How to Cite Biblical Comments in APA

The American Psychological Association publishes guidelines to help writers cite and otherwise format papers in social sciences fields, creating easy-to-read publications with consistent structure. Borrowed information is typically indicated by a parenthetical citation, giving the author’s last name and year of publication; more details about the publication are found on a references page at the end of the paper. When you cite something from the bible, however, the format differs.


In-text citations help your reader find the source of the information in your paper. Page numbers vary from one bible version to another, so the first time you cite the bible, include the name of the version, such as King James Version. Later references to the same bible do not need to give the version. Citations for bible references include the book, chapter and verse with a colon between chapter and verse numbers. The first biblical citation in your paper looks like this:

(Genesis 2:8-9, King James Version).


Bible sources also differ when it comes to the References page. As the sixth edition of the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” explains, religious and other well-known classical works do not have reference page entries. Instead, your reader can find the passage based on the book, chapter and verse detail in the citation since this information is standard among versions. Although these details remain the same, the specific language may vary among versions, which is why it is important to include the version name in your text.