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University of Portland Clark Library

MLA Style (9th Edition) Citation Guide: Biblical Sources

Formatting

Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

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

Tips

Name of Generic Religious Texts in the Body of Your Paper

Do not italicize or use quotation marks in your paper when referring to a generic religious text. These terms appear without italics or quotation marks when referred to in your paper:

Bible, Old Testament, Genesis, Gospels, Talmud, Qur'an (Koran), Upanishads.

Only italicize titles of individual published editions of religous texts (e.g., The Talmud of the Land of Israel: A Preliminary Translation and Explanation, The Interlinear Bible, etc.) when specifically citing them in your paper.

In-Text Citations

The titles of books of scripture are often abbreviated for the in-text citation. For a full list of abbreviations, consult section 1.6.4 of the MLA Handbook.

Bible Dictionary

Print:

Works Cited List Example:

 Sarna, Nahum. M. “Exodus, Book of.” The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, edited by Daniel Noel Freedman, vol. 2, Yale UP, 2008, pp. 689-700.

In-Text Citation Example:

 (Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Sarna 690)  


Online:

Works Cited List Example:

Browning, W. R. F. “Daniel, Book of.” A Dictionary of the Bible, 2nd ed., Oxford UP, 2009. Oxford Reference, www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199543984.001.0001/acref-9780199543984-e-485.

In-Text Citation Example:

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

 Example: (Browning)  

Single-Volume Commentary

A single-volume commentary is a book that contains chapters covering each of the books of the Bible.


Print:

Works Cited List Example:

Perkins, Pheme. “The Gospel According to John.” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy, Prentice-Hall, 1990, pp. 942-85.

In-Text Citation Example:

(Author's Last Name) Page Number

Example: (Perkins 955)  


Online:

Works Cited List Example:

Franklin, Eric. “Luke.” Oxford Bible Commentary, edited by John Barton and John Muddiman, Oxford UP, 2001. ProQuest Ebook Central, ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/up/detail.action?docID=3052723&pq-origsite=primo.

In-Text Citation Example:

(Author's Last Name)

 Example: (Franklin)  

Multi-Volume Bible Commentary

A multi-volume commentary is a set of multiple books that contains chapters covering each of the books of the Bible.


Works Cited List Example:

Perkins, Pheme. “Mark.” The New Interpreter’s Bible, edited by Leander E. Keck, vol. 8, Abingdon Press, 1994, pp. 507-734. 

In-Text Citation Example:

 (Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Perkins 601) 

Book-Length Commentary in a Series

A book-length commentary is a book that includes commentary on just one book of the Bible (and sometimes only part of one book of the Bible).


Print:

Works Cited List Example:

Vinson, Richard Bolling. Luke. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Smyth & Helwys, 2008. 

In-Text Citation Example:

 (Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Vinson 302)


Online:

Works Cited List Example:

Vinson, Richard Bolling. Luke. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary. Smyth & Helwys, 2008. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=942774&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

In-Text Citation Example:

 (Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Vinson 302)

Citing the Bible

Citing the Version of the Bible

The first time you paraphrase or quote from the Bible, identify which version of the Bible that you used. You do not need to repeat the version name in subsequent references. You also do not need to cite the Bible in your bibliography.

Example:

In-Text Indication of the Bible Version Used

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

Bibliography

No citation needed


Citing Biblical Chapters and Verses

When referring to books of the Bible within the body of your paper:

  • If you're referring to the book of the Bible as a whole, or a chapter of a book of the Bible (but without specific verses), use the full name of the book of the Bible 
    • Example: Genesis, Luke 4, Revelation 1-3

  • If you're referring to a specific chapter and verse(s), abbreviate the name of the book of the Bible (see a list of abbreviations for the Old Testament, Apocrypha, and New Testament)
    • Example: Exod 2:1-3; Matt 13:12

Note: it isn't necessary to add a period after the abbreviated book name. Include a space between the book name and the chapter number, and include a colon between the chapter number and the verse(s).


Citing Introductions, Annotations, or Supplemental Content in the Bible

Works Cited List Examples:

Carr, David M. Introduction to Genesis. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version, edited by Michael D. Coogan et al., Oxford UP, 2010, pp. 7-11. 

Kaiser, Walter C. and Duane Garrett, editors. Footnote to Genesis 1:12. NIV Archaeological Study Bible: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture, by Kaiser and Garrett, Zondervan, 2006, p. 20.

In-Text Citation Examples:

(Carr 8)

(Kaiser and Garrett 4)

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