APA Bible Citation – Format And Examples

14.06.23 Other examples Time to read: 3min

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The APA format is a commonly used citation style guide in the realm of academic writing. Among others, it is widely used in the fields of psychology, social sciences, and sociology. It is crucial to adhere to the rules of APA consistently throughout your paper to maintain academic integrity and avoid plagiarism. This may bring some challenges, especially when handling sources such as the Bible, as it has specific guidelines different from the ones for journal articles or books. This article outlines the format of an APA Bible citation, with APA examples.

In a Nutshell – APA Bible Citation

  • APA citation is commonly applied in academic writing, specifically in the social sciences.
  • According to APA standards, the Bible is regarded as a classical work.
  • APA cites classical works like the Bible within the text instead of the reference section.
  • When citing the Bible, specify the version in the first citation.
  • It is sufficient for subsequent citations to refer to the book, chapter, and verse.
  • Classical works like the Bible are usually not included in the list of references.

Definition: APA Bible citation

When referencing the Bible and its passages in a written work following APA style guidelines, the APA Bible citation method is applied. The Bible is regarded as a classical work by APA, which affects the way it is cited.

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APA Bible citation: Format for in-text and reference entry

The in-text citation of an APA Bible citation includes the book, chapter, and verse, separated by a colon. Here is the general format:

  • (Book Chapter: Verse, Translation)

For the first time you cite the Bible, you should also include the version of the Bible you’re referencing.


(Genesis 1:1, New International Version)

Subsequent APA Bible citations don’t require the version unless it changes.

In APA style, classical works including the Bible are not usually included in the reference list; instead, you only need to identify the version you used in the first citation.

Examples of APA Bible citation

Here are a few examples of how to cite the Bible in APA style:

First in-text citation: According to the Bible, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1, New International Version).
Subsequent in-text citation: The verse states, "So God created mankind in his own image" (Genesis 1:27).
Citing a classic version: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1, King James Version).
Reference entry: In APA style, the Bible and other classical works are usually not included in the reference list. Instead, the version of the Bible is mentioned in the first citation in the text. Here's how it works.

Note: If you mention the version of the Bible you’re using in your first APA Bible citation, then you do not need to include the Bible in your reference list.

For example, in your text, you would write:


“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, New International Version).

After this point, any other APA Bible citations from the New International Version in your work can simply be cited with book, chapter, and verse.

If for any reason you are required to include a reference entry, or you just want to, it should follow the general book format:


American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Here’s how that might look for the APA Bible citation of the New International Version of the Bible:


(2011). Holy Bible (New International Version). Colorado Springs, CO: Biblica.

Note: For classical works, the publication year is the year of the version you used, not the original year of publication

Biblical abbreviations in in-text citations

When citing the Bible in APA format, it’s acceptable to use standard abbreviations for the books.


  • for Genesis,
  • for Exodus,
  • for Leviticus, etc.


An APA in-text citation of the Bible should include the book, chapter, and verse, separated by a colon. You should also include the version you’re referencing the first time you cite the Bible.


(Genesis 1:1, New International Version).

APA citation for a Bible looks as follows:


“So God created mankind in his own image” (Genesis 1:27).

In APA citation, the Bible is not typically included in the references list. The citation should include the book, chapter, verse, and translation. The first citation should also mention the version of the Bible.


(Genesis 1:1, New International Version).