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How to Quote the Bible: The Basics




If you’re going to quote from the Bible in your manuscript, the first step is to determine which translation you will quote from. If you will use multiple translations, determine which one you will quote from most often.

 

For each Bible translation you quote from, a specific permission statement must be included on your book’s copyright page. You can find a list of permission statements for the most common English translations here. Or you can check the publisher’s website.

 

Each publisher has their own rules for what constitutes “fair use” of their Bible translation. For example, most of them do not permit an entire book of the Bible to be quoted in a manuscript. A simple Google search (e.g., “NIV permissions”) should easily take you to the guidelines you need.

 

SAMPLE COPYRIGHT STATEMENTS

 

A Book Using Only the NKJV:

 

All Scripture references in this book are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version® is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.http://www.nelsonbibles.com/


A Book Using Both the ESV and NIV (with ESV used most often):

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references in this book are taken from the ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.http://www.crossway.org

 

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.http://www.zondervan.com

 

So in this book, verses quoted from the ESV would be cited without designating a particular translation: (Psalm 84:1–4). When the NIV is used, however, the citation would look like this: (Psalm 84:1–4 NIV).

 

Just like quotations from any other source, quotations from the Bible must be word-for-word accurate. In other words, no matter how familiar you are with a particular verse, don’t rely on your memory! You can look up—and double-check—verses from almost any English translation at https://www.biblegateway.com/ or https://biblehub.com/.

 

 

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