Reasons I Adore the KJV #5: It has no copyright

Another reason I adore the KJV is that it is has no copyright. In other words, it’s in the public domain.

Copyright vs. public domain

When a book is in the public domain, that means we can quote from that book at will.

Some of it. All of it.

As often as we want. For any reason we want.

We don’t have to get permission from the publisher. And we don’t have to be concerned that we are violating anyone’s copyright.

Copyright implies authorship

By definition, a book that has a copyright means the person or people who own the copyright claim authorship of the work.

So think this through with me:

If God is the author of the Bible, no individual or group can legally claim ownership to those words. By obtaining a copyright, they are verifying those words are their own.

On top of that, they are claiming that as owners of those words, they are entitled to profit financially from them.

(Does that remind you of any verses in the Bible … perhaps about making merchandise…?)

Stipulations of copyrighted works

Additionally, copyrighted works today usually include stipulations as to how that work can be used. This includes how often that work can be quoted, how many times, and how we are to credit the author and publisher for the use of their words.

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:”

—2 Thessalonians 3:1

Just as the verse above says, the true Word of God has free course.

Bible publishers whose copyright entitles them to limit the number of verses we can share are not giving God’s Word free course. In fact, they’re standing in the way of it.

(Who do you think would be interested in standing in the way of freely sharing all or even part of God’s Word?)

Here’s just one example. One popular modern version today allows use of up to 1,000 verses before you must obtain written permission from the publisher. And then, when you do share any verses of their version, you must give very specific credit to the publisher. After all, it’s very important that everyone know whose version you are quoting. (So more people can buy that version, of course.)

(And we know from God’s word that it’s against his desire. Because he has already given us his permission to share his words with all the world!

God never puts stipulations on his word about how many verses a person can copy and share. Or how often. Or for what purpose. It is actually the opposite of what the modern version Bible publishers do.

No copyright on the KJV — the word of God is not bound

Second Timothy 2:9 says, “…but the word of God is not bound.”

God wants his word — the full counsel of God — to go forth freely into all the world! That’s why is makes sense that the KJV would have no copyright.

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it to bring forth and bud, that is may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

—Isaiah 55:10-11

Derivative works = Different works

Here’s another bit of copyright information you might not have heard:

Since the Bible already exists, any new version of the Bible is considered a “derivative work.” That means that any new version that also wants to call itself a Bible must be different enough from the original that it can be considered a unique work!

That’s a lot of changes!

And by that definition, we should be suspect of any Bible that has a copyright.

(If there is a copyright in your King James Bible, it’s probably for added material, like maps, but it’s not for God’s words themselves.)

You could even publish your own King James Bible today, all 783,137 words and 3,116,480 letters of it, if you wanted! And it would be completely legal. You wouldn’t owe royalties to anyone.

Corrupting the word of God, peddling it, or … both?

Interestingly, the new versions all condemn themselves.

Second Corinthians 2:17 in God’s true Word says, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God….”

The ESV, NIV, and NKJV, however, not only corrupt God’s Word in that very verse but do the very thing they’ve changed their version to read. They peddle the word of God for profit!

Anyone who is a true believer wants so spread the word to God far and wide. And there is no desire of personal financial gain for sowing those seeds.

God placed no copyright on the KJV

While men have no copyright on the KJV, you might say God has a spiritual copyright on his Holy Bible. He has given very clear instruction about adding or taking away words.

By the way, changing God’s words is the equivalent of adding to them and taking away from them.

And the consequences of tampering with God’s words are far greater than the legal consequences of violating man’s copyright laws!

“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

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  1. […] If they got the words exactly right on one version, what could entice them to move on to the next copyrighted version just a few years […]



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