How to Cite the Bible in APA Style: Guide with Samples

Biblical references are a must-have when conducting academic research or writing theological papers. The APA 7th edition provides guidelines on how to cite the Bible in APA, encompassing various scenarios such as citing printed versions, online sources, and translated editions. You should consider them as they differ from conventional citing a report in APA. We will outline the main rules for citing the Bible in APA 7th edition and share examples you can go after. 

How to cite the Bible in APA 7th edition?

You know there are primary and secondary sources ─ the Bible should be treated as a primary one. The citation nuances depend on its version, so let’s review each case. 

Printed version

When citing a printed version, include its name in italics, the specific book, chapter, and verse(s) being cited, and the year of publication, also add a.

In-text: "For God so loved the world" (New International Version, 2011, John. 3:16).

Reference list: Bible Version. (Year). Publisher. (Original year of publication)

Online source

For online sources, simply add the URL. 

In-text: "For everything, there is a season" (King James Version, 1769/2017, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Reference list template: Bible Version. (Year). Publisher. URL

Translated edition

Translated edition requires including the translator's name after the book title in the reference list entry.

Reference list: Bible Version (Translator N.K. Last name, Trans.). (Year). Publisher.

APA Bible citation: biblical abbreviations

Look after these rules for Bible in-text citations:

  • Include the version title or translation you are using.
  • Italicize the abbreviated book title.
  • Separate the chapter and verse(s) with a colon.

In-text citation example: "For God so loved the world" (New International Version, 2011, John 3:16).

Paraphrase: According to the New International Version, God loved the world so much (John 3:16).

Original publication dates

When citing a traditional edition of the Bible, it is usually the modern reprint that you will be referencing rather than the original version. The initial date mentioned in your citation represents the date of the reprint, while the original publication date will be added at the end.

However, when it comes to in-text citations, this sequence is reversed. The original publication date is cited first, followed by the date of the edition used, separated by a slash. Here is an example: 

In-text citation: "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (King James Version, 1769/2017, John. 3:16).


Should I add the Bible to my reference list? 

Yes, you should, specifically for the APA 7th edition.

What source is the Bible considered: primary or secondary? 

You should approach it as a primary source. 

If I want to cite the Bible in APA, should I italicize it? 

Yes, the title should be italicized.

Citing the Bible in APA format can be complex, so if you're finding it difficult, you might consider the option to pay someone to do my homework to ensure your citations are correct and complete. Happy writing!

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