In my work on the Internet, I frequently need to quote long passages of scripture, say, longer than ten verses. All of my original work on the Internet is "Public Domain," which means that nobody owns it. It is available to all Mankind, without restriction, just like the Lord is available to all Mankind, without restriction.
I had been using the Revised Standard Version of the Bible for long passages, thinking that its owners had placed it into the Public Domain. But I found out I was wrong: It is still protected by copyright.
So I started looking around for another easy-to-understand Bible translation that was in the Public Domain.
I could not find even one which was suitable.
The King James Version (KVJ) is magnificent in all respects, but it is very difficult for the typical English-speaking person to understand for more than one or two verses at a time. KJV is my Bible of preference for short quotations because it is a classic work of art as well as being highly authoritative in content. But for longer passages, most contemporary readers have too much trouble understanding it.
The American Standard Version (ASV) is almost suitable, but not quite. While easier to understand than KJV, and quite accurate, still its language is largely archaic.
The Webster Bible is Public Domain, but not much easier than KJV. Young's Literal Translation is useful to the scholar, but even more difficult to understand than KJV.
The Darby translation is very accurate, but not much easier than KJV to understand.
The Bible In Basic English offers interesting possibilities, but it may not actually be in the Public Domain. Even if it is, it would be un-Christian of me to take advantage of a clerical oversight to steal somebody's intellectual property. Besides, it has serious awkwardness because of its extremely limited vocabulary.
All the other versions I looked at were copyrighted, even some versions with very little merit.
So what should I do? The Word Of God should be the common property of Mankind, not of some publisher or organization. It grieves my soul every time I see a copyright notice on a Bible. I realize the copyright owners have their own good reasons for retaining their ownership of their translations, but I still don't like it.
As I was wrestling with all this, the Lord gave me this simple promise:
"If you will do the work, I will give you the words."He didn't tell me directly to start translating. He just said that if I would do the work, then He would give me the words.
Coming from Him, this is an offer you can't refuse. I had been asking Him to give me more of Himself, and to bring me closer to Him, and all the other things a lover of God asks for from his Lord. So now He says, in effect, "Okay, you wanted it, now here it is."
So I tried a few passages, and, sure enough, the words were there, better than I could have done myself.
So that is where we stand.
In actual practice, I usually go verse-by verse, re-writing the ASV, mostly replacing older forms of expression with newer ones, meaning the same thing. For example, "thou" and "thee" become "you," and "wherefore" becomes "why." Sometimes, a new phrasing or a different word jumps into my mind, and I use it. Then I check what I have written against the other versions to make sure I have not gotten too far away from the way other people have translated the same passages. Sometimes I go back and rewrite.
Most of the time, however, it's almost like taking dictation: I read the ASV text, and immediately I hear the new words I am supposed to use.
My reference text is the "Textus Receptus," on which the KJV and New King James Version are based.
=> Bill McGinnis Ministries
Rev. June 8, 1997 email@example.com
NOTES: November 11. 2006)
After I first wrote this page in 1997, I did go ahead and write an updated-language version of the KJV's New Testament, which I named "The King James Clarified New Testament." (See http://www.loveallpeople.org/kjcntpage.html) and placed in the Public Domain. And I also decided to use the Revised Standard Version, even though it is not in the Public Domain, because it is so clear and so well accepted and it permits extensive quoting. Even so, I still feel a need sometimes to make a "Composite Public Domain Translation" of certain verses. You are invited to compare these with the Bible version(s) of your choice. - Rev. Bill McGinnis
GOD'S ONE LAW FOR ALL MANKIND:
"Love All People As Yourself."
"Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated."
GOD'S ONE LAW FOR ALL MANKIND: "Love All People As Yourself."