I know that there are plenty of programs I can buy that include a copy of the Holy Bible in digital form, but I’m wondering whether I can legally download a copy of the Bible without having to buy anything or resort to one of those heinous peer to peer filesharing sites?
Great question! This gives me another chance to tout one of my favorite long-time Internet projects: Project Gutenberg. If you’re ever looking for free ebooks to read or analyze, there’s no better place to visit, and as of today they’re indicating that there are an impressive 18,000 free books in their catalog.
Let me take you on a brief tour to show you the wealth of material they have. First off, of course, go to the site, then click on Online Book Catalog, then search for “bible”:
There are 256 book matches, which is great news! In addition to a couple of editions of the Bible itself, there are also these interesting titles available (for free, remember) too:
- Men of the Bible: Some Lesser-Known Characters
- Deuterocanonical Books of the Bible
- The Village in the Mountains; Conversion of Peter Bayssiere; and History of a Bible
- Wee Ones’ Bible Stories
- Companion to the Bible
- A Bird’s Eye View of the Bible
- The Great Doctrines of the Bible
- Who Wrote the Bible? A Book for the People
- The Wonder Book of Bible Stories
- The Right and Wrong Uses of the Bible
Impressive, isn’t it? Admittedly, none of these are from the last 50 years due to copyright issues, but there’s lots of good material from the 1800s and before, and that’s what this represents.
In terms of the Bible itself, there are a couple of different editions available from the Gutenberg archives, notably the The King James Version, Douay-Rheims Edition and the World English Bible.
Are these good quality, easily read material? Absolutely, if you get the HTML version rather than the plain “ascii” version. Here’s a well-known excerpt from the World English Bible:
1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.
1:3 God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 1:4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 1:5 God called the light Day, and the
darkness he called Night. There was evening and there was morning, one day.
1:6 God said, "Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." 1:7 God made the expanse, and divided
the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 1:8 God called the expanse sky. There was evening and there was morning, a second day.
1:9 God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear;" and it was so. 1:10 God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good. 1:11 God said, "Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with its seed in it, on the earth;" and it was so. 1:12 The earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with its seed in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 1:13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Not too bad for a free download, is it?
Anyway, yes, there are definitely free versions of the Holy Bible available online that don’t involve you having to subscribe to dubious file sharing sites. Enjoy!