“How Do You Incorporate a Bible Verse in a Paragraph?”

Understanding how to write a Bible verse in a paragraph appropriately aids clarity and ensures respect for the sacred scriptures. This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive understanding of the correct ways to do so.

Basic Formatting

The basic format for citing a verse in the Bible involves the book name, chapter number, and verse number. Effectively, this follows as: Book chapter:verse (e.g.

, John 3:16). Depending on the citation style used, there could be slight variations. For instance, the MLA style replaces the colon with a period (John 3.

16) and APA style includes the translation of the Bible after the verse (John 3:16, New International Version).

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When it comes to Bible translations, always keep in mind to write out the full name of the translation. Refrain from using abbreviations such as KJV and instead use the full ‘King James Version’. Only subsequent citations won’t require the translation unless it changes.

References and Subsequent Citations

In the case of subsequent citations, it’s suggested not to list the Bible in the references at the end of the document. Instead, provide the translation of the Bible within brackets every time you cite a verse. Documentation styles like the Turabian style lay a great emphasis on this citation method.

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Abbreviating Book Names

While abbreviating the book names is acceptable in certain situations, the full name should be spelled out in running text. The abbreviations can come into play in case of a scholarly document containing a large number of citations, where the abbreviations help reduce the prose length.

Avoiding Punctuation Errors

Another critical aspect is to avoid carrying punctuation from the quotation itself or from the surrounding prose into the citation. If there’s a need to put punctuation marks, the full stop at the end of the sending sentence should be outside the parentheses containing the citation.

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Multiple Citations and Non-Biblical Text

When citing multiple scriptures, there is a format to it as well. For instance, multiple citations should be given as a list separated by a semicolon. Also, it is important to note that any additional or non-biblical text in the Bible should be cited as a normal book citation and not as a Bible citation.


Understanding the essentials of writing a Bible verse in a paragraph is crucial for any writer dealing with spiritual or religious texts. While these guidelines should assist writers in appropriately citing and respecting the sacred scriptures, a good rule of thumb is to also refer to the style guides or manuals specific to their domains (MLA, APA, Turabian, etc.).

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