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Citing the Bible and other Biblical Resources

This guide will help users cite the Bible, and Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, and atlases.

MLA Style -- General Guidelines

Books and versions of the Bible are NOT

  • underlined 

  • italicized

  • or put in "quotation marks" 

However, the titles of individual published editions of the Bible are italicized.

Example:  The King James Version of the Bible was originally published in 1611. 

Example:  The NIV Study Bible includes an introduction to each book of the Bible.

Parenthetical References

  • In parenthetical references,  the titles of the books of the Bible are often abbreviated. Click here to see the list of common abbreviations for books of the Bible found in the MLA Handbook.

               Example:  (2 Cor. 5.17)

  •  A period separates chapter and verse.
  •  The first time you refer to a particular version of the Bible, state the first element in that works-cited list entry (which is usually the name of the version), followed by a comma.

               Example:  (New International Version, Gen. 3.15)

  • You do not need to identify the first element of the entry (again, usually the version) in subsequent references unless you switch to a different version. You can simply cite chapter and verse.

               Example:  (Gen. 3.27)

Works Cited

In your Works Cited, include the title of the Bible, the version, and the publication information.

Here are some examples for citing print and online editions of the Bible:

Example:  Zondervan NIV Study Bible. General editor, Kenneth L. Barker, full rev. ed.,
                    Zondervan, 2002.

ExampleThe English Standard Version Bible: Containing the Old and 
                     New Testaments with Apocrypha,
Oxford UP, 2009. 

Example:  New International Version. Biblica, 2011.,


** Information taken from MLA Handbook, 8th ed., 2016, section 3.3.2.