- What does Michael do?
- Who does Michael publish Bible translations for?
- How does Michael get Bible translations to publish online?
- How how many languages have the World English Bible?
- How many languages does Michael publish Bibles in?
- In what formats does Michael publish Bible translations?
- What does it cost to deliver digital Bible translations?
- Who pays for this digital Bible distribution work?
- Do tribal people in remote jungles really have access to digital Bibles?
- How does censorship and persecution affect digital Bible distribution
- How does copyright law affect digital Bible distribution?
- Why does Michael work on the World English Bible?
- Why does Michael focus so much on Bibles in minority languages?
- Why do we distribute digital Bible translations for free?
- Does this keep Michael busy full time?
- How can I help get the Holy Bible to people who need it most?
What does Michael do?
Michael makes the Holy Bible available the languages people understand best, in the formats most useful for them. Specifically, Michael does these things:
- Works on the World English Bible to provide an excellent quality whole Bible free of copyright restrictions.
- Processes Bible translations from many Bible translators and Bible translation agencies to put them in useful formats for free distribution and online reading.
- Writes and maintains software to help do the above processing accurately and consistently.
- Maintains high capacity web servers to support digital Bible distribution.
- Creates and maintains Bible distribution web sites for many people groups.
- Investigates and (where appropriate) takes action on typo reports, etc., to ensure quality of Bibles distributed.
- Processes Scriptures for inclusion in the Every Tribe Every Nation Digital Bible Library, which makes Bibles available to other electronic publishers, including YouVersion.
Who does Michael publish Bible translations for?
Michael primarily seeks to eradicate Bible poverty among these groups:
- Those who speak minority languages, especially in extremely rural areas, who have little or no ability to buy a Bible
- Those who live in creative access countries (where Bible access is restricted or persecuted), who have no way to buy a Bible
- Those who don’t yet know the extreme value of the Holy Bible and are therefore less likely to pay for access to it
Those groups are those who are underserved by traditional Bible publishing as there is no profit motive to help them. Beyond those groups, anyone else who has access to the Holy Bible because of our efforts is, of course, welcome to read it and believe in Jesus Christ.
Frequently Asked Question List
How does Michael get Bible translations to publish online?
Michael gets permission and source files from various Bible translators and Bible translation agencies. If you have rights to a Bible translation that you would like to make available, please contact him.
Frequently Asked Question List
How how many languages have the World English Bible?
One. The World English Bible is only in English. It does have two dialects, though: the American spelling version and the British/International spelling version.
If what you really wanted to know was how many languages I publish the Holy Bible (or whatever portion of it has been translated and made available to us), please see eBible.org/metrics.
Frequently Asked Question List
How many languages does Michael publish Bibles in?
In what formats does Michael publish Bible translations?
- Audio — for listening to a limited number of translations
- ePub 3 (also compatible with some ePub 2 readers) — for use with eBook reading apps like iBooks, Google Play Books, Gitden Reader, etc., on a wide variety of platforms
- HTML — for reading online or offline in a web browser, optimized for costly Internet connections
- Browser Bible 3 (AKA InScript) — for reading online (and in some cases offline) with full search capability and parallel Bible translation display
- Amazon Kindle mobi — for reading with Amazon Kindle devices and apps
- PDF — for reading on screen or printing
- Sword — for study in apps like Xiphos, AndBible, PocketSword, Eloquent, etc.
- Microsoft Word 2003 XML — for printing, reading on screen, or copy and paste into Bible studies, etc.
In addition, Michael publishes several different formats useful for developers of Bible study apps: USFM, USFX, verse per line plain text, and SQL. If you don’t know what those are, ignore them and use one of the above formats.
What does it cost to deliver digital Bible translations?
If you take what we actually spent on this in 2016, and divide it by our best estimate of the total number of Scripture deliveries (Scripture downloads and chapter views) for the same year, the result is about three quarters of a penny. Specifically, $97,371.26/13,104,796 views+downloads = $0.00743.
That is a serious bargain. Of course, we aren’t really charged per download. The same monthly costs could easily support ten times the number of downloads, and probably will some day. The monthly costs include such things as:
- Server rental
- Domain name registration fees
- Hardware and software used in Bible conversion and upload work
- Facilities (office space, utilities, etc.)
- Travel expenses (needed for effective collaboration with a multitude of Bible translation agencies and other mission partners)
- Labor (software development, computer security services, Bible format conversion, accounting, etc.)
- Taxes and regulatory expenses
In addition, there is the cost of doing the Bible translation work, which so far has been borne by others, but it will become necessary to contribute to that cost for some translations in the form of royalty payments as we expand our language and Bible translation selection on offer. This will require additional funds from our partners to keep the Scriptures free for the end users.
The largest cost, of course, is one we cannot afford: the cost to God the Father for the Good News we proclaim, which was the blood of His Only Son, Jesus Christ. Obviously, the message we freely give is not really free, but it can still be free to those we give it to.
Who pays for this digital Bible distribution work?
Our partners do. May God bless all of our partners! Our wonderful partners pray for our ministry regularly and support us financially as the Lord leads. To become one of our partners, please sign up for our email prayer letters (see the form to the right or contact us with your request) so you will get notices of how best to pray for us approximately monthly. We appreciate all donations, large and small. We especially appreciate regular monthly donations, since most of our costs come with regular monthly bills. For details on giving options, please see our partnership page.
Do tribal people in remote jungles really have access to digital Bibles?
Yes. Not everyone in the very remote regions of the earth have Internet access and devices to display Bibles, but the percentage that do is constantly growing. I have seen people in villages where there is no commercial electrical power using smart phones and tablet computers which they charge with solar power or by hauling them into town to charge there. Internet access via growing mobile phone networks continues to grow. It may not be as cheap, reliable, or accessible as almost everyone reading this is used to, but it is there. In addition, there are people who move from remote tribal areas to larger towns where they have access to digital Bibles. These people appreciate having access to the Holy Bible in their own language.
How does censorship and persecution affect digital Bible distribution?
If the persecution is just disapproval by neighbors, that has little or no effect. If the censorship extends to governments and ISPs, then it can indeed result in increasing the difficulty of accessing the Holy Bible in some ways. Any books with “Digital Rights Management” (copy protection) and enforced ties to the Internet are easy to censor, but simply not including these “features” in most Bible files we distribute makes them easy to copy and share and hard to censor. The main challenge in countries where the Holy Bible might be improperly censored is in letting people discover where to look. Passing media from person to person is one way that still works. Use of mobile hotspots that serve Bible files from local storage rather than accessing the wider Internet is another strategy that works. There are other ways, too, which I need not list, here. In other words, such persecution of Christians and the Holy Bible can’t totally succeed.
How does copyright law affect digital Bible distribution?
Mostly, copyright law prohibits digital Bible distribution unless the copyright owner grants permission. God got along fine without copyright law applied to the Holy Bible for thousands of years, always protecting and preserving His Word, as He does now. God still watches over His Word, even in an age when it is common practice to consider translations of God’s Word as intellectual property owned by specific people or organizations. Copyright is a legal monopoly for economic gain purposes granted to the authors and creators of intellectual property (such as written stories or art) for a limited, but long time. As such, it provides a profit motive to create such works. The Holy Bible in its original languages is old enough that it is not copyrighted. Saying it is in the Public Domain is another way of saying it is not copyrighted. However, copyright law counts translation of a Public Domain work as something that is under copyright. This is why the vast majority of Bible translations are copyrighted. The majority of the world’s Bible translations were translated within the last 95 years, which means that it is likely that a copyright still applies to them. (The term of copyright validity is complicated by various changes in law over time and by various national laws and treaties, but it is generally not safe to assume that any Bible translation less than 95 years old is in the Public Domain unless you research the details.) Bible copyright issues were the main thing that caused me to go to God in prayer the time that He commissioned me to do a Bible translation. (The result is the World English Bible.) I have written many times about Bible copyright issues. Here are links to a few of those articles:
Why does Michael work on the World English Bible?
Why does Michael focus so much on Bibles in minority languages?
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commands us to make disciples of all “nations” (ἔθνη), referring to tribes and ethnic groups. Making disciples and teaching all Jesus taught is greatly facilitated when there is a Bible, or at least a New Testament, in the languages these people understand the best. Plenty of people and ministries work with the largest language groups in the world, but God has called Michael to focus on the smaller language groups.
Why do we distribute digital Bible translations for free?
There are several reasons:
- Most of the speakers of minority languages we distribute Bible translations for don’t have any reasonable way to pay for digital books. They normally don’t have credit cards, and many don’t have bank accounts. However, they may have a smart phone with intermittent Internet access.
- In some places where Christians are persecuted by the government, the act of paying for a digital Bible is often not possible and/or dangerous.
- Some of the copyrighted Bible translations we distribute are given to us to with permission to distribute only on the condition that we do not do so commercially, i.e. for a profit.
- Even among people who could pay for a digital Bible, a higher price than “free” tends to reduce distribution, and therefore the number of people who would actually read it. This is basic economics (the law of supply and demand).
- Those who don’t yet know the great value of the Holy Bible are more likely to learn of its value with a free copy, then believe in Jesus. After that, they may well (and probably should) buy nice printed editions and/or premium digital editions that they would never have considered buying before.
- Encumbering digital Bible distribution with point of sale controls, money handling, digital rights management (copy protection), and accounting greatly increases the cost of digital Bible distribution and greatly reduces the amount of distribution. It almost totally destroys secondary distribution and sharing. Of course, it also precludes distribution to most of our primary audience.
- The actual cost of sharing digital Bible translations is so small per copy that it is totally practical for those costs to be borne by like-minded donors who value sharing God’s Word freely with people who need it most.
Does this keep Michael busy full time?
Yes. Seriously, there is no lack of work to do, and it is very rewarding work.
How can I help get the Holy Bible to people who need it most?
- Pray. Every believer in Jesus Christ can pray. Ask God how you should be involved. And please pray for us and our ministry while you are at it.
- Give. We provide access to the Holy Bible for free, but it costs money to do so. We can do this because faithful partners who share the same vision keep donating enough money to keep this ministry operating and even expanding.
- Go. Ask the Lord if you should be active in mission work in some way. Investigate opportunities at your church, in mission organizations, and in Bible translation agencies.