Looking for the Holy Bible to read or download in your favorite language? In addition to being the original home of the World English Bible, this site has grown to host hundreds of other Bible translations, as well as Scriptures in the original Hebrew and Greek languages. We also provide links to related sites hosting translations of the Holy Bible in even more languages and formats.
What is eBible.org?
First, and most obviously, eBible.org is a web site featuring access to the Holy Bible. Second, it is also the registered business name of an informal group dedicated to getting the Holy Bible to as many people as possible in the languages they understand best and the formats that are most useful to them. Third, it is a volunteer movement consisting of people who collaborate electronically to accomplish their common mission of making the Holy Bible more freely available in the languages and formats that provide the greatest impact for the Kingdom of God.
Who Founded eBible.org?
What is the History of eBible.org?
The history of eBible.org is more of a spiritual journey and a volunteer movement than the history of a set of human organizations, but for those of you who are interested in the human/government aspect of things, here is a brief history.
On the 26th of November, 1985, Michael and Lori Johnson incorporated Rainbow Missions, Inc., a Colorado nonprofit corporation. It operated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation in support of missionary activities, starting with one missionary family in Kenya. This later included the Bible translation and distribution activities of eBible.org. Note that running eBible.org started out as a hobby-level effort that was separate from Michael’s “day” job. It is now what Michael does with the majority of his working time.
In March 1994, God commissioned Michael to create a new modern English translation of the Holy Bible that would be forever free to use, publish, and distribute. This would take advantage of the coming increase in computers, networks, and digital devices that could be used to copy and display the Holy Bible at very little additional cost. The first fruits of this came in the form of the God’s Living Word translation of John and John’s Letters. When that traditional translation process proved too slow, God showed Michael a way to create a computer-aided, crowd-sourced, related-dialect adaptation of the American Standard Version of 1901, which was and is firmly in the Public Domain. That became the World English Bible with the help of many volunteers, including a couple of qualified scholars and consultants and many proof readers who helped greatly. An important part of this collaboration was publishing drafts in a variety of formats so that the volunteers could all see the latest draft. Without a vast company of volunteers, the World English Bible would not have been made available for free and with the quality of translation that we now enjoy.
On the 16th of April, 1997, Michael registered the eBible.org domain name and started using it to distribute draft copies of the World English Bible, as well as the American Standard Version, King James Version, and a few lesser known archaic English Bible translations.
On the 1st of January, 2008, World Outreach Ministries started processing tax-deductible donations for the support of Michael & Lori Johnson and eBible.org.
On the 17th of April, 2009, Michael registered PNGScriptures.org and TokPlesBaibel.org and uploaded 4 Bible translations to these sites on behalf of the PNG Bible Translation Association.
On the 7th of May, 2010, Rainbow Missions, Inc. was dissolved. Missionary support activities were transferred to other organizations and the Bible publishing activities were transferred to Pinon Engineering, Inc., while the volunteer network around eBible.org continued substantially unchanged.
On the 30th of August, 2011, PacificBibles.org was created and used to help people in the Pacific Area nations find Bible translations in their own languages. Many more Bible web sites have been created that are affiliated with or operated by eBible.org.
On the 6th of September, 2012, Wycliffe, Inc. (a name previously unregistered anywhere in the United States of America) was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii, USA. Subsequently, all prior Rainbow Missions, Inc. activities that had been transferred to Pinon Engineering, Inc., were transferred to Wycliffe, Inc. In 2019, Wycliffe, Inc. was dissolved and replaced by an informal registered business called simply eBible.org, which took over all essential activities of Wycliffe, Inc. This includes operation of the eBible.org web site and related web sites.
How Big is the eBible.org Organization?
As a volunteer movement, there have been too many contributors and helpers to count. (We gave up trying after losing a great deal of volunteer activity data in an early hard drive failure. We did, however, greatly improve our data backup strategies and practices.) Some volunteers have contributed a great deal and spent many hours of volunteer labor. Some have just helped by reporting typos or strange wording they have noticed. It all adds up.
As a legal corporation, there are 3 board members/stock holders and one very part time employee who does accounting work. The vast majority of the work is done by volunteers and missionaries who are supported by other employment and/or through various mission organizations.
Who Funds eBible.org?
The vast majority of the funding for eBible.org is currently via donations for the support of Michael and Lori Johnson through World Outreach Ministries.
Is eBible.org Nonprofit?
Yes, but it is not directly registered as a 501(c)3 charity under the U. S. A. Internal Revenue Code. To make donations that are tax-deductible in the U. S. A. that benefit eBible.org, please donate through World Outreach Ministries, fund code #70.
Why the Name “Wycliffe, Inc.”
Initially, the corporation named “Wycliffe, Inc.” was registered to recover from a policy mistake that caused a loss of control of copyright ownership by a sister organization for dozens of Bible translations. After a while, this corporation was reused to not just perform that one legal function, but to facilitate some of the activities of eBible.org that needed more formal legal registration, as well as some print publishing activities. To reduce the potential for confusion, we registered “eBible.org” as a trade name of Wycliffe, Inc., and use that as our primary identification for the organization for most interactions with the general public. Later, it became apparent that maintaining the administrative and legal structure of a corporation was overkill, and we switched just to a registered business name of "eBible.org". Just for clarity, “Wycliffe, Inc.” is a separate legal entity from “Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc.”, “Wycliffe Associates”, “Wycliffe Global Alliance”, “Wycliffe Enterprises, Incorporated”, “Wycliffe Homes”, and many other organizations that have “Wycliffe” in their names. We are close friends with the above organizations that are involved in Bible translation work, but have no relationship with the construction companies. Of course, “eBible.org” isn’t immune from confusion, since there are many web sites with similar names that have nothing to do with us, like the .com and .net variations of that domain name, so don’t forget the “.org”.
What Do You Believe?
We believe in God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Holy Bible and expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. We believe that the Holy Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is reliable and authoritative in matters of faith and doctrine. We believe that quality translations of the Holy Bible into the languages people understand best is an important part of the work of the Great Commission.
What Services Do You Provide?
Our primary focus is in harnessing the power of “viral” distribution to get copies of the Holy Bible to as many people as possible in the languages and formats that serve them best. We mean “viral” in the good social media sense, meaning that people copy and share the Holy Bible willingly and freely. Unlike physical paper Bibles, it is possible (and natural) to give away multiple copies of a Bible and still have an original. The only limits to the sharing come from the willingness of the people, the bandwidth of the connections, and the capacities of the devices used to display, play, and share the Holy Bible. Because each copy is exactly the same as the original, and may also be copied and shared freely. This allows for the potential of exponential growth in the number of copies when a significant number of people see the value of the Holy Bible.
To foster viral Bible distribution, we:
create easy-to-find, culturally relevant Internet distribution sites;
remove legal barriers to copying as much as we are allowed;
remove technical barriers to copying as much as is consistent with copyright owner policy;
ensure quality presentation of the Holy Bible so that people will want to read, listen, and share;
create formats that are useful and relevant for the target audience end users;
share copies of the Holy Bible in formats that are useful for developers of web sites and Bible study apps to use;
interface with the Every Tribe Every Nation Digital Bible Library as appropriate; and
encourage and help people who actively share the Gospel world-wide.
We also work on the translation of the World English Bible and related Bible translation projects.
What Do You Need?
To accomplish the above, we prefer to start with best-practice, latest standard USFM (Paratext format) files with Unicode character encoding. USX files from the Digital Bible Library and USFX files work just as well. Where that isn’t possible, we start with whatever the best available digital format is, and convert to one of the preferred input formats. In extreme cases, we work with Mission Assist to re-keyboard the text from a paper copy. We also need information about the translation (metadata) including ISO/Ethnologue language code, vernacular title, English description and short title, vernacular book names (normally in booknames.xml in a Paratext project backup), copyright and permissions information, credits and promotional information, orthography information, and warnings about any nonstandard markup that might have been used. Copyright permissions must be an acceptable license that allows free sharing, such as CC0, CC-BY-SA, CC-BY-ND, or CC-BY-ND-NC, unless the work is in the Public Domain (not copyrighted). Any variations from Unicode and special font requirements must be fully documented. A reference PDF, if available, is useful.
How Do We Get Bible Files and Permissions To You?
Please contact me via our web contact form at https://eBible.org/cgi-bin/contact.cgi for details and options best suited for your project.
What Does It Cost?
For freely distributable translations of the Holy Bible, we don’t charge the Bible translators or Bible translation organizations anything. Fees for processing of restricted distribution Bible translations are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
In What Digital Formats Does eBible.org Distribute Bible Translations?
We generate a standard set of formats, although the formats that are easy to download and share may not be available from us due to copyright owner restrictions for a particular translation.
For end users, we distribute translations of the Holy Bible (including portions) in the following formats:
Simple HTML online
Simple HTML zipped for downloading and viewing offline
Crosswire Sword modules in the eBible.org repository for use in Bible study apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and MacOS
Crosswire Sword modules for download and manual installation later from media offline
Epub 3 format (with backward compatibility to Epub 2 readers) for use with iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Google Play Books, Readium, Gitden Reader, etc.
PDF for reading on larger screens or printing on A4, A5, letter, or book sized pages
BibleWorks import format
Microsoft Word 2003 XML for copy and paste into Bible studies and for printing
For Bible app developers and web designers, in addition to the above formats, we offer:
Browser Bible/InScript Bible modules for use in online web sites and offline use
USFX, an XML format created before USX that I think is easier to work with.
USFM, which can be imported into Paratext, Bibledit, Adapt It, etc. Once in Paratext, USX can be exported if desired.
Verse per line unformatted text database
XeLaTeX source for custom typesetting by TeX experts
More formats are under development.
How Do You Protect Digital Bible Translations?
Threats we are aware of that merit precautions against include the following:
Unintentional human error in the translation, transcription, and conversion processes
Hardware failure, including hard drives, power outages, network malfunctions, etc.
Malicious hacker attacks, including malware, ransomware, and unauthorized access, modification, and misuse of server resources
Distributed denial of service attacks
Transmission and copying errors
Unauthorized editing of Bible translations
Poor translation quality
Take-down requests from parties with no legal standing to do so (i.e. intending denial of legitimate services or just plain wrong)
The precautions we take include:
Prayer and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading
A rigorous backup routine that includes multiple backups, with offline and online copies and version history, in multiple geographic locations
Redundant hardware, including a complete hot-standby server that is ready to take over the entire load should the primary server fail (which also improves response speed in normal operation, since normally both servers share the load)
Continuous quality feedback loop operation with testing and correction as necessary in our own software
Maximizing the use of automation in both Bible text processing and publication, especially in the processes that humans find tedious, for greater consistency of output and lower probability of errors
Timely updates of software to include the latest security patches
Anti-malware software with layered protection appropriate to each operating system
Automatic server content monitoring and restoration
Enough spare bandwidth to withstand most distributed denial of service attacks
Digital signatures for a tamper-evident quality assurance seal
DMCA-compliant take-down procedure that involves investigation and, if appropriate, restoration of resources
Clearly marking any Bible translations in draft or pre-consultant-checked status as such
Clearly marking Bible translations with copyright ownership and rights statements indicating what uses are permitted and who to contact for additional permissions
Vetting Bible translation sources for at least basic Christian orthodoxy, and clearly marking the sources in the metadata unless legitimate security considerations dictate to the contrary
Monitoring user feedback for indications of problems and promptly correcting them when verified
Best practice security access to servers and workstations to protect content against unauthorized modification
One thing that isn’t covered above that some Bible translation copyright owners consider an economic threat is some kind of way to limit copying, usually associated with collection of payment. Right now, there are really only two methods that sort of do this: limiting distribution to online-only formats (HTML and BrowserBible/InScript) and/or using encrypted Sword modules and setting up some separate point of sale process to issue keys to those modules. This sort of thing is totally the opposite of our normal viral distribution mindset, but in cases where free and unlimited distribution of God’s Word in a particular Bible translation is unacceptable to the copyright owners, it can be an option. There are also future plans for a new Bible study app that would have optional digital copy restriction management built in for selected modules, but that is likely at least a year down the road.
What is a Digital Signature?
A digital signature is a useful application of public key cryptography. In public key cryptography, each user generates a pair of keys that are mathematically related to each other. One he keeps secret as his own private key, and the other one he can publish widely for anyone to see and use. This key pair works together. It can be used either to encrypt messages or to sign them. There are lots of good books on cryptography that explain the math of why this works and why it is so hard to crack. For our purposes, though, you just need to know that you can use software called Gnu Privacy Guard and sha1sum along with the public keys I publish to verify that Bibles I publish have not been altered, either by accident or intentionally, since I processed them. I freely admit that this will probably not actually be done by most users, but it can be done by people with above-average computer literacy in cases where there may be doubts.
Why Do You Do This?
We do this because God’s Word always does what God sent it to do. See Isaiah 55:11.