I have been thinking about one issue in particular recently. An issue with Bible translations. Most Bible translations are proprietary in nature, something God's word should never, ever be. God's word *must* be freely available for anyone who wants it. I am not saying a publisher must give a copy gratis to anyone who asks for one (however good that may be). What I am saying is that there should be no restrictions on reading, copying, and using the Bible for any purpose.

Forbidding copying the Bible is evil. Anyone must be able to share the Bible as much as they want. Translating the Bible does not change the fact that it is God's word, and that you cannot own it. Thus there should be no ownership over the Bible, and those who assert ownership over it are better off not even translating it.

For these reasons I do not like to recommend Bible translations with heavy restrictions, such as the NKJV, NLT, NIV, ESV, and NASB. The NET is okay in some ways, as it is very loose, but the publisher still asserts a certain amount of ownership over it.

interesting. So basically, bible translations should all be released under a creative commons kind of license?

I do agree with you. The bible should be freely copy-able, so that the bible can be shared easily.

@samylakes No. Under the public domain. Even under a Creative Commons license someone has a kind of ownership over it.


I agree, in principle, with all of this. But: If you insist on this level of "purity" in disseminating the Bible, there will be a significant falling-off on the level of scholarship and editing by professionals and academics and publishers who *require* remuneration as well as copyright protection in order get a return on their educational investment, to support their families, and so on. Of course, it might be better in unforeseen ways to accept that trade-off. But I'm pretty sure there will indeed be a trade-off. Our editions will be less cutting-edge, and we'll have fewer of them. How could it be otherwise?

@malanrich @masterofthetiger They may require remuneration, but they certainly don't require copyright protection, which is an intellectual monopoly that exists solely as it is enforced by the State. The Reformers certainly knew no such restrictions when using the printing press.

There are other, better, more creative and ethical ways to fund this work. Crowdfund it, kickstart it, patronize it through cooperative dollars given to denominational conventions.

Yes, and as I said, if God is behind it, you will succeed regardless.

Is not the worker worth his pay? Copyright allows this kind of work to continue. Nestle-Aland (whose Editio Critica Maior (Greek NT) has been used to translate the Bible for over a hundred years) defends copyright:
What's nice is that copyright can expire (arguably after too long).
These attempts to accurately proliferate God's word should be commended, and allowed to profit.

@everlastingrocks Yes, a worker is worthy of his wages. But is restricting how others share God's Word with others the way to do it? There is a limit that this argument can go. There are projects that go well now without restrictive copyright measures. It is simply not necessary to forbid sharing God's Word to translate it even for a profit.

I believe that if someone wants to translate God's Word, their motivation should be purely based on God's calling for them, and thus God will work on the specifics there. The Bible is about faith remember. The Christian faith isn't about any of these schemes to make money. God will provide in so many ways regardless.

I also agree in principle, however I fear the part of the open source/open license mentality where you can repost it however you want. Not that people don't do that with licensed versions, but maybe there is some deterrent from people directly and maliciously reposting it with their own edits? Or even crating their own version à la the Jeffersonian "bible" and claiming it to be our holy book?

@Fusioncow Well, you can edit the KJV and other translations without issue. A person shouldn't change the Bible to deceive someone, but copyright law is not the place to enforce it.

@masterofthetiger There's more to it than that. Most bible translations, considering history, are public domain. A few modern translations are copyrighted; they represent thousands of hours of scholars and theologian's time; typically recuperated through volume sales.

If you pick up an open source bible package like BibleTime, Xiphos, etc. you will find links to hundreds of bible texts in multiple languages that you can download, use, and distribute freely.

@leyonhjelm @masterofthetiger With a basic Greek grammar, you can read the original. I believe the entire language corpus for the NT is 5000-ish unique words, many of which are place and personal names you already know...

Mounce's "Basics of Biblical Greek" is pretty good...


The "Fair Use" part of copyright law is fairly broad. Mostly allowing about 1,000 words without restriction.

Yes. But Fair Use is also very vague. But that's beside the point here. This is about a person trying to control God's word and threatens to legally attack people who share His word just because that person translated it.

The Bible is not copyrighted but it is the translation that is copyrighted or not.

I don't know very well the english translation but KJV is very old translation. That should be free but the problem is this kind of translation that the english is not really english It is has is own language.

What translations (versions) are free and what versions are not?

I was just thinking about this very topic today and would love to have a good unrestricted translation of the Bible for media use. I know you'll want to point me to the KJV(I like it, especially for Psalms), but when completely un-churched people are approached with the language, I have found it to be a stumbling block that diverts attention from what is really important, the conveyance the gospel message. My personal favorite is the NASB😩 Any solutions that are in print?

@masterofthetiger That is a pretty good translation that I had never heard of before, thanks! John 21 looked pretty solid, any places that you have noticed anything wrong or lacking?

Honestly, I don't break apart Bible passages that way very often. And I don't have a hard copy of the WEB, so I don't read it in my study time.

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