How To Cite Bible Verses In An Essay: Citing a Bible Verse in APA & MLA

How To Cite Bible Verse In An Essay: citing bible verse in APA & MLA

When compared to quoting any literature, writers find it easier to quote bible texts in an essay. When it comes to quoting the Bible in an essay, there are no any set rules. Some writers prefer to quote towards the conclusion or even the beginning of a sentence, depending on the situation/instructions given. Making a bible citation in an essay is largely dependent on the structure that you have been assigned to follow, such as the American Psychological Association (MLA) or the APA style. When citing the Bible, follow the standards of the style.

It’s not difficult to include Bible verses in your essay, research paper, or term paper as long as you follow your teacher’s directions and adhere to either the Modern Language Association principles or the American Psychological Association rules. They are slightly different. Always use quotations around biblical verses, and at the end of the quotation, provide the book, chapter, and verse number. In your initial in-text citation, include the name of the Bible version.

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Cite the Bible in MLA Style

When utilizing the MLA format, put parenthesis at the end of your in-text Bible quotation. The Bible edition, book, chapter, and verse are crucial for the initial citation. Include the translation’s complete name, such as New King James Version, New International Version, Living Bible, or New American Standard Bible. The name of the Bible version should be italicized and followed by a comma. After that, write the title of the book, the chapter number (which should be preceded by a colon), and the verse.

For example, if you use the New International Version to quote the first Book of John, Chapter 1, Verse 19, you would write:

 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8 (New International Version).

Steps to Take When Citing the Bible in an Essay in MLA Style

  • Double-check that you typed the biblical passage in the correct spot. In your essay, don’t use citations that aren’t in the right spot.
  • Put quotation quotes around these verses as you type them since they are not your own contractions and you need to acknowledge that you took them from someplace.
  • After the quotations, use parenthesis to quote the precise bible you’re using. The title of the Bible should be highlighted or underlined. After that, write the title of the book, then the chapter, and finally the stanza. As an example; (king James Version, psalms 4:10)
  • Make a page dedicated to “You type in the bible version you’re quoting in italics, then close it with a period. This is followed by the editor’s name and a period. Put a colon after the publication location, then the name of the publisher, a comma, then the year of publication.

Citing the Bible in APA Style

When utilizing the APA format, use parenthesis after your Bible quotation and write the title of the book. After that, separate the chapter and verse numbers with a colon. After the chapter and verse, you enter the name of the individual Bible translation, followed by your closing parentheses.

If you use the New American Standard Bible’s Romans, Chapter 3, Verse 23, as an example, you’d write:

“For we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” (New American Standard Bible, Romans 3:23).

It’s worth noting that nothing in the APA citation is italicized.

Steps to take when citing the Bible in an essay utilizing the APA style

  • Type the bible scripture in the appropriate spot. Because the scriptural verses are not yours, put them in quotation marks.
  • Following the quotation comes the title of the book, chapter, and verse.
  • After the chapter and verse, a specific version of the bible appears in parenthesis. Psalms 4:10, for example (King James Version)


You do not include a reference in APA style “page of “works cited” The Chicago and MLA styles for quoting the Bible are very similar.

When composing your essay, make multiple quotes from the same bible edition, then write only the book name, chapter, and verse throughout.

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