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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.

Turabian Style -- General Guidelines

Referring to whole chapters/whole books of the Bible or Apocrypha in the text

  • Spell out the names of the books; do not italicize or underline them. 

 Example:  2 Samuel 12 records the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of King David.

 Example:  The identity of the author of the book of Hebrews is not certain.

Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical References

Cite the Bible in footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations. 

  • You do not need to include the Bible in your bibliography/reference list.

When you are citing a particular passage of Scripture

  • Include the abbreviated name of the book, the chapter number, and the verse number—never a page number. 
  • Chapter and verse are separated by a colon.

Example:  1 Cor. 13:4, 15:12-19

Example:  Gn 1:1-2, 2:1-3; Jn 1:1-14

Turabian includes two lists of abbreviations for books of the Bible. 

  • A traditional abbreviation list and a shorter abbreviation list. 
  • Access the lists of abbreviations
  • You may use either list, but be consistent throughout your paper.  Or if you like, you may check with your professor.

Include the name of the version you are citing

  • Spell out the name of the version, at least in the first reference, or use abbreviations without preceding or internal punctuation. 
  • After the first citation indicate the version only if you quote from another version.


Examples of parenthetical citation Examples of footnote or endnote
(Gen. 12:1-3 [Revised Standard Version]) 1. Ps. 139:13-16 (NAB)
(Jn 3:16-17 [NAB]) 2. Eph 6:10-17

** Information taken from A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th ed., 2018, sections 17.8.2, 19.8.2, and 24.6.1-4.

Note:  A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, edited by Kate L. Turabian, is an abbreviated version of The Chicago Manual of Style.