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    Bible Versions

    As a Christian editor, a lot of work I have done has been for Christian publishing houses and authors. I love editing Christian books and having a small part in the work God is doing in this area.

    In the course of my experience, I have found one of the areas authors struggle in is what Bible version to use and how to cite it correctly. Many authors don't realize that most Bibile versions are not in public domain, and therefore, they have copyright information that must be cited. Even if you're using the King James Version, which is the only Bible version in public domain, you must have a line on your copyright page that says something like, "All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible." Even though it is in public domain, you still need to let your readers know which version you are using.

    The rule of thumb for all other versions is that it can't make up more than 25 percent of your work. If it does, you have to get permission from the publisher. You also must give a credit line for each version used in your work. The credit line for NIV, for example, is, "All Scripture quotations taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide." Your can find the proper version information for most versions of the Bible here.

    If you use more than one Bible version in your work, as most authors do, you need to figure out which version you use the most in your work. This will be your default version. You should start the copyright information sentence with, "Unless otherwise identified, all Scripture quotations taken from..." The other versions you use must also be listed properly. For example, if NIV is a secondary version you use, you would credit it with, "All Scripture quotations marked, 'NIV' taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide." Then, for each Scripture you quote from the NIV, you must denote it in the text as such (e.g., John 2:1, NIV).

    It's also very important that you get the exact wording right for each Scripture quotation. A great resource for checking your Scripture quotations is They have the most popular Bible versions online, and they are fully searchable. This site is also very helpful for looking up Scriptures by keywords.

    This can be somewhat confusing, especially for a first-time author. Your best bet is to find an experienced Christian editor who can sort out it out for you. 

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    Reader Comments (3)

    Huh. I had no idea. I can now guarantee you I did not do this correctly in my college Religion classes.

    November 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

    It's definitely pretty obscure and confusing. I've even worked with some publishers who didn't realize they were doing this incorrectly.

    November 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterRight Price Editing

    I got my degree in religion and now know that I did not cite correctly! Glad I read this before I started my career in interfaith dialogue. That would be embarrassing.

    November 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAMPC

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