Bible verses
Genre Types

Ask the Editor: Verses Versus Verses

BibleBooks need to be a lot of things if anyone is going to buy and read them: engaging, informative and cohesive, amongst others. Choosing a Bible version is crucial to your book—just not in the way you think. Most authors choose a version based on whether it is in the public domain or because they want to build a message around the exact words in that version. However, those are not the right reasons.

The King James translation is not the only one that can be used without written permission. The ESV may be quoted up to 1,000 verses without express written permission of the publisher, providing that the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for 50% or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted. The NIV may be quoted up to 500 verses without written permission, providing the verses do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for 25% of the total text of the work. Scripture from any of the Thomas Nelson translations may be quoted up to 250 verses or fewer without written permission, as long as the Scripture does not make up more than 25% of the total text in the work and the Scripture is not being quoted in commentary or another biblical reference work.

With all these options, there is no need to use the King James Version to keep things simple for yourself as an author. What’s more important is that the language of the version matches the style and feel of the language you are using in your original content. If your tone is conversational and informal, the King James Version is a stark contrast to the rapport you are establishing with your readership. The best way you can make your book engaging and cohesive is to choose a version that corresponds with your subject matter and overall inflection.

The most important thing is what you want readers to take away from the book, the reason you wrote it in the first place. If your readers use a different version than the one you used to build an entire train of thought, your point may lose impact when they don’t find those exact words in their own Bible. Material should be built around a spiritual concept that can be identified in all versions rather than specific words that may be found in one version and not another. Additionally, if Bible verses make up more than a quarter of your book, you should write more exposition to give readers the most value for their purchase. The Bible can be accessed anywhere, any time for free; what they are paying for is your original content.

As always, it is our goal at Xulon Press to offer all our knowledge and skills to authors in a group effort to make your book shine as brightly as it can. If you have any comments or questions, let us know below!


Vanessa Correa is a Staff Editor at Xulon Press with a total of 10 years of publishing experience in diverse industries including journalism, academic publishing, social media and more. She is a native New Yorker and alumnus of the M.S. Publishing program at New York University. Her passion is translation—her family is from Puerto Rico and her aim is to ensure our authors receive the same high quality services for Spanish books, press releases and other materials as they do in English.

8 Comments on “Ask the Editor: Verses Versus Verses

  1. Talk about an answer to prayer. This blog spoke volumes to me. Thank you so much. Blessings to you and the Xulon team.

    1. Barbara I couldn’t be more pleased that I was able to write something you needed to read. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. Many blessings to you as well.

  2. Vanessa, Love the blog.
    I have a question for you. I have several binders full of scripture from word studies, and I was wondering how much text I would need to add for each scripture on each page. I am wanting to create a book out of it.
    It is mostly all KJ version. Thanks again. God Bless!

    1. Cindy, thank you so much! The best person to answer your question is our Editorial Consultant, Brittnee Newman. She will call you soon to talk over the best way to bring your content together. Again, thanks for reaching out to ask; we are really looking forward to helping you achieve your goal.

  3. Vanessa, VERY helpful information! Bobbie Rodriguez from Xulon and I have spoken and/or corresponded several times, looking forward to possibly publishing my 2 upcoming books with you and 40 Days Before the Throne (devotional). I’m talking with 3 publishers, but most signs lately are pointing to Xulon– even more after reading your article. So THANKS for what you do!! Becky Wright, Singer/Songwriter, Speaker, and soon-to-be-author :))

    1. Becky—so nice to meet you! I clicked over to your site and I love the idea of your book. The way God guides and leads us truly is akin to a masterful architect. It is such a blessing to know we don’t ever have to guess which way to go because He makes it clear to us what path is best. I’ve let Bobbie know that you reached out and she will be following up with you to help move things forward with your publishing projects. So excited for you!

  4. Becky, I can certainly vouch for Xulon. They have helped me every step of the way…my book is now in their diagnostic edit phase. They always answer the phone or return my call very promptly…they answer all of my weird and seemingly stupid questions…and they ding me when I overuse the ellipsis. 🙂 I’m looking forward to a long and multi-book relationship.

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