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How to Cite the King James Bible in MLA


The King James Bible can be difficult to cite because there is no identifiable author for its various verses, versions and translations. The King James version of the bible includes its own set of chapters, verses and books, which can be cited using a special rules set in Modern Language Association (MLA) format. Since you can only cite using the information you know, classic literary works are cited differently than other books and documents.

Cite the King James verse within the text. Follow the verse with the Bible version, book name, chapter number and verse number. Between each piece of information, insert a comma except between the chapter and verse number (put a period). For example, If the verse was found in the Book of John in chapter 3, verse number 12, the citation within the text would be:

"If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" (King James Version, John 3.12).

Cite different verses within the text. If your report is about the King James Bible, it can be assumed that your verses will all be from the same version. If so, you can cite the verse with only the book name, chapter and verse number. For example:

"This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein" (John 12.6).

Put the citation in a "Work Cited" list at the conclusion of your report. If you are typing, make sure to italicize the citation. Write "The Holy Bible: King James Version" followed by the publishing city and state (abbreviated), publisher company name and year it was published. Reference the example for the correct punctuation between each piece of information:

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Dallas, TX: Brown Books Publishing, 2004.

About the Author

Helen Jody Lin has been writing since 2009. She has written screenplays, produced short films and worked in entertainment marketing. Her work has been published in campaigns for Fanscape, a digital media marketing agency. Lin has a thorough knowledge of broad topics such as fitness and extreme sports. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in radio-television-film.

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