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MLA Style Guide, 9th Edition


Abbreviations. The titles of the books of the Bible are often abbreviated in parenthetical citations. Refer to this list of abbreviations from Grove City College to see the recommended abbreviations.

Books and versions of the Bible are NOT:

  • underlined
  • italicized 
  • put in "quotes"

But titles of individual editions of the Bible are italicized in the Works Cited entry and in your essay. For example, The English Standard Version Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha.

Writing an exegesis? See this page for helpful instructions on how to cite Bible commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and more.


Works Cited Page

References to the Bible should follow the format below:

Name of the Edition Italicized. Name of Editor, editor. Publisher, Date, Location (if applicable). 

In-Text Citations

Parenthetical references to books of the Bible include the edition in the first citation (especially if you use more than one edition in your essay). They always include chapter (abbreviated) and verse. Underline or italicize the title of the version you're using:

  • John of Patmos echoes this passage when describing his vision (New Jerusalem Bible, Rev. 4.6-8).

If you're only using one version of the Bible, you may omit the title of your version/translation from subsequent citations:

  • (1 Chron. 21.8-11)