Learn How to Cite the Bible MLA Format: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Jun 30, 2020 03:00 PM

There might be a time when you ought to quote the Bible or any other religious documents while writing an academic report. Learning how to cite the Bible is not difficult if you know the format.

There are also many citation types that are widely used in an academic context. But, there are three major citation styles used in academic writing. They are Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Chicago. Each type of these citation methods has different formats of what you need to write for citing a source.

In this chance, Tripboba will give you a step-by-step guide on how to cite the Bible in MLA format. Precisely in MLA 8, the latest version of the MLA handbook. This guide includes the format and explanations of citing the Bible from a written version, an electronic version, an eBook Bible, and a Bible app.


How to Cite the Bible MLA

Photo by Fred Erickson on Flickr

1. Why We Need to Cite

Before we move to the steps of how to cite the Bible, you need to know why you need to do a proper citation. For any research paper, the citation of sources is important. This proves you've done the research to create compelling arguments.


Writing citations also lets people appreciate the meaning behind the quotations, and it provides respect to the original writer. To stop plagiarism, all the exact quotations must be quoted. Quoting your references accurately demonstrates you're an accomplished and conscientious academic researcher.


2. What You Will Need

Now, we're moving to the steps on how to cite the Bible for the reference. To write a citation in the reference, you'll need the following information:

- Title of the Bible

- Name of the editor(s) (if applicable)

- The version of the Bible (which may differ from the title)

- Publication information.


What you will need for your in-text citation:

- The title of the Bible

- The Bible verse(s), including book name, chapter and verse numbers

How to Cite the Bible in MLA


3. How to Cite the Print Version of the Bible 

Here's the format of MLA citation format for the reference:

Format: Bible Title, Bible Version. Edited by Editor’s First and Last Name, Publisher, Year of Publication.


Example: Holy Bible, New International Version. Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.


4. How to Cite the Online Version of the Bible

The rules for quoting an online version of the Bible vary from a print edition. Whether the source is an eBook or an app, the rules are also different. Remember that for each web page you quote from the same online Bible (MLA Style Center), you just need to create a single reference page quotation.


Format: Bible Title. Title of Website/Organization, full URL. Accessed Date.


Example: New International Version. Biblica, https://www.biblica.com/bible/niv/genesis/2/. Accessed 22 March 2020.


5. How to Cite the E-book Version of the Bible

Citing an eBook edition of the Bible in MLA is the same as citing every other eBook (MLA Style Center). Because quotes from MLA eBook start with the author's name, jump straight to the title details instead of starting the quotation with the author.


Format: Title. Edition, Format, Publisher, Year of publication.


Example: The King James Version of the Bible. eBook, Project Gutenberg, 2011.

How to Cite the Bible MLA


6. How to Cite from a Bible App with Multiple Translations

List The Bible as the title and use the translation as the version (MLA Style Center). Bible app name in italics, edition (if available), and detailed publication information.


Format: Title. Name of translation Version. App title, version number, Year of app publication.


Example: The Bible. Good News Bible Version. YouVersion, British & Foreign Bible Society, 1996.


7. How to Write the In-Text Citations from the Bible

Whether you're citing a print or an online version of the Bible, the in-text citation has the same format. You'll need the passage that you're reading from the Bible, plus the name of the book, chapter number, and verse number.

For the in-text citation (MLA Handbook 1872), you will use an abbreviated version with longer book titles. As an example, the Genesis book can be abbreviated as Gen. Shorter books can be taken out altogether, such as Mark.


Throughout the start of the first in-text quote, you ought to use the italicized title of the Bible, which will fit the italicized title of the reference list. The remaining quotes in the document will contain just the book name, chapter number, and section number.


In-text citation format:


(Title of Bible, Book Name Chapter.Verse)


All following citations:


(Book Name Chapter.Verse)


Example first in-text citation format:


(New International Version, Gen. 2.1)


Following citations: 


(Gen. 2.5)


(Mark 3.5-7)


(1 Cor. 1.5-11)


In this part, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (King James Version, John 3:16-17).


Some claimed that the Saviour was John the prophet, proven by his stating, “A man can receive nothing, unless it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him” (John 3:27-28).

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