Peddling the Word of God for a Profit.
Imagine if the Apostle Paul had sent a message to the people of Ephesus that read "I have a message from God for you. But if you want to know what it says - it is going to cost you." That is essentially what Bible publishers are doing whenever they sell the Word of God in order to make a profit.
The workman is worth his wages. That statement is from the Bible. In fact, they are the very words of Jesus Christ. I know that light bills have to be paid, food has to be purchased and that the mortgage payment comes due every month. I am not saying that anybody should work for free if they do not want to. What I am saying is that once the work is done - the pay should come to an end.
Most Bibles in circulation today have a copyright attached. This means that they cannot be reproduced without permission from the copyright holder. And to get that permission usually requires paying a fee. Or at least giving a citation. Copyrights are legal entities that are obtained in order to protect the profitability of a product. Now, if this product is something that some individual or company has developed on their own then obtaining a copyright is perfectly acceptable. But the word of God is just that - the Word of God.
No individual or company has spent countless hours developing God's word. It is not some original idea or invention that might generate a profit for either themselves or their shareholders. It is instead God's word. The words that God himself gave to all mankind. His word has been copied, and translated, countless times down through the ages by selfless individuals wanting only to have people come to salvation. Until recently that is.
Today we have large publishing companies who are using God's word in order to make a profit. And a very large profit at that. This is a very clear violation of the Word of God.
Very often the reason given for having a copyright on a Bible is that producing a translation is expensive. And I am sure that it is. Manuscripts are compared, languages are interpreted and countless revisions have to be made. Translators deserve to be paid and the clerical staff does not work for free either. And, there are light bills, paper supplies, computer resources and a whole host of other expenses. Producing a translation of the Bible takes money. Sometimes a lot of it.
But most people get paid while they are working. When they stop working they stop getting paid. It should be the same for a Bible translation. Once the bills have been paid and everyone has received their fair wages then that Bible translation should be put into the public domain. Only when it is in the public domain can it be freely distributed as God intended it to be.
Now, if someone wants to produce a leather-bound edition of that translation and sell it on the open market they are welcome to. But the basic words of God, those words that are necessary for someone to escape hell and find life in heaven, should remain free. A Bible with a copyright is in violation of God's very own word.Bible Versions