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MLA Style (8th Edition) Citation Guide: Biblical Sources


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.


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

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 Bible Commentary

Works Cited List Example  

Franklin, Eric. “Luke.” Oxford Bible Commentary, eBook, Oxford UP, 2001.

In-Text Citation Example

 (Author's Last Name)

 Example: (Franklin)  

Multi-Volume Bible Commentary

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

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)

Citing 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.



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.


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