At John 18:37, 38 we find this interchange of words between Jesus and Pontius Pilate while Jesus was on trial:
Pilate: ‘You aren’t a king, are you?’
Jesus: ‘You’re the one that’s saying that I’m a king. The reason why I was born and why I came into the world is to testify to the truth, and everyone that’s on the side of the truth listens to my voice.’
Pilate: ‘What is truth?’
Pilate’s cynical and sullen question certainly seems appropriate in the world that we’re living in today, because truth – real, absolute truth – is very difficult to find.
What people usually accept as truth is often shaded by propaganda, news sources, what they were taught in school, what they were taught in church, or the word of ‘authorities.’ Although only the most ignorant will accept everything they are told without question, this is what most religions expect of us.
If we’re really searching for truth, we must be willing to question everything that we’ve been taught, and be humble enough to change our thinking in accordance with what we’ve discovered.
A wise person once said: ‘Our minds don’t control our beliefs; our beliefs control our minds.’
Notice that Jesus was someone that believed in the importance of truth. He told us that he came to the earth to ‘testify to the truth’. Therefore Christians should hold telling the truth and searching for the truth in the highest esteem, especially when it comes to truth from the Bible. However, many (like Pilate) have become too cynical in their disgust for religion and have concluded that knowing the truth really doesn’t matter, so they’ve given up in their search.
Please don’t do that. The truth can be found if you keep on seeking, knocking, and asking.
Today, religions are the main obstacles to finding the truth. Almost all have leaders that have set themselves up (or have been held up by others) as unquestionable (even infallible) sources of truth.
You can easily identify such ones by the way they teach. How? They do not humbly admit that their teachings and interpretations could be right, no, they usually insist that you believe all of their teachings, predictions, creeds, doctrines, and opinions (every religion has them). Further, when they change their minds, or if their positions are proved wrong, they do not apologize, repent, and change their ways. Instead they simply impose a different set of unquestionable creeds, doctrines, and rules.
So the greatest obstacles to finding truth are these barriers that such people have created. Let’s examine them more closely.
Creeds are lists of fundamental beliefs of a ‘Church’. They are written to be memorized by its members, which religions claim should never be questioned by the ‘faithful.’
Many of these creeds began as misunderstandings of people that lived centuries ago, and were often taught just to control people through fear and superstition. Today, the religions that teach them are locked into them, as these are their basic ‘truths’ that define who their religion.
A doctrine is an specific teaching or interpretation that is typically not allowed to be questioned or researched.
However, when free and open debate is no longer allowed, then people have stopped searching for truth. If people have stopped searching for truth, then their spirituality has ended, for they have stopped thinking and learning. They are now blindly following men. The traditional gospel song, Old Time Religion even encourages this, by urging people to unthinkingly adopt the beliefs of earlier generations.
Religious rules are the endless collections of laws that are created by religious hypocrites (like the Pharisees).
Such rules are usually just the personal opinions of whoever was in power at the time. They then make it look like the rules came “from God” by cherry-picking scriptures or so-called ‘Bible principles’ (just the ones they choose, not all of them). Thus they turn their own opinions into rules, or laws, when such things are not clearly spelled out in the Bible.
These laws may include: what we may wear, how we groom ourselves, what we eat or drink, what entertainment we choose, matters of sexual conduct that aren’t specifically spelled out in the Bible, things we choose to observe or celebrate, and many other things.
They are doing exactly what Paul warned against doing, at 1 Corinthians 4:6:
‘Don’t go beyond the things that are written!’
In the centuries since Jesus and his Apostles founded Christianity, prominent men have created countless creeds, doctrines, and rules. Most of these have gone unquestioned by the people, as the masses were usually denied the opportunity to verify what they were being taught (either via threats or by the unavailability of the Bible). That may be one reason why there are now more than 1,000 different religions calling themselves ‘Christian.’ Such diversity proves that religion has become the primary obstacle to truth, for they all state:
“To become one of us, you must believe the following…”
“To be baptized as one of us, you must say that you believe the following…”
As a result, people start believing things blindly. They do not research the Bible themselves to verify that what they’re being taught is really the truth.
Is this the Christian way? No. At Acts 17:11 it is said of those at the synagogue at Berea:
‘Now, these people were more noble-minded than those in ThesSalonica, because they eagerly welcomed the Word and studied the Scriptures each day to make sure that the things [they were being told] were true’.
The fact is: Truth can stand up to examination!
Religions falsely claim that there’s no need for us to examine or to question the meaning of the scriptures ourselves. They’ve already determined ‘the truth’ on our behalf, so they say, and further, their conclusions should never be questioned! Indeed, if you do so, you may even be punished.
So this is why most people no longer care to ‘study the Scriptures each day,’ because they’re not allowed to ask questions. Rather, members are encouraged, not to study the Bible directly, but to study what their religion says the Bible says. This is mind control!
Often Christians are encouraged to just ‘follow along’ in their Bibles and to not ‘waste time’ verifying what is being taught by looking for scriptures that may disagree. People are subtly discouraged from doing any personal deep Bible research by being told that it’ll only confuse them or mislead them into ‘apostasy’ or ‘heresy’ (finding out that what they are being taught is wrong).
However, true Christianity still invites questions, research, and the right to come to different conclusions. In fact, it encourages a deep study of the Bible, because this is where real truth is found. If a religion ever says, “We ARE the truth” or, “We are chosen by God and we speak for Him”, it’s best to run! What they are really saying is:
“You are not allowed to disagree with us even when we are WRONG!”
So, where can we find truth? It can only be found through a never-ending study of the entire Bible. Yes, not just the ‘New Testament,’ but the whole thing; for if you don’t believe the beginning, there is no reason to believe in the end.
Remember that when we stop searching, knocking, and asking, this proves that we have already drawn our own conclusions without considering all the evidence. So, just like the religions with their creeds and doctrines, we have stopped learning; for we have created our own creeds and doctrines.
What if you feel that you don’t have time for such study and research?
If you have the time to read or listen to a religion, then you have time to read the Bible instead. After all, which is more important if you are truly seeking, knocking, and asking (and not trusting someone else to give you the answers)?
Jesus placed a high priority on the need for his followers to find the truth. Notice what he said about this:
John 4:23, 24 says:
‘But the time is coming (and it’s now) when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth… because, the Father is searching for such people to worship Him. And since God is spirit; those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit… and in truth.’
John 8:32 says:
‘You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’
John 14:6 says:
‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody comes to the Father unless [he comes] through me.
John 14:16, 17 says:
‘Now, I’m going to ask the Father and He will provide you with an advocate that will be with you through the age… the Spirit of Truth. The world won’t receive it, because they can’t see it or understand it… but you’ll recognize it, for it will stay with you and in you.’
Notice that Jesus wasn’t telling us to ‘Worship at the church or synagogue of your choice.’ Rather, he was telling us to seek the truth. Can we really say that “we’ve found the truth” if we are only allowed to believe what someone else (not the Bible) tells us?
So, where can we find the truth? Jesus told us:
‘Your Word is the truth.’ —John 17:17
And Paul wrote:
‘All the Scriptures are inspired (Breathed) by God.’ —2 Timothy 3:16
As you can see, we find the truth by reading the Bible. Yet it’s not by just reading selected scriptures (the ones you know so well), or just our favourite parts, but the whole Bible! This certainly includes the so-called Old Testament, because when Paul wrote the above words, most of the New Testament had not been written yet.
What did Jesus mean when he said, “The truth will set you free”? (John 8:32)
If we read that verse in context, you’ll notice that his listeners were very offended by his words. They quickly reminded him that they were already a “free” people, thank-you-very-much. Yet, as Paul later pointed out, they weren’t really free at all. Rather, they were slaves to the Old Law as well as to their own sins. Indeed, that’s one of the reasons why Jesus came, to free them from all of that using truth.
Are there people today who think they’re free while really being slaves to something? Absolutely!
We are all slaves to sin and death. Many of us are in slavery to fear of what will happen to us at death, and most are slaves to some sort of religious or atheist dogma and tradition. But according to Jesus, what gives us freedom is truth! So if we’re afraid to search for truth, then we cannot be – nor will we ever be – free.
But is truth really the thing that will save us? Well, from our work producing this Bible translation, we can prove that no religion is teaching 100% unvarnished truth. So if absolute truth is required for salvation, then no one would be saved! But finding the truth about everything is not the point. It is the search for it. For if true Christians become lazy, satisfied, and settled in their beliefs, then they are, in effect, saying “I know that some of my beliefs are probably wrong, but I don’t care.” Such ones have lost their spirituality, and perhaps even their relationship with God.
Here’s an example of how searching for truth can open your eyes. Could you explain to someone the difference between right and wrong (good from evil)?
Well, if you could forget everything you’ve been taught, and go back to the Bible to see what it actually teaches, you would likely have quite a different opinion from what you have now. How come? If you look at the lives of people (like AbraHam and David) whom God loved and compare their lives and actions to your current opinions, you would start to see how far your ideas may be from those of God.
Another example: Do you quote the Old Law when giving an answer? If so, you probably don’t understand the meaning of the New Covenant. If you study the Bible with a free and open mind, you will discover much better truths than what you have now.
One of the other freedoms that comes with always seeking Bible truth is the freedom from hating those who disagree with you. You can develop a new-found sorrow for those who insist that they’re always right. You see, you’ll realize that you still have much to learn, and that the mark of a true Christian isn’t proving that we are right, but that we love other Christians even when they don’t fully understand the truth yet.
After all, who are we to condemn those that claim to be the servants of God? As Paul wrote at Romans 14:4:
‘Who are you to judge the house servant of another? He only stands or falls before his own master’
Why are the European ‘Dark Ages’ called that? Historians regard them as a period of mental darkness that was created by religion.
Yes, blind adherence to religious doctrines and laws stifled art, science, learning, and human development. Organized religion was particularly to blame for this darkness, because it used the threat of being tortured in the fires of Hell if anyone disagreed. This kept the people ignorant, shaking in fear, and unwilling to question what they were taught. Also, ordinary folks were not allowed to own Bibles, and few were taught how to read.
However, in the early 1500s the Protestant Reformation began. It brought much change, as for the first time the Bible was being translated into the common languages, printed, and distributed. Also, more people were learning to read (bringing an end to the Dark Ages). Then people started to learn from their Bible reading that they weren’t being taught the truth by their religions. This growing knowledge of what the Bible truly says infuriated the dominant religions because the people were now learning the truth. Some of the early Bible translators (such as Huss and Tyndale) were literally slowly-roasted over fires for their efforts.
Do you notice one thing that made this period so unique in history? People were willing to be flayed or buried alive (and thousands were) just to read the Bible! The result of this was the founding of some new denominations with some amazingly better understandings of what the Bible really teaches. Yes, we gained more truth!
But oh, how times have changed!
Today, most Bibles sit on shelves unread and covered in dust. Hardly anyone is interested in (or would be willing to die for) reading them. Most people prefer to just listen to whatever they want to hear at some church, and they consider this righteous devotion to God.
Back in those bygone years, many of those new denominations were horribly persecuted and many were destroyed. Those that survived became lethargic, formed political and national alliances, and settled comfortably into their own false doctrines and creeds. So with time, and as the Bible became commonly available, most Bible reading and searching for the truth ended for the people in these religions. Their minds once again became blinded to truth by creeds, doctrines, and laws, which discouraged Bible reading and asking questions.
Yes, we’ve gone from a time when people were willing to die for reading the Bible, to a time when nobody wants to read it, because it already comes prepackaged by some religion.
Another period of spiritual awakening happened close to the end of the 19th century.
The availability of new Bible translations caused people to examine the things they were being taught by their churches once again. Additionally, archaelogical discoveries cast light on the ancient peoples and fueled a massive public interest in the past. Further, many people became interested in Bible prophecies, and some argued that world events indicated that the time Jesus foretold (at Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) had arrived.
So once again, Bible reading and research peaked as people started searching for the truth.
Several different religious groups began to form which were referred to as ‘Adventists’ (although most didn’t adopt Adventist as part of their name). They were called this because they were looking for the “advent” (or coming) of Jesus. Many of these Adventist groups were unique in that they rejected the old creeds and doctrines of established religions and tried to search the Bible to find truth. Indeed, some did find more truth. How?
It was not by accepting the views of ‘authorities,’ but by sitting down together and discussing all the scriptures on a subject, then trying to harmonize them. Thus they believed they could establish what the Bible itself teaches and what the 1st century Christians believed and taught.
Notice how the Adventists aren’t Protestants, because they weren’t “protesting” the teachings of the Catholic Church as did those of the 15th and 16th centuries; they were just looking for something new and better (the truth).
The Protestant Reformation and the Adventist groups created two great periods of spiritual awakening and renewed independent research of the Bible.
However, this always attracted opposition from established religions, who viewed the new groups as upstarts and dangerous competitors. Even today you’ll still find hundreds of webpages denouncing different Adventist groups, even though it’s been over a century since most were formed.
However, despite all the opposition against them, the Adventists have definitely affected almost all religions since then. Doctrines such as Purgatory, Hell Fire, and the Trinity are no longer as widely accepted – or at least, not in the same forms as they were in the past.
The sad thing about the Adventist groups is that although they got so much right (as did the early Protestant Churches), over time they have allowed disillusionment and the growth of religious “authority” to tire them out. As they’ve grown into large religious organizations, they have all stopped progressing into truth.
As they grew larger and became more respectable, they too:
In other words, they became smaller versions of the larger religious organizations, with the search for truth stopped, and their members compelled or forced into submission to a central authority of men.
Most religions today could really be called a “pseudo-christocracy”. What is that? Well “pseudo” means fake or false, “christ” means annointed or chosen, and “-ocracy”, means rulership. In other words, a rulership by fake anointed ones. Yes, the slavish devotion to (or worship of) men who call themselves the Chosen, the Anointed, or the Saints.
Interestingly, the Bible foretold this. For in Greek, Jesus is recorded as saying:
‘Egerthesontai gar pseudochristoi kai pseudoprophetai.’
or in English,
‘Will/arise for false/anointed and false/prophets.’ —Matthew 24:24
Most Bibles incorrectly translate the word pseudochristoi as “false Christs”. This gives the wrong impression that some people would claim to be Jesus, since most people think that ‘Christ’ was Jesus’ name. It wasn’t!
The verse really says that false anointed ones and false prophets would arise. For the Greek word christoi just means anointed (or chosen). In other words, men would set themselves up over other Christians, falsely claiming to be chosen (or anointed) by God to have authority over the others, and to be their leaders.
Remember what Jesus said about this at Matthew 23:8-12:
‘But not you! Don’t [have people] call you rabbi, for you have but one teacher, while you are all just brothers. Nor should you address anyone on earth as Father, because there’s just One that’s your Father, the Heavenly One.
Don’t even be called leaders, because you have but one Leader, the Anointed One.
Rather, the greatest one among you must be your servant.
For whoever promotes himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.’
Yes, the power-hungry hate this scripture.
Today, all Christian religions have a group of men claiming to be chosen, called, or anointed ruling over the rest. Many even insist on being called “father” in direct opposition to Jesus’ own words. They go by various names, whether it be Popes, Bishops, Pastor-Generals, a Quorum, a Governing Body, a Polity, or whatever else, they are always well-known as the leaders of their various groups.
It is all in direct opposition to Jesus’ words, “don’t even be called leaders, because you have but one Leader, the Anointed One”.
Do you remember what Jesus said as written at Matthew 7:7, 8?
‘Keep asking and it will be given.
Keep searching and you will find.
Keep knocking and it will be opened.
For all will receive, that keep asking;
All that keep searching, will find;
And [the door] will be opened to all those that knock.’
Okay, but won’t deep independent Bible research lead you in the wrong direction (as most religions warn)? For when you start casting doubts on your beliefs, doesn’t that eventually lead to ‘apostasy’ or ‘heresy?’ Definitely not!
For Jesus went on to say (at Matthew 7:9-11):
‘For, of which man isn’t this true:
When his son asks him for bread, he won’t hand him a stone, and if he asks for a fish, he won’t hand him a snake! So if you in your wicked condition give good gifts to your children; how much more so will your Father in heaven give good things to those that keep asking?’
As you can see, Jesus taught us that asking, searching, and knocking doesn’t lead us astray. Rather, it leads us to God and to the truth! However, when we adopt a church creed or doctrine, we stop obeying that command.
(See also our translator note on the words apostasy and apostates.)
Some might think, “The Bible has already been researched and commented on for centuries by thousands of people. Surely there’s nothing left to learn through study.” Is this right? Absolutely not!
Although the Bible has remained the same, our research shows that there’s still much hidden truth to be found – even on the most basic teachings. The fact that there are so many opposing religious doctrines proves that we need to keep an open mind; for each religion can quote their favorite scriptures to prove that they are right. However, there is only one truth, which can usually be found somewhere between the extremes!
Yes, all religions claim that they encourage Bible reading, but that really isn’t true of any of them. No, they only encourage such reading when it’s “explained” by their own writings, or when it is read from their pulpits. This is ‘directed’ Bible reading, so that you aren’t ‘led astray.’ We say that such discouragement of independent Bible research is what is directly responsible for the lack of interest in Bible reading today.
Yes, religion is the main barrier that prevents people from finding the truth!
Today, most people who call themselves ‘Christians’ are used to looking for quick answers. They do not search, ask, or knock. Rather, they seek out prepackaged or franchised ‘truth’ provided by the research, doctrines, and creeds of others.
Therefore, most people are only familiar with a few cherry-picked scriptures, which they use to “prove” the doctrines that their denomination taught them. These people only read new Bible translations, like this one, to see whether it confirms what they’ve already been taught. If this translation happens to translate a particular verse in a way which supports their pre-formed belief, then they love our translation. On the other hand, if our translation does not say what they want it to say, they dismiss our translation, and go seeking their confirmation bias elsewhere.
So despite the fact that the Bible is the most published and translated book in the world, it has become one of the world’s least read publications! It’s no longer interesting. After all, religious people have already been told what to believe; reading the Bible with an open mind will only confuse them. So very few people today would be willing to be tortured and killed, as were those in the 15th century, just to read and research the Bible.
Yes, what others once literally died to read, just sits there on shelves gathering dust. This is true in all religions; yes, even yours.
All Christian denominations claim that their teachings are correct and true. Why, some of them even dare to refer to themselves as ‘the Truth!’ However, we should ask all such religions a question:
Do they still allow their members to freely discuss all the scriptures regarding a subject, and then try to harmonize them, even if that leads to discarding old doctrines? Or rather, have they appointed ‘authorities,’ which claim some special choosing or anointing by God to do all the heavy Bible research for them? Further, do their leaders condemn anyone who disagrees or questions their teachings as ‘apostates’ or ‘heretics?’
Sure, if anyone really has discovered a truth, he or she should follow it unwaveringly; but they should never have another human deny them the option to question it. Questioning is how ‘the truth’ is found in the first place!
The interesting thing about the truth is that it can withstand all challenges and questions! Yes, truth has nothing to fear.
No one that has the truth should ever be afraid of persons who may ask questions, or do research, or who doubt. It is only false teachers who have something to fear from independent Bible research; for it is the raising of questions and doubts that leads to finding the truth. The worst thing for a false teacher is to be exposed, for if he has set himself up as a “Leader” (in direct opposition to Jesus’ own words) then it proves that not only was he wrong, but also his claim of divine appointment was nothing more than a sham.
So as you can see, organized religion is a great quandary. On the one hand, we need association with others to remain (or to become) spiritual people. On the other hand, most religions promote hatred of anyone who disagrees with their creeds, doctrines, and man-made rules.
So if you have found a group of spiritually-minded people among whom you can freely express differing opinions and ideas, you’ve truly found a gem. But never forsake regular Bible reading (keep on reading the whole Bible)! For reading religious books or magazines, or for listening to sermons is where you just learn doctrines!
The Bible is the only real source of truth; all else is just the ideas of men!
There is an inevitable outcome for religions that believe that they have the truth and God-given authority. It can be seen in the history of the Catholic Church.
Whenever religious leaders are considered the only source of truth from God, their rule then becomes absolute. Their flocks think that their leaders can do no wrong, and the leaders can no longer be questioned when it comes to matters of faith.
You can see this whenever people quote the decisions a prelate, a religious body, a book, a sermon, or even a magazine article to prove scriptural points to each other, rather than quoting the Bible. We see this everywhere, especially amongy very zealous religions. You see, once the rule makers (think Pharisees) take over and start creating their laws and doctrines, anyone who disagrees will feel their wrath.
The next step, of course, is the inquisition and repression of anyone who questions or contradicts the authority. This is what happened in the Catholic Church of the 16th century (the Inquisition). Obviously, secular laws prevent religions from torturing and murdering anyone today, but many religions still have their ways of giving out punishments; they can shun, excommunicate, or disfellowship.
Although such an action may sound mild compared to what happened in the Inquisition, the effect is often the same as killing a person spiritually. Doubters can lose their friends, their jobs, and their families, since in the eyes of their church they have been killed and are now considered as dead with no hope of salvation.
(Was this the way among the 1st century Christian congregations? No! See our commentary, ‘Removing the Wicked from the Congregation’ for more information.)
If you think that you’ve found a true faith, here is something to look for: is there any presence of true Christian humility? Are those who teach willing to admit and apologize when they are wrong?
When a religion changes it doctrines, rules, or predictions, they should realize the damage that they’ve done to people’s lives and families, and they should freely apologize for their wrong teachings.
Is that what we see when looking at the different “Christian” denominations?
Although almost all religions have changed their policies and viewpoints (to greater and lesser degrees), we are unaware of any that have admitted their guilt, confessed before all, and apologized for the harm they’ve done. Yet according to Jesus, that is precisely what true Christians are supposed to do!
Rather, there is usually the haughtiness of trying to cover up, sometimes by appealing to so-called ‘good things’ that resulted, or by saying that everyone should be grateful for this new “guidance from God”. They may even still hate those who proved them wrong. Most commonly, however, false teachers simply ignore their wrong, and hope that whatever they previously taught and enforced will just be forgotten in time.
That’s not true Christianity.
Surely then, shouldn’t all doctrines be treated as current opinions that are subject to review and correction when other proof is brought forward? YES, if you’re really interested in finding and teaching the truth!
Indeed, we should all be wary of stating our opinions too firmly, and of rejecting any that may disagree with us. We could be wrong. Others may turn out to be right.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus, when he was speaking of his return, asked the following question (found at Luke 18:8):
‘However, when the Son of Man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?’
He obviously had good reason to ask that; he must have known that by the time of his return, people would be following ‘the broad road’ by adopting the religious ideas and doctrines of others, rather than doing their own Bible research. He knew that people would be following the teachings of the ‘false anointed’ and ‘false prophets’ who falsely claim knowledge and guidance from God.
If you’re happy with that, what can we say? But we hope that the faith will be found on the earth, in you.
However, for that to be true, you will have to search for the truth yourself! No, you won’t find complete truth through the written teachings of men as they dispense it through their sermons, magazines, videos, or books. It can only be found in the Bible.
As Paul wrote at Romans 3:4:
‘Let God be proven true even if that makes every man a liar.’
Our purpose in publishing this Bible translation, our translator notes, and our scriptural commentaries isn’t to create new doctrines or a new religion. There are too many doctrines and religions already.
No, we don’t recognize ourselves as infallible authorities, nor do we claim to understand the full truth. We’ll just keep doing our own research in the Bible. Rather, we hope to awaken everyone who loves God to the need to search for Him by studying His words, and to put aside the baggage of doctrines, opinions, and creeds. That’s why we’ve spent so many years developing the 2001 Bible Translation, and it’s why it reads so differently.
A common question that we receive from our readers is, “So, what are you saying?” or, “What’s the bottom line?”
They want us to give them answers (or doctrines) to believe in, because that’s the shortcut. Yet that’s the problem with religions today; they provide the shortcuts; but there are no shortcuts to truth. That’s why most of our commentaries don’t reach any definite conclusions, because we’re still studying and learning.
Therefore, we don’t offer our commentaries and notes as truth. They are just the observations of the translators, our supporters, and records of our discussions. Everything is open for correction as we learn more about the meanings of Bible words and their historical contexts. In fact, in several places you’ll find differing opinions, because we (unlike the hypocrites) don’t think that we have all the answers! Rather, we are still searching, knocking, and asking, and we urge you to do the same.
However, you can only find truth if you read the whole Bible. Could you manage just 4 or 5 chapters a day? After all, the 2001 Translation is much easier to read (and understand) than most translations, is available for free, can be read online, and can be downloaded in various formats. You can read it on most modern devices, such as your computer, tablet, smartphone, or e-reader.
At one time, people died horribly just to have the privilege of reading the Bible. Does it mean that much to you? We hope so!
The Bible text and translator notes are public domain. Everything else is either copyright to their respected owners (all rights reserved), or available under a Creative Commons license. Learn more.