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Referencing Guide

How to Cite the Bible

open pocket bible on green surface

To cite and reference the Bible or any other sacred text in any citation style, you will need the following information:

  • Title of the Bible
  • Editor(s) (if applicable)
  • Version of the Bible
  • Publication information

For your in-text citation, you will need:

  • the Bible verse(s), including book name, chapter, and verse numbers

Citing the Bible in APA 7th Edition Citation Style

To cite the Bible, provide the book, chapter, and verse. The first time the Bible is cited in the text, identify the version used.

In-text Citations:

Parenthetical citation Narrative citation
(John 3:16 New Revised Standard Version) In John 3:16 (New Revised Standard Version)…

Works cited:
No entry in the References list is needed for the Bible as they are considered a classical work, and only require an in-text citation.

Citing the Bible in MLA 8th Edition Citation Style

When citing the Bible in MLA style, the books of the Bible are abbreviated; see the MLA Handbook for common abbreviations. When you first refer to a particular version, include the name, a comma, and then the passage. After this, only include the scripture reference, unless you switch versions.

In-text Citations:

Parenthetical citation Narrative citation
(New Revised Standard Version, Phil. 3.8) In Phil 3:8 (New Revised Standard Version)…

NB: A period, not a colon, separates chapter and verse.

Works cited:
To cite the Bible in MLA Style, you must add the following in order:

  1. Title of the Bible (italicized)
  2. Version of the Bible
  3. Editor(s)
  4. Publisher
  5. Year

The reference would look like this:
Holy Bible. American Standard Version, Bible Domain Publishing, 2013.

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