Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citing the Bible and other Biblical Resources

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

Chicago Style -- General Guidelines

  • Books and versions of the Bible are NOT

    • underlined 

    • italicized

    • or put in "quotation marks" 

  • Names and versions of the Hebrew and Christian bibles are capitalized. 

  • Do not abbreviate books of the Bible in the text of your paper. 

 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 notes. 

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


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

Note that Chicago Style 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 to see which form s/he prefers.

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 you need to indicate the version only if you quote from another version.


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

** Information taken from the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., 2017, sections 14.239 - 14.240.