Answered By: Terri Bogan
Last Updated: Oct 11, 2017     Views: 159944

This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for citing Bibles and Bible scripture.
Last edited: 2017 Oct. 11.

With MLA style, you need to cite the Bible two ways:

  • In the text of your paper
  • On your Works Cited page.

In Text (parenthetical references)

The first time you borrow from the Bible, include the element that begins the entry in your works cited list -- usually the title of the version, abbreviated name of the book, and chapter and verse numbers. Subsequent citations of the same version are cited by providing divisions alone (book, chapter, verse). Here is an example:

Paul urges Christians to "not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will" (New International Version, Rom. 12.2).


  • You do not need to identify the version in subsequent references unless you switch to a different version.
  • A period (instead of the typical colon) separates the chapter and verse.

Works Cited

On your works cited page, a citation should include: 1) the version you used; 2) the editor's name, if given; and 3) the publication information. Examples are given below (note that The Message is slightly different because it has an author, not an editor).

Printed Bibles

The Holy Bible: New International Version. Zondervan, 1984.

The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Edited by Michael D. Coogan, Oxford University Press, 2007.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. NavPress, 2002.

Bible Gateway

New International Version. Bible Gateway, Accessed 29 Jul. 2013.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message. Bible Gateway, Accessed 29 Jul. 2013.


  • Use a hanging indent and double space your Works Cited page.

Comments (1)

  1. Double check with your instructor which edition of the MLA Handbook he or she is expecting you to use.
    by chadmander on Oct 09, 2017.