In 1998, when I started awmach.org, there were few Bible sites on the Internet, and those that existed were laden with banners and ads. I thought it worthwhile at the time to provide God's word in a commercial free environment. I concentrated primarily on old English language Bible translations that the sources claimed were in the Public Domain. As time went on, I added other references and Bible translations, always sticking with texts that stated claims of being in the Public Domain.
Now, a decade later, I feel that God is moving me in a different direction. Today, there are many Bible sites where you can read the Bible in about any different language you'd care to specify, and in many different editions for each main language. I have no desire to try to duplicate that effort, pay for that level of bandwidth, and I particularly don't want to try to trace the ancestry of the texts to ensure they are really the Public Domain versions that they claim to be. This is particularly true for foreign language versions which I do not speak (and my Spanish is rusty enough I wouldn't want to try it for the Reina-Valera either). In my defense, I have modified the verse breakdowns in all cases to more closely match the Authorized Version so that parallel Bible displays worked. The versions posted here were probably completely unique in that sense and were unlikely to match any commercial printed version anyway (or to be of any use to someone who wanted a true to historical printed version electronic copy.)
While it is my belief that the Bibles that I displayed were Public Domain works, in today's society defending those facts would probably be difficult. I leave that field to the people and companies who are actually trying to make money from the process. Instead, I will continue to provide an Authorized Version (KJV) of which I am pretty sure of the Public Domain status. For the time being, the other Bibles will still be able to be selected to view scripture references in my postings in other translations than the Authorized. This should generally fall under a fair use exception even if the the original text should prove to not be in the Public Domain, especially since the Authorized Version is the default. I've supplied a few of the other bibles as well, but restricted the search engines from indexing them. That should keep most people from ever finding them in the first place and still provide the text for people who were using the texts here before. Those that were in contention are not linked in the menu system. Downloads can be found here with a password of "I certify this Bible is legal to download to this IP address."
For the publishing houses that are causing difficulties in getting God's word to His children, I would suggest you consider the following facts. God is the original author of the Bible. He used many individuals, long since dead, in oral and written traditions to hand His Word down through generation after generation. Once the Hebrew and Greek were codified, after a period of centuries He used other individuals to translate the original languages to those that the common people could read and understand. The publishing houses have been tweaking the text ever since as the language changes, and in many cases claiming a copyright status for their particular flavor of the year even if only a handful of words were updated.
One day, each person involved in that process will stand before Him. He may well have the original people who passed the word down by spoken word, the scribes who faithfully put that word to a particular medium and preserved it through the ages, and the translators on hand and will ask you why you have done what you did and why you have opposed what you have opposed. It is one thing to stand before a board of directors or in a court of law and assert that you were carrying out your fiduciary duties and protecting your works. It is another thing altogether to try to assert those claims before Almighty God.
So I would humbly ask that you take some time before you assert your rights against the little guys who truly aren't hurting you at all. Every individual that is saved by God's Word that is read on-line some place is another individual who will be buying your printed Bibles and other Christian books and literature over the course of a lifetime. You can't generate free advertising like that on your own. On-line Bibles and Bibles displayed from computer programs will never be a substitute for the printed pages of a Bible. Converting people to Christ is a win for you and having the Word on-line helps in that process. You should be doing it yourselves. Shame on you for not.
To all Christians, I urge you to purchase Bibles. When the rapture occurs, all of the people who remain will be largely out of luck since God's people have been relying on technology in the last days. In some ways technology makes the Bible more convenient. You can adjust the print size to fit your eyes strength and you can search for scriptures easily to do word studies or find verses you want.
The downside is it will make it easier in that day for the forces of evil to shut down the Word online. The search engines will make it easy to find the domains to shut off. Physical infrastructure will break down as Christian webmasters are no longer around to monitor operations or pay for bandwidth and renew their domains. Computers may be hampered by a lack of power in general to run. If you need a modern day example of how easy this is, look to Egypt in January 2011. It took only a few days for the government to force their ISPs off-line when civil unrest hit. Think how easy it will be for the government to shut down Christian sites in the wake of the rapture, even if normal logistics are still working for a time.
People won't be able to go to many churches and grab a Bible after the stores sell out. All that is left in many churches is a single computer program that drives the overheads. You used to be able to find Bibles in every pew back along with the hymnals that are absent today in many evangelical churches.
You can't substitute the modern marvels for the the value of the printed word. Don't rely on Internet searches at work; take a Bible along. Hide the Word in your heart that you might not sin against God.
For myself, I have decided to go a different way for now rather than concentrating on the extant texts. Perhaps in the future God will direct me to do something else. For now, my apologies to everyone who has enjoyed tools I supplied along with all the easy to read Bibles. Some of those tools will once again make an appearance as I get time. I hope that you will still find the information that is posted here to be useful. Best wishes, and I hope to see you in heaven one day.
Submitted by William Haller on