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Citing Scripture

Help in citing biblical passages and other scriptural sources.

Chicago Style -- Books of the Bible

Names of the books of the Bible are not italicized.  Names and versions of the Hebrew and Christian bibles are capitalized but not italicized.  Do not abbreviate books of the Bible in the text of your paper. 

 Example:  2 Samuel 12 records the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of King David.

 Example:  The identity of the author of the book of Hebrews is not certain.

Footnotes/Endnotes/Parenthetical References

Cite the Bible in footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical notes.  You do not need to include the Bible in your bibliography.


When you are citing a particular passage of Scripture, include the abbreviated name of the book, the chapter number, and the verse number—never a page number.  Chapter and verse are separated by a colon.

Example:  1 Cor. 13:4, 15:12-19

Example:  Gn 1:1-2, 2:1-3; Jn 1:1-14

Note that Chicago Style includes two lists of abbreviations for books of the Bible
: a traditional abbreviation list and a shorter abbreviation list.  Click here to see the lists of abbreviations.  You may use either list, but be consistent throughout your paper.  Or if you like, you may check with your professor to see which form s/he prefers.

Include the name of the version you are citing.  You may either spell out the name of the version, at least in the first reference, or you may use abbreviations without preceding or internal punctuation.  After the first citation you need to indicate the version only if you quote from another version.


Examples of parenthetical reference: 

 Examples of footnote or endnote:

(Gen. 12:1-3 Revised Standard Version)

1. Ps. 139:13-16 NAB

(Jn 3:16-17 RSV)

2. Eph 6:10-17

** Information taken from the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., 2017, sections 14.239 - 14.240.