Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

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.

Citing the Qur’an

The Qur’an or Koran as it may be spelled by Americans, is cited similarly as the Bible.

  • Capitalize the names of the works (Qur’an or Koran)
  • Italicize the names of their parts (al-Baqarah)
  • Use Arabic numerals and colons.

Chicago Manual of Style recommends scholars who research heavily in ancient and early religious matters should consult the SBL Handbook of Style. 

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.

Although most styles do not require a source citation, MLA Stye is one that does. If you’re writing an MLA research paper, make sure to follow the guidelines for creating biblical source citations. 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.

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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.

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