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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.

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.