How Do You Quote Just a Portion of a Bible Verse?

Bible verses hold strong meanings and offer in-depth insights that can give a firm context to various topics. Hence, when quoting Bible verses, it becomes crucial to maintain correct citation and formatting process to respect its sanctity. This guide will clarify some simple, effective ways to quote either entire or part of a Bible verse accurately.

Using Quotation Marks

When quoting scripture, the initial quotation mark highlights where you start copying from, and the final quotation mark indicates where you stop. It’s important to remember that the quotation marks mean you are copying word-for-word, and no changes should be made. For example,

“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16)

In case you are quoting something inline already in quotation marks, use single quotation marks within the double quotation marks.

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Reference and Parenthetic Documentation

Once you include a Bible quote, ensure to add a reference that illustrates where the quote came from. If the quote doesn’t include the reference before the quotation, then add the scripture into the parenthetic documentation, for example:

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline”(2 Timothy 1:7)

However, if the scripture reference is provided before the quote, then parenthetic documentation isn’t needed.

Block Quotation for Longer Passages

When quoting a longer passage, one that spans over three lines, it’s common practice to start a new line and indent each line one inch from the left margin. Remember not to add quotation marks unless they appear in the original text. For example:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways submit to him,

And he will make your paths straight.

(Proverbs 3:5-6)

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Using Ellipsis and Italics

Using an ellipsis, which are three consecutive periods with a space on each side [.], to indicate the omission of words or phrases from the verse. However, be cautious not to alter the original intent or meaning of the quote. It’s common practice not to use italics for verses unless required to separate them from the rest of the text.


While quoting a Bible verse, it’s essential to maintain accuracy and respect the original source. Use quotation marks correctly, provide proper references, format longer passages as block quotations, and make use of ellipsis and italics when needed. These practices not only honor the integrity of the scriptures but also provide clarity to the readers.

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