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Theological Citations

Religious and Classical References

Religious and classical works are all cited like books. These works can be thousands of years old. They have been published in many languages and are well known internationally. Therefore, you only need to cite these items within the text of your essay and not in the reference list, unless you are using a translated copy.

Translations are common with classical Greek or Roman texts, and you will usually be able to find translation details on the title page or cover. Because translations can vary, you should include the information for the specific item you are using in your reference list.

Sacred works like the Bible are usually treated as having no author, but you need to specify which translation (version) you are using in brackets the first time that you refer to it in text. To quote directly from such works with canonically numbered sections, use the name of the book, chapter, and verse instead of page number(s).
7th edition APA, unlike 6th the edition, requires a reference for the Bible/Qur'an.


  • Narrative citation:
    • (Version, original publication year/publication year)
    • The Bible (King James Bible, 1769/2017) is the record of...
  • In-text
  • Jesus calls us to self-denial and self-sacrifice (King James Bible, 1769/2017).

Bible - direct quote

  • In-text:
    • (Version, original publication year/publication year, abbreviated book chapter:verse).
    • "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it" (King James Bible, 1769/2017, John 1:5).

Bible - paraphrase

  • In-text:
    • Even those who do not study the Bible are likely to know John 3:16, wherein God sacrifices His Son to save the world from itself.

Bible - reference page

  • Reference :
    • King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online. (Original work published 1769)
    • There is no period at the end of this citation.
    • When presenting the title of a specific work in a reference list entry or citation, italicize the title of the work.
    • When referring to the Bible generally or to versions of the Bible generally, do not use italics (e.g., the King James Version of the Bible, the New Revised Standard Version, Holy Bible, the Septuagint).


American Psychological Association. Religious work references.

The University of Notre Dame Australia. (2020, December 3). APA referencing 7th edition. Retrieved from

7th edition APA, unlike the 6th edition, requires a reference for the Qur'an/Bible.
The Bible, Qur'an, Torah, & Bhagavad Gita are all cited the same.

Qur'an - direct quote

  • In-text
    • "Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury" (Qur'an 2:263).

Qur'an - paraphrase

  • In-text
    • The Qur'an 2:263 promotes the value of compassion over retaliation.

Qur'an - reference page

  • Reference:
    • The Qur'an (M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, Trans.). (2004). Oxford University Press.

Reference (box taken from):

The University of Notre Dame Australia. (2020, December 3). APA referencing 7th edition. Retrieved from

Study Bible

  • Narrative citation:
    • Kaiser and Garrett (2006)
  • In-text citation:
    • (Kaiser & Garrett, 2006)
  • Reference:
    • Kaiser, W. C., Jr., & Garrett, D. (Eds.). (2006). NIV archeological study bible: An illustrated walk through biblical history and culture. Zondervan.

APA Guideline Notes:

  • When a classical work (including a religious work) has been annotated by an editor, the editor appears in the author position of the reference.
  • Cite a chapter or verse of the religious work in the text using canonical numbering rather than page numbers: (Kaiser & Garrett, 2006, Genesis 1:20)
  • Cite a portion of the annotated work created by its authors or editors using page numbers from the work: (Kaiser & Garrett, 2006, footnote to Genesis 1:12, p. 4)

Reference (box taken from):

American Psychological Association. Religious work references.

"Include the translator's name in the reference" of classical and religious works (APA, 2020, p. 303). 

Translated Text

  • Narrative citation:
    • Kenko & Chomei (1330-1332/2014)
  • In-text citation:
    • (Kenko & Chomei, 1330-1332/2014).
  • Reference: 
    • Kenko, Y., & Chomei, K. (2014). Essays in idleness and hojoki (M. McKinney, Trans.). Penguin Classics. (Original work published 1330-1332)


American Psychological Association (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association.