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How To Cite The Bible

MLA Style

General Guidelines:

  • Translations of the Bible or individual books are not underlined, italicized, or placed in quotation marks. However, underline or italicize individual published editions of the Bible.
    • Example: The New Oxford Annotated Bible includes maps of the Holy Land.

Parenthetical Citations:

  • Books of the Bible are abbreviated; see the MLA Handbook for common abbreviations.
    • Example: (Phil. 3.8)
  • A period, not a colon, separates chapter and verse.
  • When you first refer to a particular translation, include the name, a comma, and then the passage.
    • Example: New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 2.6-8
  • After this, only include the scripture reference, unless you switch translations.

Works Cited:

  • Include the title of the Bible, the translation, and the publication information in the citation.

The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. New York: Collins, 1989. Print. New Revised Standard Vers.

Information taken from MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed., 2009, sections 5.5.10, 6.4.8, and 7.7.1.


APA Style

Parenthetical Citations:

  • For your first citation, identify the translation which you used.
    • Example: ( John 3:16 New Revised Standard Version)
  • As part of a sentence:
    • Example: In Psalm 36:1 (New Jerusalem Bible), David…
  • After this, only include the scripture reference, unless you switch translations.

Reference Page:

  • Well-known books such as the Bible do not need to be included on the reference page, unless a professor requires you to do so.

Information taken from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., 2010, section 6.18.