Learn and Master Bibliographies, Works Cited, and References

Citing the Bible in Chicago


Most citation styles do not require a bibliographic entry for citing sources such as the Bible and other scared works, including Chicago  author-date or notes-biblio style. However, you do need to create an in-text or parenthetical citation in your paper.

Citing the Bible in Chicago

Creating Biblical Citations

While creating biblical citations, include the abbreviated name of the book, the chapter number, and the verse number. Do not include a page number.  Chicago style allows traditional or shorter abbreviations for the names of books but check with your teacher for his/her preference.

Use Arabic Numerals

Use Arabic numerals in your citation for:

  • Chapter and verse numbers separated by a colon
  • Numbered books.

Create In-text Citations for the Bible

The first time you include an in-text citation, include the version of the Bible. For example: New Living Translation.

In your first in-text citation, include the version, either using the full name or accepted abbreviations in brackets within the parentheses for author-date style. In notes-biblio style, simply include the version within parentheses.


Author-Date Style:

  1. (2 Kings 11:8 [New Living Translation])
  2. (2 Kings 11:8 [NLT])

Notes-Biblio Style:

  1. 2 Kings 11:8 (New Living Translation).
  2. 2 Kings 11:8 (NLT).

Note: For other sacred works, use the same format as biblical citations.

Here is a list of some of the traditional abbreviations you may use in your citations:

Old Testament

Old TestamentOT

New Testament

New TestamentNT
1 John1 John (Epistle)

You may also use these shorter abbreviations.

Shorter Abbreviations

1 Jn1 John (Epistle)

Note: Shorter abbreviations do not have a period after them.

*For a full list of abbreviations, consult A Manual for Writers, 9th edition.

Citing the Bible and other religious texts is easy in Chicago style because you do not have to create a bibliographic entry. Simply include it within the text or as a note. Check with your teacher to see if you can use the shorter abbreviations.

About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico. As Editor-in-Chief of SJSU School of Information SRJ. Adrienne guided the editorial team through the scholarly journal’s double-blind, peer reviewed process to provide quality, cited articles to library information and science researchers. Her passion for digital inclusion and information literacy led her to volunteer as a digital training team member of Librarians Without Borders. Adrienne has over 25 years of experience as a freelance writer and editor.

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