How to cite the Bible in MLA
In the Works Cited entry, it’s important to list the version of the Bible you used, not just “The Bible.” Include a URL if you accessed an online version of the Bible.
|Format||Bible Title. Edited by Editor first name Last name, Publisher, Year, URL.|
|Works Cited entry||The ESV Bible. Crossway, 2001, www.esv.org/.|
|In-text citation||(ESV Bible, Matt. 1.2)|
MLA in-text citations of the Bible
Additionally, chapter and verse numbers are separated by a period in MLA style, not a colon—unlike in some other styles.
- (Ezek. 1:5)
- (Ezek. 1.5)
Use an en dash to indicate a range of verses. If the range extends across chapters, include the new chapter number after the dash; otherwise, don’t repeat the chapter number.
- (Ezek. 1.5–1.6)
- (Ezek. 1.5–6)
- (Ezek. 1.5–2.1)
The first Bible citation in your text should include the Bible’s title, abbreviated if necessary (and always omitting “The” from the beginning).
You can omit this part in subsequent citations. However, if you are citing multiple different versions of the Bible, include the title each time to clarify which you’re referring to, and include a separate entry for each version in your Works Cited list.
Version information in the Works Cited entry
The format of the Works Cited entry varies depending on whether the version is already clear from the title or needs to be clarified afterwards. Use the following format if the version is already clear from the title.
|Format||Bible Title. Edited by Editor first name Last name, Publisher, Year.|
|Works Cited entry||The Bible: Authorized King James Version. Edited by Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett, Oxford UP, 2008.|
|In-text citation||(Bible, Gen. 5.2)|
If the version needs to be clarified, do so after the title. This version information is capitalized but not italicized, and it is separated from the title with a period.
|Format||Bible Title. Version Name, edited by Editor first name Last name, Publisher, Year.|
|Works Cited entry||Holy Bible. American Standard Version, Bible Domain Publishing, 2013.|
|In-text citation||(Holy Bible, John 1.1)|
Frequently asked questions about MLA citations
- How do you write a book title in MLA?
In MLA style, book titles appear in italics, with all major words capitalized. If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon and a space (even if no colon appears in the source). For example:Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
The format is the same in the Works Cited list and in the text itself. However, when you mention the book title in the text, you don’t have to include the subtitle.