AP Style Bible

The AP Stylebook has a number of different rules and guidelines to follow when referring to the Bible in your text.

Capitalize Bible, without quotations marks, when referring to the Scriptures of the Old Testament or the New Testament. For example,

  • We read the Bible in church every Sunday.

You should also always capitalize related terms such as the Gospels, the Gospel of John, the Holy Scriptures, etc.

All individual books of the Bible such as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, etc., should also be capitalized but never abbreviated.

  • Wrong: The Book of Gen. is the first book of the Bible.
  • Correct: The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible.

Use lowercase when using biblical in all uses. For example,

  • The debate brought together the world’s top biblical scholars.

Use lowercase when using Bible in all nonreligious uses. For example,

  • The AP Stylebook is the bible of all stylebooks.

The Old Testament is a Christian designation whereas the Hebrew Bible or Jewish Bible is the appropriate term for stories dealing with Judaism alone.

The standard Protestant Bible has 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Jewish Bibles contain the same 39 books of the Old Testament but in a different order. Roman Catholic Bibles also follow a different order and usually use some different names. Roman Catholic Bibles also include the seven Deuterocanonical books (which are called the Apocrypha by Protestants) of Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch.

When citing a particular biblical passage, use this form,

  • Matthew 6:8

In this example, Matthew is the title of the individual book, six is the chapter within that book, and eight is the verse within the chapter.

The books of the Old Testament should appear in your text as follows,

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Solomon
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

The books of the New Testament should appear as follows,

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Act
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation

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