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How to Cite Sources in Turabian 9th ed. and Format Papers: Citing the Bible

by Steve Jung, rev./exp. 05/24 by Sharon Ralston

The Bible and other classic works - Turabian 9th ed. - 17.8

*Do not include the Bible, other sacred works, or classical works in the bibliography. Only include if referencing a specific edition or translation.

Cite Bible verses with chapter and verse(s) using arabic numerals separated by a colon. Do not write out the numbers.

YES:     1 John 2:8-9

NO:     First John chapter two verses eight and nine.

Use abbreviations for the books of the Bible when citing texts or referencing them. Do not abbreviate the name of the book if it starts a sentence or is a reference to the entire book or multiple chapters.

YES:     Revelation 3 begins with the letter to the church in Sardis.

             We know little about the historical Habakkuk.

NO:     Rev 3 begins with the letter to the church in Sardis.

           We know little about the historical Hab.

When quoting the biblical text you should include the version being quoted the first time a version is being used. It will be assumed that you will continue to use that same translation throughout your paper. If you change translations, you must indicate the change. Quoting the biblical text does not require a citation in the reference page. You would only cite the Bible on the reference page, if you used study notes, commentary, articles, maps, or were referencing a specific edition/translation.

"Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria."1

Other quotations would leave out the reference to the translation.


1. 2 Kgs 10:1 NRSV.

A note about numerals and numbers - Turabian 9th ed. - 23.1

Numbers are typically spelled out for one to one hundred, especially if it is done in two words. If the number has two words, use a hyphen. Spell out round numbers followed by hundred, thousand, etc. Numbers like 2.543 are written with numerals even though they are less than one hundred. If the number is to be followed by a measurement, e.g. milliliters, then use numerals and not words. The important aspect is to keep consistent; if a paragraph is presenting mathematical data and one place the data is a round number, continue to use the numerals as that is consistent.

Do not begin a sentence with a numeral.

When citing a Biblical passage, use numerals. The exception is when the numeral would start a sentence, in which case write out the number, e.g. First Peter 2:4 is an important verse....