How Can I Properly Quote the Bible in My Book?

questions and answersOne of our authors was wanting to know how she could quote the Bible correctly in her book. This is the advice I was able to provide:

Each publisher of a Bible version has a different set of rules for quoting their version. Most define what is granted before permission is required. Most will let you quote a certain percentage of the Bible as long as it’s not a significant portion of the work you’re doing.  (ie. You can’t print the Book of John with your name on it unless you translate it from the Greek yourself). You’ll be required to include a copyright permission notice on the copyright page of your book. Some publishers want a copy of your book with the copyright permission notice… but I’ve never seen one insist on it.

Here’s an example (NIV):

The NIV text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, providing the verses do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted.

When the NIV is quoted in works that exercise the above fair use clause, notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page or opening screen of the work (whichever is appropriate) as follows:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

At PageMaster we can include the proper copyright permission on your copyright page as long as you tell us what version(s) you’re using. You can also find them yourself online. BibleGateway.com has a list of the copyright notices they use on their site – http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/ click the version you want and then click the copyright tab to see the granted permissions. You can also search Google for “Bible copyright notices” and include the version you’re looking for.

Hope that helps.

Contact me with any more questions.

For more information on what to include on your copyright page see https://pagemaster.ca/what-to-include-in-your-books-copyright-page/

  • Lainah Trott says:

    How can I use and correctly quote texts from The King James Version Bible in my book.

  • SS says:

    Thank you for the article.

    Would you happen to have any insights on quoting the Good News Translation (GNT) version of the Bible in a book & audiobook I intend on selling (which I believe falls under the Commercial Use).

    • Dale Youngman says:

      Hi Sam
      Commercial use over 1000 words, or more than 50% of a work, or using an entire biblical book require permission.
      Here is the info on using the Good News translation: https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/copyright-and-permissions/

      • SS says:

        Thank you Dale for the response.

        Followup question: American Bible Society (owner of the Good News Translation [GNT]) has the below links where they seem to indicate that any Commercial usage of GNT requires permission.

        I would like to use it for commercial use (as part of my book’s ebook, paperback & audiobook iterations) & stay within the first 4 bullets of the below but I feel concerned if this will infringe upon their copyright.

        This’s an excerpt from the link: https://www.bibles.com/services/licensing-information/

        Summary of Fair Use Policy (All conditions must apply):
        • No more than 500 verses in total may be reproduced without permission
        • Scripture/Verses may not make up more than 25% of the new work
        • Verses quoted do not amount to 50% of a complete book of the Bible
        • All Scripture must be properly cited with the appropriate copyright notice (see below)
        • The book or product must be available for non-commercial use.

        Also they have similar info on their other link -https://www.americanbible.org/about/legal/copyrights

        • Dale Youngman says:

          There is considerable difference between the American and British sites from what appears to be to very similar versions.
          It appears the link I sent refers to the 1994 edition based on the copyright notice to include in on the copyright page. The text does say “You must use the text from the second edition of the Good News Bible.”
          The US link you sent seems to apply to the 1992 edition and is much more restrictive.
          You would need to use the UK version or request permission if using the US version.

  • Kevin Kologinsky says:

    How do I contact the publisher of the NKJV, to seek permission to heavily quote the text? Thank you.

  • Emeka says:

    I’m currently writing a book about my spiritual awakening. I need to quote roughly 8 lines of verse for a 200 plus page book. The verses are a key point so I want to quote them. I could use the KJV version as that was the one I initially found, but I think the NIV version would be much clearer for the average reader.

    Where I am confused is the acknowledge of copyright for the NIV version should I chose to use that. Obviously what I want to quote meets the criteria of the fair use clause as you show above (and have seen on other websites). Except on the Biblica website, it references the use to -Non Commercial- uses. So if that is the case, wouldn’t I need written permission from Biblica to use their verses, even if I was planning on citing the copywrite anyhow?

    • Dale Youngman says:

      Hi Emeka
      My reading is that you are fine – max 25%, no complete book, and no more than 500 verses. Once you are past any of those criteria you need special permission.
      biblica: https://www.biblica.com/resources/bible-faqs/how-do-i-license-the-niv/
      Permission requests for commercial use [in territory] that exceeds the above guidelines must be directed to, and approved in writing, by:

      And, also the copyright notice on the copyright page.
      Best
      Dale

      • Emeka says:

        Thank you Dale! I did not see that page, the one that I found was the Terms of Use and it did not mention anything about the commercial usage!

        Thank you for taking the time to answer my question!
        Best Regards!

        Emeka

  • Dear Page-Master Publishing,

    I am a Christian Author that is working on a book with a lot of historical content but also orthodox Christian teachings. I am having a problem understanding how to submit a narrative about a person like Joseph Smith, who has a ton of information on documentaries, DVDs, timelines, books, and the Mormon web sites. How do you take this vast amount of knowledge and cite this historical content? Can I list my references and quote only the directly quoted material? I have another figure, such as Jim Jones, where I have the same problem. I have written these narratives based on a vast body of knowledge that I have accumulated and written the narratives using my own words. The historical information and the timelines need to match their life stories. Is there any intellectual properties?
    In this chapter, I am writing the life stories of these two gentlemen; the chapter is called “Another Gospel” after the Galatians 1:6-12 scriptures.
    Do you do any consultant work because I may need to discuss this with you?
    This will be the heart of the book, and I want to do this correctly

    Please feel free to contact me!
    Thank You in advance
    God Bless You.
    Melvin Douglas Wilson

  • Billy says:

    What’s the limitations on Quoting the king James and the Strong’s? Together I’m doing a study with commentary – footnotes for a book

  • Adebowale James says:

    Good day. I am a new Christian author I am quoting from the Authorised King James Version. I want to know the percentage of verses I can quote from the Authorised King James version.

    • Dale Youngman says:

      Hi
      Unless you are in the UK the King James version is in the public domain and there are no restrictions on it’s use. To use more than the following in the UK permission is required.

      Rights in The Authorized Version of the Bible (King James Bible) in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown and administered by the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press. The reproduction by any means of the text of the King James Version is permitted to a maximum of five hundred (500) verses for liturgical and non-commercial educational use, provided that the verses quoted neither amount to a complete book of the Bible nor represent 25 per cent or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted, subject to the following acknowledgement being included:

      Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press

  • Adebowale James says:

    Good day. I am a new Christian publisher. I quoted from the Authorized King James Version of The Holy Bible. I want to know the percentage of quotes allowed to be used.

    • Dale Youngman says:

      25% in the UK without written permission. Public Domain in North America so free to use.

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