Biblical Citation

Parenthetical Citation of Bible References

It is common for papers in the fields of Bible and theology to cite or reference the Bible throughout the paper. This is particularly true for exegetical papers that interact extensively with the biblical text. Rather than placing these references in a footnote, the department requires students to employ parenthetical citation following the citation or reference.

Jesus made clear the necessity of spiritual rebirth when he told Nicodemus “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

If the reference appears in the sentence, no parenthetical citation is necessary. If the context of the discussion makes clear the larger context of the book, the parenthetical citation can include just the chapter and verse(s).

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Nicodemus you must be “born again” (3:3). Nicodemus responds with a sense of bewilderment and Jesus declares that he must “be born of water and the Spirit” (3:5).

Identification of the Version of the Bible

References to Bible versions should not include the publisher’s information in either the footnotes or bibliography. Instead, refer to bible versions by their standard abbreviations (e.g., NIV, ESV, NASB, NRSV; see “Abbreviations of Bible Versions” at the end of this guide, also SBLHS2 8.3.1-3).

If one version of the Bible is used throughout the paper, identify the version in a footnote. After the first time the Bible is used in the paper, a footnotes with a phrase such as “All references are from the NASB and for all future references unless noted” will suffice. If, on the other hand, various versions are used, these must be identified with each reference; otherwise the reader will not know the version. This should be done in the parenthetical citation (John 3:3, NASB).

How to List Multiple Biblical References

If multiple biblical passages are in a list, separate verses by a comma; chapters and books by a semicolon. Use an en dash to show a range of verses.

Matthew 6:16, 18; 17:21; 20:16; Mark 7:8; 16:9–20; Luke 11:2–4, 6; John 7:53–8:11.

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