APA Bible Citation

This article will cover the details of the American Psychological Association (APA) bible citation style. The bible is classified as a classical work together with the Quran. For classical works, APA requires no citation in the reference list; hence the bible is only cited in the in-text citation with the following elements: book chapter, verse, and translation. These elements are enough to guide the readers in locating specific information from the bible since its sections are standardized for all editions, versions, or translations.


Reference List

Basic Format: (Book Chapter: Verse Translation)

Example:And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6 King James Version)


If the book chapter and verse is part of the narrative, only include the translation within parentheses.

Basic Format: Book Chapter: Verse (Translation)

Example: In 1 Kings 3:6 (King James Version), Solomon said…


  • The book chapter and the verse are separated by a colon.
  • No punctuation mark is necessary between the verse and translation.
  • The name of the book may be abbreviated in the in-text citations.


“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon” (1 Cor. 3:10 King James Version)

Note: Cor. is the abbreviated form of Corinthians.

  • Include the version of the bible you used in the first citation (e.g. New International Version, English Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, and King James Version). In the subsequent citations, there is no need to indicate the version unless you use a different one.


1st Citation: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12 King James Version)

Subsequent Citation: “And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (Leviticus 4:7)