Biblical Citation

Biblical Citations

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 (16.4.3.1). E.g.,

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). Jesus follows Nicodemus’ question by declaring he must “be born of water and the Spirit” (3:5).


If one version of the Bible is used throughout the paper, identify the version in a footnote. 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 can be done in the parenthetical citation (John 3:3 NASB).


If multiple biblical passages are in a list, separate verses by a comma, chapters and books by a semicolon. For example:

Matthew 6:16, 18; 17:21;  20:16;  Mark 7:8;  16:9-20; Luke 11:2-4, 6; 22:43-44; John 7:53-8:11.

Biblical Abbreviations

Abbreviations follow the format recommended by the Society of Biblical  Literature.

Old Testament

GenesisGenSong of SongsSong/Cant
ExodusExodIsaiahIsa
LeviticusLevJeremiahJer
NumbersNumLamentationsLam
DeuteronomyDeutEzekielEzek
JoshuaJoshDanielDan
JudgesJudgHoseaHos
RuthRuthJoelJoel
1-2 Samuel1-2 SamAmosAmos
1-2 Kings
1-2 KgsObadiahObad
1-2 Chronicles1-2 ChrJonahJonah
EzraEzraMicahMic
NehemiahNehNahumNah
EstherEsthHabakkukHab
JobJobZephaniahZeph
PsalmsPs/PssHaggaiHag
ProverbsProvZechariahZech
EcclesiastesEccl/QohMalachiMal

New Testament

MatthewMatt1-2 Thessalonians1-2 Thess
MarkMark1-2 Timothy1-2 Tim
LukeLukeTitusTitus
JohnJohnPhilemonPhl
ActsActsHebrewsHeb
RomansRomJamesJas
1-2 Corinthians1-2 Cor1-2 Peter1-2 Pet
GalatiansGal1-3 John1-3 John
EphesiansEphJudeJude
PhilippiansPhilRevelationRev
ColossiansCol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s