Bible Abbreviations for Books and Common Versions

, Staff Editor
Updated February 2, 2021
Multiple bibles on a shelf
    Multiple bibles on a shelf
    millerpd / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Using Bible abbreviations for different versions of the Bible and books from the Bible helps people communicate more efficiently about the word of God. While books like the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) Handbook of Style are great for general Bible abbreviations, different groups use a few different abbreviations for the same versions and books.

Abbreviations for Bible Versions

The Old Testament, or OT, was originally written in Hebrew, while the New Testament, or NT, was originally written in Greek. The thousands of different versions of the Bible available today can be more accurately described as translations of the Bible.

Ancient Versions of the Bible

These ancient versions of the Bible represent what many consider the “original” Bibles.

  • GNT: The Greek New Testament (Greek)
  • HB: Hebrew Bible (Hebrew)
  • LXX: Septuagint (Greek)
  • MT: Masoretic Text (Hebrew)
  • Vulg. - The Vulgate (Latin)

English Translation Versions of the Bible

Modern English versions of the Bible are structured in different ways to make it easier for any person to understand the text and the message. From children’s Bibles to Bibles using modern English words, new translations of the Bible come out every year.

  • AAT: An American Translation
  • AMP: Amplified Bible
  • ASV: American Standard Version
  • BV: Berkeley Version in Modern English
  • CEV: Contemporary English Version
  • ESV: English Standard Version
  • GNB: Good News Bible
  • HCSB: Holman Christian Standard Bible
  • JB: Jerusalem Bible
  • KJ21: 21st Century King James Version
  • KJV: King James Version
  • KNOX: Knox Bible
  • MNT: Moffatt’s New Translation
  • MSG: The Message Bible
  • NABR: New American Bible, Revised Edition
  • NASB: New American Standard Bible
  • NEB: New English Bible
  • NET: New English Translation
  • NETS: New English Translation of the Septuagint
  • NIV: New International Version
  • NJB: New Jerusalem Bible
  • NKJV: New King James Version
  • NLT: New Living Translation
  • NRSV: New Revised Standard Version
  • NTLP: New Testament in the Language of the People
  • NTME: New Testament in Modern English
  • NTMS: New Testament in Modern Speech
  • REB: Revised English Bible
  • RSV: Revised Standard Version
  • TCNT: Twentieth Century New Testament
  • TLB: The Living Bible
  • TNIV: Today’s New International Version
  • WET: Wuest Expanded Translation of the New Testament

Abbreviations for Books in the Bible

Each book in the Bible has a different name, and some are rather long. Biblical book name abbreviations make it easier to cite and share quotes from the Bible. Generally speaking, the stories in OT books are much more varied across religions than NT books.

Old Testament Book Abbreviations

Most Bible book abbreviations consist of three or four letters. Some book names don’t have standard abbreviations because they are short like Joel, Amos, Ruth, Jonah, Ezra, and Job.

These are the common abbreviations for OT books as used by Protestants.

  • Cant: Canticles
  • Chr: Chronicles
  • Dan: Daniel
  • Deut: Deuteronomy
  • Eccl: Ecclesiastes
  • Esth: Esther
  • Exod: Exodus
  • Ezek: Ezekiel
  • Gen: Genesis
  • Hab: Habakkuk
  • Hag: Haggai
  • Hos: Hosea
  • Isa: Isaiah
  • Jer: Jeremiah
  • Josh: Joshua
  • Judg: Judges
  • Kgdms: Kingdoms
  • Kgs: Kings
  • Lam: Lamentations
  • Lev: Leviticus
  • Mal: Malachi
  • Mic: Micah
  • Nah: Nahum
  • Neh: Nehemiah
  • Num: Numbers
  • Obad: Obadiah
  • Prov: Proverbs
  • Ps: Psalm
  • Pss: Psalms
  • Sam: Samuel
  • Song: Song of Songs
  • Qoh: Qoheleth
  • Zech: Zechariah
  • Zeph: Zephaniah

Apocrypha Book Abbreviations

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition and with Roman Catholicism, there are books in the OT, known as Apocrypha by Protestants, that don’t appear in Protestant Bible version. These could be considered Catholic Bible abbreviations.

  • Add Dan: Additions to Daniel
  • Add Esth: Additions to Esther
  • Bar: Baruch
  • Bel: Bel and the Dragon
  • Esd: Esdras
  • Ep Jer: Epistle of Jeremiah
  • Jdt: Judith
  • Macc: Maccabees
  • Pr Azar: Prayer of Azariah
  • Pr Man: Prayer of Manasseh
  • Sg Three: Song of the Three Young Men
  • Sir: Sirach/Ecclesiasticus
  • Sus: Susanna
  • Tob: Tobit
  • Wis: Wisdom of Solomon

New Testament Book Abbreviations

Books in the NT also often have three-letter abbreviations. Book names like Jude, John, Acts, Mark, Titus, Luke, that are only four or five letters long, aren’t typically abbreviated.

  • Col: Colossians
  • Cor: Corinthians
  • Eph: Ephesians
  • Gal: Galatians
  • Heb: Hebrews
  • Jas: James
  • Matt: Matthew
  • Pet: Peter
  • Phil: Philippians
  • Phlm: Philemon
  • Rev: Revelation
  • Rom: Romans
  • Thess: Thessalonians
  • Tim: Timothy

Biblical Citation Abbreviations

In most cases, you don’t need to cite the Bible in a bibliography no matter what style you’re using. If you do cite the Bible, there are a few slight differences in the abbreviations used for different citation styles. Mostly, you would just use the abbreviations listed earlier.

Abbreviations for Citing Parts of the Bible

When you're citing a specific line or verse from the Bible, you don't use page numbers. These abbreviations are standard for specific text locations in the Bible.

  • Ch. - Chapter
  • Chs. - Chapters
  • V. - Verse
  • Vv. - Verses

Bible Abbreviations for MLA Style Citation

Bible abbreviations in MLA style aren’t common, because you would usually be required to write the entire name of the Bible version or book. MLA citation format for the Bible does have a few unique in-text citation abbreviations, however.

  • Apoc. - Apocalypse
  • Philem. - Philemon
  • Tit. - Titus

Shortened Abbreviations for Chicago Style Citation

Bible abbreviations in Chicago style, or the student version known as Turabian, are never used for in-text citations. You only use these abbreviations in footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical notes.

You can use traditional abbreviations listed earlier or these accepted shortened versions in Chicago style. Choose one type of abbreviation and use it consistently. Any book not listed here does not have a shortened Chicago style version.

  • Am: Amos
  • Dn: Daniel
  • Dt: Deuteronomy
  • Est: Esther
  • Ex: Exodus
  • Ez: Ezekiel
  • Ezr: Ezra
  • Gn: Genesis
  • Hb: Habakkuk
  • Hg: Haggai
  • Is: Isaiah
  • Jb: Job
  • Jl: Joel
  • Jn: John
  • Jon: Jonah
  • Jo: Joshua
  • Jgs: Judges
  • Lk: Luke
  • Lv: Leviticus
  • Mi: Micah
  • Mk: Mark
  • Mt: Matthew
  • Na: Nahum
  • Nm: Numbers
  • Ob: Obadiah
  • Prv: Proverbs
  • Pt: 1 Peter
  • Ru: Ruth
  • Rv: Revelation
  • Sm: Samuel
  • Sg: Song of Solomon (Song of Songs)
  • Thes: Thessalonians
  • Tm: Timothy
  • Ti: Titus
  • Zec: Zechariah
  • Zep: Zephaniah

Abbreviate the Bible

With thousands of Bible versions available around the world, it’s nearly impossible to name them all. If you love learning about this historic book, discover some interesting facts about the Bible. Explore common versions of the Bible in your native language and share them in the comments.