For Bible versions quoted in book, do I need copyright info on each or just the major one? For example, in the book we are writing, the NIV is the most quoted. The copyright page has thee following statement:

Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Is it adequate to simply add the version after a quote? E.g.,

Jesus wept. John 11:35 NKJV

or do I need to add a footnote or endnote:

New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


2 Answers 2


Read the beginning of the Bibles you want to quote from, they will usually tell you what is allowed. For example, my ESV says

Up to one thousand (1000) verses of the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible text may be quoted or reprinted without the express written permission of the publisher, provided that the verses quoted neither amount to a complete book of the Bible not [sic] account for more than 50% of the written text of the total work in which they are quoted. This allowance is reduced to 250 verses for audio use.

When the ESV text is quoted, the following copyright notice must appear as follows on the title or copyright page, or equivalent:
  'Scripture quotations [marked (ESV)] are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, published by HarperCollinPublishers, (c) 2011 Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good New Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.'

When quotations from the ESV text are used in non-saleable media, such as church bulletins, orders of service, or similar media, a complete copyright notice is not required but the initials ESV must appear at the end of the quotation.

For use of the ESV text in any commentary or other Bible reference work published for commercial sale, written permission must be obtained from the publisher.

Most translations will have similar rules, but they may differ slightly. For example, the NIV I have says the limit is only 500 verses, but it applies to both text and audio.


I can't tell you what is "allowed" or "legal" in your jurisdiction, but I can tell you what I see as common practice. Here's an image from the copyright page from Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, in which he quotes three different versions of the Bible:

Grudem copyright page

Note that he provides the full copyright notice for each Bible translation that he quotes, and indicates how he will mark them. In his text he then uses these abbreviations when quoting one of his secondary translations, but not his primary translation:

ST 231

Here, 1 Peter 1:2 comes from the NASB, but Jude 20–21 comes from the RSV.

In my experience (limited to US publications) this is an extremely common method of quoting from multiple versions of the Bible.

  • That is what is common, but note that most big books like that will have obtained direct permission from the Bible publishers, rather than relying on the general permissions they give.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 18, 2016 at 1:33

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