Do You Need Permission to Quote the Bible During Church?
Most church services revolve around the core theme of Scripture. Because of this, the Bible is quoted several times throughout the service.
So, do you need permission to quote Scripture during your church service? This question is highly debated among many religions that use Scripture to aid their beliefs. It ultimately depends on the rules and regulations from the church that changes what is stated at the pulpit. The results vary between the different types of churches and their foundation of beliefs.
If you are curious where your religion falls, I challenge you to do thorough research because this topic has varying opinions. Today, I will provide you with carrying perspectives on the topic of why you should or should not need permission to quote the Bible during service.
A small Bible publisher is making headlines for telling pastors they must get permission to use any quotations from the company’s version of the Holy Scriptures in their sermons, emails, and newsletters.
Do you want to quote a Bible scripture during service? You may need permission. At least that’s what a Nashville-based religious publisher has told its customers: That even a citation from its copyrighted version of the Bible should require advance permission and “licensed” pastors.
For example, if a pastor wants to read from Psalm 23:1-6 during a sermon — “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…” – he would have to purchase a $15 royalty for each service in which it’s read.
“Licensed” pastors would have to fill out a “bible permissions request form”, according to the email from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. This organization is based in Nashville and has sold Bibles since publishing the first modern translation in 1927.
LifeWay spokesman Brent Miller said that no permission was needed to quote from the King James Version, which is in the public domain.
“Only copyrighted materials require a license,” he said. “We have an agreement with [the copyright holder] to protect their investment.” He declined to identify that publisher or say how much it gets paid for each use of a passage, calling that “commercially sensitive information.”
Violation of the First Amendment?
In a recent article from the newswire, a Pastor of the Catholic Church says he needs permission to quote Bible verses during his sermons.
This is a direct violation of his first amendment rights and a clear contradiction for any Christian preaching. This is an example of how non-Christians are trying to change Christianity to be more politically correct.
The Bible should always come before any other law or rule because it is the Word of God. The Bible says “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all scripture the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
It is time to stand up and say enough is enough. We will not let Christianity become a political ideology that caters to everyone’s wishes and desires. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Mt 5:6)
Need Permission? Assemblies of God Perspective
In a controversial post about Pastor Mark Driscoll’s sermon at the Gateway Conference called “Christianity Sucks“, there were a couple of Bible verses quoted from his talk.
At first, one normally does not think anything of it because most generally quote Bible verses all the time, especially when writing Christian-focused articles. However, it was a surprise to learn that some people believe quoting Bible verses during a sermon is wrong because the Bible should only be studied; it shouldn’t be preached.
Many disagree with this notion 100%. The entire Bible is designed for preaching, teaching, and sharing (Romans 10:17). The main purpose of scripture isn’t to study or read, but to preach and teach.
It’s meant to be declared, sung, shouted, read out loud, preached from the pulpit, and applied in our lives! That’s what Mark Driscoll was doing during his sermon at the Gateway Conference – preaching God’s Word.
Know What the Bible Says
Most believe it is important for Christians to know what the Bible says so they can be prepared to preach it from the pulpit or share it with others. The only way Christians can know what the Bible says is by reading and studying God’s Word.
If a preacher doesn’t quote Bible verses during his sermon, he will often be quoting worldly wisdom, culture, or his ideas which are not in line with scripture.
Most believe it is acceptable for a preacher to quote Bible verses during a sermon, even if it is preached from the pulpit. It depends on the context in which the verse is used; I believe quoting bible verses during a sermon is acceptable.
Beware of False Teaching
Notice that Paul wrote this letter specifically to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 14). This was a congregation of Christians, not a Sunday school class or some other group within the church.
The people in this city were having problems with false teachers who were creating confusion and division. Paul wrote his letter as a rebuke, but he also wrote it as advice for living the Christian life.
As someone who has been involved in church leadership for many years, including types of pastoral ministry (other than preaching), we must respect the feelings of those who determine they have been offended by sermon “quoting” during worship services.
You see, it’s not that pastors want to ban quoting chapter and verse in worship services. It’s not that we stand up and say, “I’m the boss here! I will permit or disallow what I will!” No one is putting a gun to anyone’s head and saying, “Quoting scriptures during worship is forbidden!”
What we do say is this: It’s our job as preachers of God’s word to connect the scripture with the people in such a way that they understand it and apply it.
And when we simply read verses to our congregations, even when we take time to explain them, it doesn’t connect. It’s like finding the right tools for the job – you could have all the right tools in your garage but if you don’t know how to use them, they’re useless.
We preachers are supposed to be good at connecting with people and applying scripture. It’s not easy, even for seasoned veterans of the pulpit, but it’s our gift to bring what God says into people’s lives.
So when someone simply reads verses to their congregation without explaining them or applying them, that may not always work well. Reading scriptures is not connecting with people. So preachers say things like “Let’s read this passage, but let’s talk about what it means…” or “Let’s read this scripture together, but before we do I want to explain what it means…”
Sadly, some people are offended because of this. I understand how the preacher could come across as self-serving or egotistical. We’re not trying to be that way; we simply want to make the scriptures meaningful and life-changing for our people.
Worship and Quoting Scripture
At least in my church, we say “We will quote scripture during worship…” What we don’t do is just read verses out of context and jump to conclusions about them. We take time to explain what they mean and how it applies right then and there.
Sadly, many people have been offended because of this and it has created a lot of problems in the church. Some churches have split over wrong understanding on this point. We don’t believe it’s our job to tell people what they can and cannot do while being entertained at a worship service.
Rather we’re trying to be good stewards of the scriptures as they apply to our people – sharing it with them as best we can. I am a preacher who not only is concerned about what scripture says but also tries to make sure my people benefit from it. I’m not there simply reading words for words’ sake or giving a sermon that’s forty minutes long for the sake of being long.
I care about my people and their worship experience, which includes understanding what the scriptures say to them during my sermons. I’m not there to entertain or put on a theatrical performance – my job is to communicate God’s word for our good.
Why We Should Share God’s Word
I’m sorry if someone is offended because of this, but it’s the Christian thing to do. After all, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17.
If we condemn people, we’re no better than the religious leaders who killed Jesus for sharing God’s word with them. We preach it and apply it to our lives and trust God to make a way for it to be heard and understood by all men (even those who take scripture out of context and jump to conclusions about it).
The Bible teaches us to expect persecution for sharing the good news of Jesus and that our reward in heaven will be great. What we need to realize is that the persecution and judgmentalism don’t just come from nonbelievers; it also comes from so-called believers who want to take the good news of Jesus and pervert it with their idea of what works and doesn’t work in sharing God’s word with the world.