If you are a theological college student, you may need to know how to cite a Bible in Chicago style.
Crucially, using the correct format and understanding how to cite a Bible in Chicago style will boost the credibility of your thesis and ensure the maximum possible marks.
Definition: How to cite a Bible in Chicago style
To quote in Chicago style, we usually list the book of the Bible, followed by the chapter (or psalm), verse(s), and Bible version.
Next, we will consider three different formats, depending on whether your citation is in the main text, in parentheses, or as a footnote.1
|In the text:||In 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV), the apostle Paul related: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."|
|In parentheses:||The apostle Paul wrote: "… the greatest of these is charity." (1 Corinthians 13:13 [NIV])|
|In a footnote:||1. Corinthians 13:13 (NIV).|
How to cite a Bible in Chicago style: In the text
Chicago style allows traditional or shorter abbreviations for Bible books in parentheses and footnote citations. However, we generally use the longer name in the main text and always for the initial mention.
In addition, give the chapter and verse numbers separated with a colon, then the version.
This format applies to the Old and the New Testaments, including the Gospels and the Apostles’ letters.
How to cite a Bible in Chicago style: Abbreviations
We can abbreviate the names of the books of the Old and New Testaments using either traditional or shorter book name abbreviations. Traditional abbreviations have a period after the abbreviated name, except for short book titles such as Joel, Luke, or John.
In contrast, some shorter abbreviations may appear less intuitive at first sight. You can use either set, but avoid alternating within the same document. Also, your faculty may issue guidance regarding which group to use.
|Full name:||Traditional abbreviation:||Shorter abbreviation:|
|2 Corinthians||2 Cor.||1 Cor|
Additionally, we can abbreviate version names and sections of the Bible. For example, the abbreviation ARV usually suffices instead of writing American Revised Version in full.
A complete list of abbreviations can be found below.3
How to cite a Bible in Chicago style: Different versions
Over the centuries, translations of ancient scriptures have given rise to various Bible versions. Essays, college dissertations, and other academic papers citing the Bible should specify the version. Use the full or abbreviated version title as mentioned above.
The above refers to the American Standard Version of Colossians, chapter 3, verse 2.
|AV||Authorized (King James) Version|
|NEB||New English Bible|
|RSV||Revised Standard Version|
Citing one Bible version
When citing a single version of the Bible in a footnote, give the version after the book, chapter, and verse.
These refer to the New International Version and Revised Standard Version, respectively.
Citing multiple Bible versions
Include the version name after the first citation. Subsequently, indicate only the version(s) if you quote from variations. Also, if you adjust the format to align the citations, readers can easily compare version wording differences.
The above examples of how to cite a Bible in Chicago style quote the New International Version, the New Revised Standard Version, and the Common English Bible, respectively.4
How to cite a Bible in Chicago style: multiple verses or chapters
We cite various verses or chapters using an “en” dash, e.g., Gen 1:1-5, to refer to the first five verses of Genesis.
- Use the “en” or short dash
- Do not use long hyphens to link the chapter and verse numbers
Use a hyphen to link the verse numbers cited.
In the above example, to add the preceding verse, we use:
- 1 Corinthians 13:12-13.
You can also see how to cite a Bible in Chicago style for multiple versions above.
No, do not include page numbers. These depend on book runs and print settings.
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) covers American English usage and is a reference for citations and formatting.
1 “Henry Buhl Library. “Citing the Bible and Other Biblical Resources.” Accessed April 13, 2023. https://hbl.gcc.libguides.com/c.php?g=339562&p=2286666#s-lg-box-6960934.
2 Bible Gateway. “John 11 (NIV).” Accessed April 13, 2023. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2011&version=NIV.
3 “Henry Buhl Library. “Common Abbreviations for Books of the Bible — Chicago.” Accessed April 13, 2023. https://hbl.gcc.libguides.com/c.php?g=339715&p=2284966.
4 Bible Study Tools. “Bible Versions and Translations.” Accessed April 13, 2023. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-versions/.