In yesterday’s blog I wrote of using e-Sword. I should have mentioned that not all versions of the Bible in e-Sword come without cost. Of course, the King James Version does, and many others. But not the newest.
That’s due to copyright and the fact that the authors of those versions require payment for the use of their work. Key words: their work.
I can see that situation in commentaries and study Bibles. I use a Ryrie, where the notes and comments are not part of the word of God. My Beloved Husband has a Scofield, with the same type of comments and notes. Some paper-published Bibles contain reference material, maps, etc., that are not part of the Bible but are their work.
This is not true of digital Bibles. Charge for the reader, that I understand. Programming costs. Yet on e-Sword, Olive Tree and other digital providers of Bible versions, there are charges for: Amplified, Holman Christian Standard, New American Standard, New King James, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard, Revised Standard and many others. Authors consider them their work.
Which brings me to a recent post on IFBKJV Blog Directory regarding versions that is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but has some real truth.
The creator of e-Sword has strong feelings about it being made available, without cost, to everyone. Don’t you think our Lord feels the same way about His word?
Yet, these versions of His word are copyrighted. The penalties for infringement are very harsh. Each willful infringement can cost as much as $150,000. The law is designed to be punitive, to protect each person’s creative efforts. Comments, notes, references, maps – all added to published copies of God’s word are the creative efforts of individuals, their work.
How does one copyright the inspired word of God? Why would someone copyright the inspired word of God? Or, are they applying that copyright to their own efforts? Copyrighting their work.
Something such as "The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels," would be a good example. What he extracted and compiled no longer consists the whole word of God. It is a limited version of what God intended for mankind and was clearly Jefferson’s work, as in ‘their work.’
Perhaps many of these translations fall into that same category? Do they include:
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2 KJV)
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6 KJV)
The verses that really catch our attention should be:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)
I’ll stick to reading as I have in the past, freely – unless I buy a paper-printed Bible with extras.