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Catholic Studies: Citing

Citing the Bible in APA 7

Reference instructions for religious works were only recently added to the APA Publication Manual in the seventh edition.


Here are the rules collected from the APA Publication Manual Seventh Edition (examples follow).

  • Treat religious works as books without an author. If you've consulted a web-based version of the of Bible, use the webpage reference format.
  • Use the publication date of the particular edition you've consulted as the date in the reference list. If two dates are present, include both. In the citation, the dates will be separated by a slash. In the reference list, the original date is included in parentheses at the end of citation.
  • Do not italicize "Bible" or the version ("Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition") when referring to them in a general sense in the body of your essay but do italicize the titles in your references and citations.
  • Do not use page numbers, refer to canonical numbering.
  • Do not abbreviate book of the Bible.
  • If you've consulted an annotated edition of the Bible, include the editors of the edition in the author position in your references and citations.


Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) from an online source and an annotated edition:

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition. (1966). Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) - Bible Gateway. (Original work published 1611)

Kaiser, W. C., Jr., & Garrett, D. (Eds.). (2006). NIV archeological study bible: An illustrated walk through biblical history and culture. Zondervan.

Citation in parentheses:

(Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, 1611/1966)

(Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, 1611/1966, Song of Solomon 8:6)

(Kaiser & Garrett, 2006)

Narrative (title or author is used in a sentence):

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (1611/1966)

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (1611/1966, Song of Solomon 8:6)

Kaiser and Garrett (2006)

Instructions and examples taken from: and sections of 8.13, 8.28, 9.42, and 10.2 of Publication Manual of the American Psychology Association, 7th ed., 2019.

Citing Encyclicals and other Church documents in APA 7

The APA Publication Manual doesn't explicitly contain instructions for Church or Papal documents. Here are suggestions from the APA blog (according to APA 6).


  • Do not treat "Pope" as a first name: No abbreviation nor reordering.
  • Include English title and type of document, if appropriate, in separate square brackets


Laudato Si' using both online Vatican web source and print book from Melville House.

Pope Francis. (2015). Laudato Si’ [On Care for Our Common Home] [Encyclical letter]. Retrieved from:

Pope Francis. (2015). Encyclical on climate change and inequality: On care for our common home. Melville House

Citation in parentheses:

(Pope Francis, 2015)


Francis (2015) declared...

This information is taken from this APA blog post: The instructions are for APA 6 however there's been no substantial change in this part of the APA manual between versions 6 and 7.