[sword-devel] Cool idea: Commercial Linux /Windows Bible program based on Sword

Walter Kenaston sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 31 Jan 2001 22:18:06 -0500

Bob Pritchett wrote:

> <snip>
> It could be argued that the Bible should be free to everyone everywhere, and
> that if there isn't money to translate it into a small language in Asia than
> churches and individuals should contribute. I agree, and this is the case to
> an extent. But, tithing and good intentions aside, it's often easier for the
> Bible translation community as a whole to get $10-20 from you for every copy
> of the Bible you personally desire, and send it off to the many projects
> around the world that they participate in, than to give the Bibles to you
> for free and hope you'll remember to send a gift. :-)

[On this and other things read recently:]

I would argue many people throughout history
have given not only their time and money into
bringing us the Bible texts but some have devoted
their lives, maybe even given their lives.  Some
of these people were taken care of by patrons,
other provided for themselves while they went
about God's work, perhaps others a mix.

I do not know the financial details of the early
Bibles, but safe to say only the rich could afford
them because making one was so costly: hiring a
scribe, printing and binding a book, whatever.
But today, software is just a stream of electrons
and there is no reason to charge for it, except in
charging for the media such as a CD-ROM, and
mailing, and the like.

But what's going on today is for-profit corporations
getting the bucks they can by selling the best

To charge for access to software Bibles is a
change from charging what it cost to produce
the actual thing in hand - a printed book - to
charging for the effort behind it.  How can you
charge for something that certainly thousands
did for no charge to further the Kingdom of God?

I will heartily acknowledge that people have to
put food on the table, but I think charging for
Bible software is less like those of old who
brought us our Bible texts as their service to God,
and more like the corporation out to make
money.  Yes, you can say the money gets
funneled back into God's work; but it is still
the operation of a corporation (non-profit as
it is) than of a body of believers.  It is merely
not showing a profit, rather than depending on
the gifts of the people and God for doing the
work. (And who will be honored by God
for the good work?  The Corporation??)  I
cannot see charging Peter for what should
be a free Bible, just so Paul can have one;
Peter should be made aware of Paul's lack
and then let it be an issue between God and
Peter. (This brings concern over God's will
to the forefront in "Peter's" life, and personal
accountability, rather than buying an item and
good feelings with the same purchase, or a
tax-deductible "gift.")

MAYBE, one could make an argument for
charging for the software (I can't), but the
data, the Bible texts and related information,
certainly should be free as a work to God.