The MLA citation style officially does not require biblical references or sources taken from other well-known classical works to be included in your works cited page. However, your instructor may request MLA bible citations to be included in your research paper, especially if you are writing an essay related to theological or religious studies.
To include MLA bible citations in your reference list, you need to provide the name of the particular edition or translation of the Bible you are consulting, the editors (if available), followed by relevant publication specifics. These data are important because the Bible has a number of various different translations. You also need to identify the Bible format by classifying whether it’s a print or an electronic version.
Below are some MLA citation examples, arranged alphabetically:
Good News Translation Bible. New York: American Bible Society, 1865. Print.
New International Version. Canada: Biblica, Inc., 2011. Online.
The New Jerusalem Bible. Ed. Susan Jones. New York: Doubleday, 1985. Print.
Your in-text MLA citations, on the other hand, should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, and the chapter and verses. As a general rule of the MLA style, the first time you include a direct quote or a paraphrase in the body of your text, you need to indicate the version of the Bible you are using in the in-text citation. This makes clear to your readers at the outset which version of the Bible you are using. Depending on the edition of the MLA Handbook you are following, you either need to underline or italicize the title.
Below are some MLA bible citation examples:
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (King James Bible, Genesis. 3.1).
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Lexham English Bible, Revelation. 3.9).