This page contains enriched content visible when JavaScript is enabled or by clicking here. Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

University of Portland Clark Library

APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Biblical Sources

Formatting

Note: All citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent in a Reference List.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

Below is a link to an APA sample paper that contains instructions about how to format a hanging indent in a paper.

Bible Dictionary

Print:

Example:

Sarna, N. M. (2008). Exodus, book of. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale bible dictionary (Vol. 2, pp. 689- 700). Yale University Press.

In-Text Paraphrase:

(Author's Last Name, Year)

Example: (Sarna, 2008) 

In-Text Quote:

(Author's Last Name, Year, p. Page Number)

(Sarna, 2008, p. 690)


Online:

Example:

Browning, W. R. F. (2009). Daniel, book of. In A Dictionary of the Bible (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199543984.001.0001/acref9780199543984-e-485

In-Text Paraphrase:

(Author's Last Name, Year)

Example: (Browning, 2009) 

In-Text Quote:

(Author's Last Name, Year) - if the online source does not provide page numbers then omit the page number from the in-text citation

(Browning, 2009) 

Single-Volume Commentary

Print:

Example:

Perkins, P. (1990). The gospel according to John. In R. E. Brown, J. A. Firzmyer, & R. E. Murphy (Eds.), The new Jerome biblical commentary (pp. 942-85). Prentice-Hall.

In-Text Paraphrase:

(Author's Last Name, Year)

Example: (Perkins, 1990)

In-Text Quote:

(Author's Last Name, Year, p. Page Number)

(Perkins, 1990, p. 955) 


Online:

Example:

Franklin, E. (2001). Luke. In J. Barton and J. Muddiman (Eds.), Oxford bible commentary. Oxford University Press. http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy-eres.up.edu:2048/lib/uportland/reader.action?docID=10269141

In-Text Paraphrase:

(Author's Last Name, Year)

Example: (Franklin, 2001)

In-Text Quote:

(Author's Last Name, Year, p. Page Number) - if the online source does not provide page numbers then omit the page number from the in-text citation

(Franklin, 2001) 

Multi-Volume Bible Commentary

Example:

Perkins, P. (1994). Mark. In L. E. Keck (Ed.), The New interpreter’s bible (Vol. 8, pp. 507-734). Abingdon Press.

In-Text Paraphrase:

(Author's Last Name, Year)

Example: (Perkins, 1994) 

In-Text Quote:

(Author's Last Name, Year, p. Page Number)

(Perkins, 1994, p. 601) 

Book-Length Commentary in a Series

Print:

Example:

Vinson, R. B. (2008). Luke. Smyth & Helwys bible commentary. Smyth & Helwys. 

In-Text Paraphrase:

(Author's Last Name, Year)

Example: (Vinson, 2008) 

In-Text Quote:

(Author's Last Name, Year, p. Page Number)

(Vinson, 2008, p. 302)


Online:

Example:

Vinson, R. B. (2008). Luke. Smyth & Helwys bible commentary. Smyth & Helwys. https://login.ezproxy-eres.up.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=942774&sit e=ehost-live&scope=site

In-Text Paraphrase:

(Author's Last Name, Year)

Example: (Vinson, 2008) 

In-Text Quote:

(Author's Last Name, Year, p. Page Number)

(Vinson, 2008, p. 302)

Citing the Bible

The first time you paraphrase or quote from the Bible, identify which version of the Bible that you used. Include both the original and republished publication dates in the reference. You do not need to repeat the version name in subsequent references. Then cite the Bible in your reference list.

Example:

King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/ (Original work published 1769)

In the body of your paper, include a sentence similar to this:

The researchers consulted the Bible (King James Version, 1769/2017) to provide items for the development of their religious values assessment.


Bibles that have annotations, introductions, or other supplemental content should cite the editors in place of authors.

Example:

Kaiser, W. C., Jr., & Garrett, D. (Eds.). (2006). NIV archaeological study bible: An illustrated walk through biblical history and culture. Zondervan.

In-Text citations:

(Kaiser & Garrett, 2006, Genesis 1:20)

(Kaiser & Garrett, 2006, footnote to Genesis 1:12, p. 4)


See the APA "Religious Work References" page for more guidance.

Bible Chapters and Verses

Note: For a complete list of abbreviations for books of the Bible, See p. 139 of the Society of Biblical Literature Handbook of Style.

In-Text Citations

In APA style, cite a chapter or verse in biblical text using canonical numbering rather than page numbers:

  • The person vowed to “set me as a seal upon thine heart” (King James Bible, 1769/2017, Song of Solomon 8:6).

How to Refer to Titles of Bible books

If you are referring to a book or a chapter of a book, but not specific verses, you need to write out the name of the book in full. Abbreviations are customary for citing book and chapter with specific verses. It is not customary to use periods after abbreviated book names, but do put spaces between the abbreviations and chapter numbers. Thus: Romans or Romans 9, but: Rom 9:2.

Details on Canonical Numbering of Books, Chapters, Verses

  • Use colons between chapter and verse numbers. [Matt 13:12 means verse 12 of chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel. FYI: Europeans use a different format, putting commas here.]
  • Use commas between verse numbers of the same chapter [Mark 2:13, 17 means chapter 2, verses 13 and 17 only] and between chapter numbers, but only if no verses are given [Rev 1, 4 means chapters 1 and 4 of the Book of Revelation].
  • Use semicolons between references that give chapter and verse numbers from different chapters [2:13; 3:6 means the two verses 2:13 and 3:6 only].
  • Use a single dash between verses to indicate "from-to" within one chapter [Mark 2:13-17 means chapter 2, from verse 13 to verse 17] or between chapter numbers without verses [Genesis 1-4 means chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Book of Genesis].
  • [For recognition only - not common in the U.S: Sometimes you will see a double dash to indicate "from--to" between different chapters (with or without spaces, does not matter much).]

Summary`

Matt 13:12 means verse 12 of chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel

Romans 9 means all of chapter 9 of Paul's Letter to the Romans

Rev 1, 4 means chapters 1 and 4 of the Book of Revelation

Genesis 1-4 means chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Book of Genesis

Mark 2:13, 17 means chapter 2, verses 13 and 17 only

Mark 2:13-17 means chapter 2, from verse 13 to verse 17

2:13; 3:6 means the two verses 2:13 and 3:6 only

2:13 - 3:6 means the whole section from 2:13 to 3:6 (sometimes seen as 2:13 – 3:6, using the double dash)

library@up.edu | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
© 2020 University of Portland, All Rights Reserved | Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com