How to Cite the Bible in APA

The Bible is a collection of religious books frequently used to reference different types of academic papers. Biblical references are mandatory when carrying out research or composing theology papers. You can use the guidelines of the APA 7th edition to cite the Bible, which includes citing translated versions, online sources, and also printed editions. 

This article provides great insights on how to cite the Bible in APA 7th edition. Learn the basic rules for citing the Bible in APA and get inspiration from the examples we provide.

How to Cite the Bible in APA 7th Edition

Citing the Bible in APA is similar to citing a book. However, there are some specific rules you must follow when citing Bible texts. It is imperative to note that the Bible is considered a collection of books without an author. Thus, you should cite the Bible texts and references according to the specific version that was used. The Bible version acts as the title of your citation. Also, ensure you add the precise text location, whether you intend to use it as a paraphrase, quote or summary. 

Keep in mind that the Bible has primary and secondary sources; the printed Bible version is considered the primary version, while others are secondary. As stated above, citations depend on the Bible version in question. So, let us review APA Bible citations for different versions. 

Printed Bible Version

If you want to cite a printed version, ensure you write the name of the Bible version in italics, followed by the particular book, chapter, and verse(s) you want to cite. 


In-text citation: I am the bread of life” (King James Version, 2011, John 6.35).

Reference list: King James Version. (2011). Christian Publishers. (Original Year of Publication)

Translated Bible Version 

In this case, you must include the translator’s name after the Bible version in the reference list. Then, include the year of publication and the publisher’s name. 


Reference list: New International Version (Translator B.K. Smith, Trans. (2009). Christian Publishers.

Online Source

You can also cite a Bible on a website or any other online source by adding the URL. 


In-text citation: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (New International Version, 1973/2011, Proverbs 3:4-6).

Reference list: Bible Version. Year of publication. Publisher/Website Name. URL (Original Work Published Year)

New International Version. (2011). Biblica. (URL). 1973

APA Bible Citation: Biblical Abbreviations

Mastering how to cite the Bible in APA format is simple if you understand the rules. Below are essential rules for in-text bible citations:

  • Add the name of the Bible version or translation you are citing. 
  • Include an abbreviated Bible title.
  • Write the abbreviated title in italics. 
  • Use a colon to separate the chapter from the verse. 


In-text citation: “I am the bread of life” (King James Version, 2011, John 6:35).

Paraphrase: According to the King James Version, Jesus declared that he is the bread of life (John 6:35).

Original Publication Dates

When you want to cite a traditional Bible version, you will reference the modern reprint instead of the original version. The first date in the citation represents the year of reprint, while the original year of publication will be at the end of the reference list. 

In contrast, the order is reversed for in-text citations. The original year of publication is cited first, then the year of the reprint, with a slash separating the dates. 

Here are examples of the in-text citation and reference list structures:

  • In-Text

Suppose you want to quote or paraphrase a specific excerpt from a verse. In that case, you should include the Bible version, year(s) (ensure you add the original year of publication, include a slash, and the year of the publication of the version you are using), chapter, and verse. 

“Let the little children come to me” (New International Version, 1973/2011, Mark 10:14).

(Bible Version name, Year, Name of Chapter: Verse)

  • Reference List

Bible Version. (Year). Publisher. (Original Publication year)

New International Version (2011). Christian Publishers. (1973)

Learning how to quote the Bible in APA can be challenging, but with practice and understanding the rules, you will become a pro. 

If you need further assistance, talk to us and experience a fulfilling academic journey. 

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