I wonder what God thinks of Christians copyrighting His scripture (all rights reserved) and selling it for profit. I also wonder what God thinks of Christians selling sermons or teachings which use his words for the gospel and to edify others.
Should we be withholding the truth for money?
Is not spreading God’s truth to the world more important than making a living off of it?
Let us look at 2 Thessalonians 3 (v7-8)
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.”
Paul is saying how he worked night and day to not be a burden to anyone and he also tells us elsewhere to follow his example (1 Corinthians 11:1). Do you think Paul would have charged the Thessalonians for his letters to them?
If the spiritual is truly worth more than the physical wouldn’t we consider God’s truth to be priceless and give it away to those who need it? Instead we say “I’ve got life changing truth and I’ll give it to you but it’s gonna cost ya!”
In Luke 10 the 72 were spreading God’s word freely. Luke 10:7 says “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.”
"Whatever they give you." It doesn’t say to demand a certain amount of food from them before you give them truth. God is our provider. In Luke 10 they didn’t take money with them and they didn’t know when they would run into men of peace (who would give them food), they were trusting God to provide for them as they share His truth.
I’m not saying everything should be free but everything should be more than readily available to be free. Honestly if I post on the web too much scripture from a copyrighted version of the Bible, like the NIV, then I have broken the law for exhibiting God’s word. Does that send up a red flag to you as wrong? It is "all rights reserved" copyrighting that is the real problem. For example, there is a group called "Truth and Freedom Ministries" but I didn't have the "freedom" to share their "truth" on a Christian forum because of their rigid copyright notice. Paying for cost of material is ok. Even putting a notice to credit or not to alter your work can be fine. But to not "allow" me to quote the truth you got from God for the benefit of others is downright stupid. It is like saying "I own this truth, even though God told me it, and you can't share it regardless of the benefit."
I’m going to leave you with this scripture showing that it is ok to make a living from God’s work but perhaps that is not the best way to go about it. I’ll let you decide.
1 Corinthians 9:9-19
“For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. Yet when I proclaim the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to proclaim. Woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! If I proclaim voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. What then is my reward? Just this: that in proclaiming the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in proclaiming it.
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.”