With MLA style, you need to cite the Bible two ways: in the text of your paper, and on your Works Cited page.
The first time you include a quote from the Bible, you need to include the translation, chapter (abbreviated), book, and verse, like this:
Paul urges Christians to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (English Standard Version, Rom. 12.2).
If you include quotations from the same translation later in your paper, you only need to include the book, chapter, and verse:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4.6-7).
On your works cited page, your citation should include the translation you used; the editor's name, if given; and the publication information. Examples are given below (note that The Message is slightly different because it has an author, not an editor).
The English Standard Version Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Ed. Michael D. Coogan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002. Print.
English Standard Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message. Bible Gateway. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.
- When you refer to the Bible itself throughout your paper or presentation, you should not set it apart in any way except by capitalizing the word Bible or capitalizing the book you are referring to, such as Matthew, Mark, or Luke.
- When you refer to a specific edition of the Bible, italicize the title like other books. For example, The NIV Study Bible.
Include the Bible on your works cited page only when referencing editorial content. Using Scripture verses in your paper does not warrant the need to cite the Bible as a source on your bibliography. However, referencing specific notes or commentary within a specific study Bible does. List specific study Bibles like other books on your works cited page. Include title, edition, publisher, location, and year.
Use book abbreviations. When you reference specific passages in the Bible, use the abbreviation given for the book. For example, instead of "Matthew 5:16," you would write "Matt. 5:16." Find the appropriate abbreviations for books of the Bible by using a guide provided in many Bibles or by searching online.
Use Arabic numbers. Some traditional writing uses Roman numerals for books: II John. Instead of Roman numerals, stick to the Arabic form: 2 John.
Identify the Bible translation you are using. Most research papers stick with one translation of the Bible (e.g., New Living Translation, New International Version, English Standard Version). Simply reference this in your first citation and leave it out of the others. However, if you are constantly changing from one translation to another, include the translation in every reference.