When compared to citing any literature, writers find it easier to quote Bible texts in an essay. When it comes to quoting the Bible in an essay, there are no hard and fast rules. Sometimes authors would quote at the conclusion or even the beginning of a sentence, whatever is appropriate. That being said, here are some guidelines on how to properly quote scripture in an essay.
First, you need to identify which part of the Bible you want to refer to when writing your essay. Do not simply quote the whole book or passage without identifying where in the text you are doing so. If necessary, look up the relevant section in an online Bible dictionary.
For example, if you were writing an essay on Abraham Lincoln and needed to cite some words from Isaiah 41:4, you would first have to figure out which part of the Bible chapter is relevant to the topic at hand. In this case, we will use the KJV version because that is what our example writer prefers, but you should know that most versions include similar information in their definitions for popular biblical names like Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. From there, you could read through the definition to get an idea of its meaning before moving on to the next step.
Second, once you have found the right verse or passage, copy it down. Do not simply paraphrase it because that does not give credit to the original author.
Always use quotes around scriptural texts and add the book, chapter, and verse number at the conclusion. In your initial in-text citation, include the name of the Bible version. For example, if you are using The New King James Version, write "NIV". If you are not sure of the version, leave it out altogether and just list the word Bible.
Always start with the words "The Holy Bible..." or "The Holy Scriptures..." In your initial in-text citation, include the name of the book being quoted. For example, if you are quoting John 3:16, write "John 3:16".
If the quote is from the Old Testament, then cite it as either the KJV (King James Version) or NIV (New International Version). If you aren't sure which version was used, leave it off completely and just refer to the Bible. This is called an "informal" citation style because you are not required to state the version of the Bible being quoted. However, doing so makes it easier for others to find information about the text.
For a more formal style of citation, always begin with the phrase "From the Book of..." Or "From the Holy Bible, cited here..." Then provide the page number for the specific passage being referenced.
When citing Scripture, use quotation marks at the beginning and end. The starting quote mark indicates where you begin copying, and the end quotation mark indicates where you complete copying. A friendly reminder that quote marks indicate that you are copying word for word. Nothing should be changed. Change anything in the quoted material and it no longer quotes something said by its writer or speaker.
In other words, when quoting someone else's work (including poems, songs, and stories), you need to include some form of indication that you are not speaking for yourself but are referring to someone else. This does not mean that you have to identify yourself as someone who wrote something else at any point during your speech or writing process. Rather, you should state clearly and unequivocally that what follows is not your own idea or opinion but comes from some other source.
The in-text citation format is the same whether you are quoting a print or online edition of the Bible. You'll need the Bible passage you're reciting, as well as the book, chapter, and verse number. In your in-text citation, you will utilize an abbreviated version of lengthy book titles (MLA Handbook 1872). Thus, if the title of the book you are referencing is "The Life of Jesus Christ," then your in-text citation would read like this: "John 19:37."
In addition to in-text citations, there are three other types of biblical references that commonly appear in essays: reference lists, footnotes, and parenthetical citations.
A reference list is a compilation of all the sources used by the author during their research process. While it may seem unnecessary to include these sources in your own essay, doing so will help readers understand how much evidence supports the ideas you are presenting. Additionally, any additional information found in these sources - such as additional facts or examples related to your topic - should be included in your own essay.
Footnotes are notes written at the bottom of a page which provide additional information about a quote or statement made in the text. These notes are typically numbered sequentially through the document with each number corresponding to the line on which the footnote can be found.
Begin the quotation on a new line, with the full quotation indented 1/2 inch from the left margin and double spaced. Your parenthetical citation should come after the final period. Maintain the original line breaks when citing verse. (Continue to use double spacing throughout your text.)
To cite a specific sentence or excerpt from a work, start with the word "quoted on" followed by the page number where the sentence can be found. For example, if I wanted to cite the first sentence of this paragraph, I would type "quoted on p. 3". Continue doing so for every sentence or excerpt you want to include in your essay.
When referencing a chapter or section, use the following format: "chap. 2," "sec. 3." Start with the chapter number and then the section number. These can be found at the top of each chapter and section. When referring to a particular sentence or phrase, put the sentence in quotes ("the quick brown fox"). Although it is not required, it is helpful to note the source of the quoted material (e.g., "a famous author" or "from my textbook").
In addition to using quotations in essays as evidence for your points, they can also be effective tools for creating dynamic presentations. Using single sentences or short excerpts, create a slide show that gets your point across quickly and effectively.