How to Cite a Bible in MLA – Guide & Examples

20.01.23 MLA examples Time to read: 4min

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The Bible is one of the sources you can use in research, and like other sources, it needs to be cited or referenced depending on your paper’s reference style. MLA bible citation has its own unique format. This post provides an exhaustive guide on how to cite a Bible in MLA.

How to Cite a Bible in MLA – In a Nutshell

  • Learning how to cite a Bible in MLA includes knowing the format: the book, chapter, and verse are the most important components. It also requires a specification of the Bible version that has been used.
  • The format for how to cite a Bible in MLA differs depending on whether a print Bible or an online version is used.
  • The Works Cited entry formats differ depending on if the version is already clarified in the title or if clarification is necessary.

Definition: MLA Bible citation

MLA Bible citation differs from other book citations. This is because the MLA bible citation format features the book, chapter, and Bible verse, instead of only a page number. In addition, the “Works Cited” entry should also feature the Bible version you used in your research.

Also, note that the guidelines on how to cite an online Bible in MLA differ from the print version. For instance:

Format for how to cite a Bible in MLA (print version):

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

Format for how to cite a Bible in MLA (online version):

Bible Title. Title of Website/Organization, URL. Accessed Date.

MLA Format Bible Title. Edited by (indicate editor’s first and last name, Publisher, Year, URL.
Works Cited entry in MLA The KJV Bible. Crossway, 1999. www.KJV,org.
In-text citation (KJV Bible, Luke. 6.13)1
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How to cite a Bible in MLA: In-text citation

The MLA style recommends abbreviating the names of the different Bible books in your in-text Bible citation. Also, you should separate the chapter and verse numbers with a period (never a colon).

For example:

(Mark. 4.16) instead of (Mark. 4:16)

Also, you can use an en dash to show the range of verses. In contrast, if the range extends across different chapters, you should include the new chapter number after the dash.

For example:

(Mark. 4.16-21) or (Mark. 4.16-5.1)

Additionally, the first Bible citation in your text should feature the title of the Bible. It should be abbreviated if necessary and without “the” from the beginning.

Example- in-text Bible citation:

(KJV Bible, Mark. 4.16-21)

Note that you can omit the Bible version in subsequent citations if you use the same version for all the citations. However, if you use multiple versions, each should include the title for clarity. Also, include a distinct entry of each version in your Works Cited list. 1

How to cite a Bible in MLA: Works cited entry

When learning how to cite a Bible in MLA, it is vital to learn the Works Cited entry format, as it differs depending on whether the version is already clear from the title or if it needs to be clarified afterwards.

MLA format Bible Title. Edited by editor’s first and last name, publisher, year.
Works cited entry The Bible: New King James Version. Edited by Emma Roberts and Martha Brown, Oxford UP, 2001.
In-text citation (Bible, Mark. 2.16-21)
MLA format Bible Title. Version Name, Edited by editor’s first and last name, publisher, year.
Works Cited entry Holy Bible. New King James Version. Christian Publishing Domain, 2001.
In-text citation (Holy Bible, Mark 1.1)

The clarification usually comes after the title. Also, the version information is capitalized but not italicized. Finally, use a period to separate it from the Bible title.2

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The basic guide on how to cite a Bible in MLA requires that you start with the ‘Works Cited Entry’ with the source title. If your source does not have a number, you should use an alternative locator like a chapter number, audio, or video source to identify the relevant passage in the in-text citation.

The difference is that a Bible citation in MLA features the book, chapter, and verse. In contrast, book citations in MLA only require the page number.

You need the title of the Bible, the editor’s name (if applicable), the Bible version, and publication information.

An in-text Bible citation in MLA needs the Bible’s title, book name, chapter, and verse numbers.


1 EasyBib. “How to Cite the Bible in MLA.” Accessed January 5, 2023.

2 Turner, Alex. “How to Cite the Bible in MLA: Key Rules and Samples.” Writer. July 17, 2020.