or study Bible with its own title, format the title the same as you would titles to other books (usually in italics). ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Some versions of the Bible use Roman numerals for books of the Bible. Don't use Roman numerals either in your paper or in your citations. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
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About This Article
If you want to cite the Bible using MLA format, start with the title of the specific version of the Bible you used in italics. Then, include the editor's name, if listed, the name of the publisher, and the year it was published. You will also want to list the URL and the date you accessed the site, if you are citing an online Bible. To write your first in-text citation in MLA format, follow the quote with the italicized title of the Bible that you used, followed by a comma, then the book, chapter, and verse. After the first citation, your subsequent citations won't need to include the title. For more advice, including how to cite the bible in APA format, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Cite the Bible
The Bible is a formidable opponent in the writing arena. Citing Bible verses comes will all types of questions. Do you need to know how to quote the Bible? Does it vary with each citation style? The list goes on and on. However, don’t sweat it. Breaking down how to cite the Bible in MLA 8, APA 7, and Chicago 17 for parenthetical and reference citations is as easy as ABC or NKJV (New King James Version)!
How to Cite the Bible in MLA 8 Style
Designed for literature and liberal arts essays and papers, MLA style was created by the Modern Language Association . When citing the Bible in MLA, you will create both in-text and works cited citations.
MLA Parenthetical Bible Citation
You will need to follow some unique rules when it comes to citing the Bible in MLA format. Typically, you don’t italicize or underline different versions of the Bible, but you will italicize individual editions of the Bible like The New Oxford Annotated Bible . Refer to these examples for how to quote Bible verses in your parenthetical citations.
- In The New Oxford Annotated Bible , “Quote” (Ps. 25.4).
- Psalm 25.4 states, “Quote” (The King James Version).
The New King James Version , Ps. 25.4
You might also find yourself needing to make an indirect quote of the Bible in MLA format. While it’s better to find the direct quote in the Bible itself, you can use “qtd. in” for a Bible quote made in another source in MLA format.
- As it states, “Quote” (qtd. in Smith 22).
MLA Works Cited Bible Citation
MLA is one of the only styles that require you to reference a Bible in your works cited list. In MLA style, you’ll use the fundamental elements and container system for citing the Bible.
Title of the Bible, the version. Editor. Publication place: Publisher, Year.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible. Full ref. ed. Kenneth L. Barker, gen. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
How to Cite Bible Verses in APA 7
APA is the American Psychological Association citation style for science subjects like psychology and physics. In APA 7 format , you now need to cite the Bible, like the New King James Version of the Bible, in-text, and in the reference list. Curious about citing the Bible in APA? Let’s see how it is done.
APA Bible In-Text Citation
The APA quote citation indicates the translation, year and book chapter, verse. Follow these examples to understand how to quote the Bible in APA style.
- “Quote” ( The New King James Version , 2020, Psalm 25:4)
- In Psalm 25:4 ( The New King James Version , 2020), it says, “Quote.”
The New King James Version, 2020, Psalm 25:4
Much like MLA, APA also offers you a specific way to cite indirect quotes within your work. For APA, you include the Bible and date of publication “as cited in” then the citation information.
- “Quote” ( King James Version , 1604, as cited in Smith, 2020).
APA Bible Reference Citation
In the newest edition of APA formatting, you need to include a citation for the Bible on your reference page.
Title of the Bible, the version. (Year). Publisher. URL (Original work published xxxx)
King James Bible . (2020). King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org
How to Cite Bible Verses in Chicago/Turabian Style
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) offers two different citation styles. You can use the author-date style or the notes-bibliography style. Much like APA, you don’t need to cite Bible verses in your references or bibliography. Additionally, the CMOS suggests directly quoting Bible verses in your text, even if they are found in other sources.
Author-Date Bible Citation in Chicago
Since Turabian is the student version of Chicago style format , they typically follow the same style guide. In terms of how to quote the Bible in author-date style, quotation marks will be around the quoted material because it isn’t your material.
In either the sentence or the citation, include the book, chapter, verse(s), and translation with the first mention. Use the standard abbreviations for the books, and place the citation at the end of the sentence. For example:
- Jesus said, “Quote” (John 8:31–32 KJV).
- “Quote,” as illustrated by God (Ps. 25:1 KJV).
1 Cor. 6:11-19 New Revised Standard Version or 1 Cor. 6:11-19 NRSV
Chicago/Turabian Footnotes for Bible Citations
Chicago style includes footnotes. You add a superscript number in the body of the text. Typically, you place the superscript number after the punctuation mark, if possible. Then, include the citation for the footnote at the bottom of the page with the corresponding superscript number. The format of the footnote citation is below.
In the book of Psalms, it’s shown how…. according to God. 1
1. Ps. 19:13-16 (NRSV)
Bible Footnotes for MLA and APA
MLA and APA styles opt for parenthetical citations rather than footnotes for sources. However, if you choose to include footnotes, you will have the superscript number like in Chicago style. The citation will follow the parenthetical citation in most instances.
- In-Text: In the book of John, it is shown that …. according to God. 1
- Citation: 1 John 8:31 (King James Standard Version)
Citing Holy Words
Biblical references can come into play in all different types of professional writing and essays . Now that you know what you’re doing, try it for yourself the next time you need to know how to quote Bible verses in your paper.
Citing the Bible in Works Cited
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Turabian Writing Guide: Citing the Bible
Citing the Bible
The Liberty University Writing Center is available to provide writing coaching to students. Residential students should contact the On-Campus Writing Center for assistance. Online students should contact the Online Writing Center for assistance.
As a sacred work, you do not include the Bible in your bibliography. All Bible verses will be mentioned parenthetically only . Rather than footnoting the first instance (and including “unless otherwise noted”) as in previous versions of Turabian, the version of the Bible being used will be noted in parentheses, spelled out, after the first Bible citation. The version will not be mentioned again unless version is changed. If only one version is used in a paper, then the version will only be spelled out fully in that first citation. If the student uses more than one version, however, the first instance of each Bible version will be spelled out fully, and then its abbreviation must be used as necessary for the reader to discern which version is being referenced.
- When citing from multiple translations within a paper, the version abbreviation should be included within the in-text parentheses. For example, (Mark 3:12, NASB).
- Books of the Bible should be abbreviated when referenced in parentheses. For examples, see the Writing Center's Sacred Book Reference List or the CMOS pages for Old Testament books (10.45) , Apocrypha (10.46) and New Testament books (10.47) .
- << Previous: Bibliography
- Last Updated: Jan 20, 2023 4:28 PM
- URL: https://libguides.liberty.edu/Turabian
To cite the Bible in 7th edition APA Style, use the general book citation format, omitting the author element and listing the specific version used (not just “The Bible”) as the title. Include a URL if you accessed an online version.
The first Bible citation in your text should include the Bible’s title, abbreviated if necessary (and always omitting “ The ” from the beginning). In-text citation ( ESV Bible, Gen. 5.2) You can omit this part in subsequent citations.
Citing a Bible on a website If there is no site/page published date, use “n.d.” which stands for “no date.” Reference page structure: Bible name. (Year published). Publisher or Website Name. URL (Original work published year) Reference page PRINT Bible example: Holy Bible – American Standard Version. (n.d.).
Citing the Bible Citing the Version of the Bible The first time you paraphrase or quote from the Bible, identify which version of the Bible that you used. Include both the original and republished publication dates in the reference. You do not need to repeat the version name in subsequent references. Then cite the Bible in your reference list.
Citing the Bible Citing the Version of the Bible The first time you paraphrase or quote from the Bible, identify which version of the Bible that you used. You do not need to repeat the version name in subsequent references. You also do not need to cite the Bible in your bibliography. Example: In-Text Indication of the Bible Version Used
Type the name of the version of the Bible you used in italics, followed by a comma. Then provide the book, chapter, and verse in regular font. Abbreviate the names of books as shown in the MLA handbook. Separate chapter and verse with a period.  Example: ( New International Version, Rom. 12.2). 6
In the newest edition of APA formatting, you need to include a citation for the Bible on your reference page. Format: Title of the Bible, the version. (Year). Publisher. URL (Original work published xxxx) Example: King James Bible. (2020). King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org
When citing from multiple translations within a paper, the version abbreviation should be included within the in-text parentheses. For example, (Mark 3:12, NASB). Books of the Bible should be...