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MLA Style

A guide to MLA style citations for Lincoln Christian University students.

MLA indicates the Bible should be included in your Works Cited page.  Each specific edition or version of the Bible or a named publication such as ESV Study Bible must have its own works cited entry.

1.2.2 Italics

MLA indicates that scripture such as Bible, New Testament, Old Testament, or a specific book of the Bible should not be in italics.  However, if you list a specific published edition of the Bible, that edition should be in italics such as The NIV Study Bible.

1.6.4 Abbreviations

MLA provides a list of abbreviations for specific books of the Bible.  These abbreviations should be used in parenthetical citations. 

2.3 Versions in Works Cited

How to cite the Bible in your Works Cited page depends on what Bible you are using. 

  • For a Bible without additional content, include the version after the title as shown below. 

Holy Bible. Today's New International Version, Zondervan, 2005.

  • For a specific named Bible such as a study bible, use the full title as it appears on the title page and the editor.

ESV Study Bible. General Editor, Wayne Grudem, Crossway, 2008.

3.3.2 In Text Citations for Scripture

The first time a specific edition or publication is used, MLA indicates to state either in the body of the paper or in your parenthetical citation the first part of the works cited entry which is usually the title of the specific Bible used. Then give the abbreviated name of the book followed by chapter and verse number.  Here is an example of a parenthetical citation.

(ESV Study Bible, I Tim 1:3)

Additional parenthetical citations for the same publication use just book, chapter, and verse.  

When changing to a different edition or version, make sure to identify the new version in your parenthetical citation.