Developer Tools: API

Application Programming Interface (API)

The Bible Search Application Programming Interface (API) allows any developer to include Scripture content and text anywhere in their website or application for non-commercial purposes. If you're not a developer, and want to include Scripture content or Bible Search on your website, check out some of our utilities here. For you developers, the Bible Search API is a REST-based API and you can read the complete documentation here.

Please read the following FAQs to understand how you can use the Bible Search API. If you have any questions, feel free to hop over to our API forum to post a question. You may also reach us via email at digitalministry@americanbible.org with API in the subject header.

How do I get access?

To access the API, you must be a registered Bible Search user and have created an API Application here. Once you have created your API Application, you can make calls to the API and retrieve content using the application's private API key (also know as an API token). Please remember that every call you make must include this API token. Your API token is unique to your application. It's a secret, so don't share it with anyone else!

How can I use the data?

You cannot use the Scripture content retrieved from the API for any commercial purposes, nor in any application that is illegal, offensive, obscene, violent, immoral, or derogatory towards others or the Scriptures itself. Basically, play nice. Don't alter or change the meaning of the Scripture, or how it could be interpreted.

If you do want to use this content for commercial purposes, you must get specific approval by contacting us via email at digitalministry@americanbible.org with API in the subject header. Further, we ask that you only display 500 consecutive verses at a time, and always include the copyright information for the versions you are using along with the Scripture content you display. You can also review our complete API Terms and Conditions here.

What type of applications can I build?

As long as you're using the Scripture content in a non-commercial, positive manner that respects the integrity of the Scripture text as described above, you can create whatever you want. We are always curious what developers can dream up, so please share your creations with us and the community at the Bible Search API forum.

What versions are available?

We want to make as many versions available to you as possible, but we have to get all the various publishers on board first. If there is something you really want to have access to, let us know either via email or on our forums and we will do everything in our power to work with you!

View Available API Versions

Why aren't there more Scripture versions?

Scripture versions are intellectual property of various publishers and license owners. To give access to the version via the API, we have to get special permission from the various publishers first. If there is something you want, the fastest way to get that permission is to speak up and request access to versions on our Bible Search API Forum. If you let us know what you want, we can approach the publishers and try our best to make it happen.

To help build trust with the publishers and intellectual property owners, we've built the Fair Use Management System into the API. This helps us provide an extra layer of data on how Scripture content is being consumed by API users and ultimately your application's end users. We are really trying to emphasize transparency with how Scripture content is used via our API, as that will show publishers and IP owners that we are protecting their content and ensuring it maintains the integrity Scripture deserves.

What's the Fair Use Management System?

The Fair Use Management System helps us to profile how Scripture content is being used by the API. To use it, you include a small extra snippet of JavaScript code wherever you display the result of an API call on your website. The API will always return the correct JavaScript to use for the call you've made, so you can simply add it to your website.

Why do you require using the Fair Use Management System?

The Fair Use Management System helps provide information to Scripture publishers and shows them how their content is being used. This will in turn add more Scripture versions to the API as we demonstrate the additional reach that API access gives to a publisher. It also provides valuable information that helps us allocate our development resources to ensure that the API expands to include features and data that are important to API users.

What implications does the Fair Use Management System have for my app?

The Fair Use Management System (FUMS) will have minimal impact on your application. We've optimized the code and delivery of the JavaScript to ensure that your visitors won't be impacted by its use. No personally-identifiable information is used by the FUMS. Additionally, as we continue to build the capabilities of the FUMS, you'll be able to access advanced statistics that show how the API data that you're displaying on your site is being used by your users.

Can I cache data?

You can cache data, but we request that you limit it to fewer than 500 consecutive verses. We also recommend that you clear your cache every 14 days or less because we are constantly updating the structure of our data and improving it to make it more accessible for you. With that in mind, it's not a great idea to cache things for a long time because we want you to have the most up to date Scripture content available.

How many requests can I make a day? Is there a rate limit?

Yes, there is a default rate limit. You may only perform 5,000 queries a day. If you are building a massive application that will require more queries than this per day, please contact us via email or on the forum so we can work something out that will accommodate your needs. Ultimately, we want to provide you with access to the Scripture content you need while protecting our servers at the same time.

Can I request permission to exceed the rate limit?

We are definitely open to it. Drop us a line at digitalministry@americanbible.org with API in the subject header and let us know what you are working on and what type of access you need. We are more than happy to work with you and try to meet your needs.

How do I use the API?

To get started with the API, we suggest you read over the complete documentation to see the capabilities and limitations of the current API. If you are lost or stuck, check out our Bible Search API Forum to ask the community for help. We read the forum daily and will respond to questions or troubleshooting issues. If you want immediate help, submit a ticket request from the forum and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Do I have to display the copyright for each version I display?

Yes. It's important to give credit to the publishers who own the rights to the particular version of Scripture content. As such, please include the copyright information with all of the Scripture you display.

How do I get my version into the API?

If you are a publisher or intellectual property owner and want your Bible version to be made available on Bible Search and through the API, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at digitalministry@americanbible.org

What if my question wasn't answered here?

We have a forum for you to explore community questions and contributions, as well as articles from our development team. If you can't find what you're looking for there and want immediate help, drop us a line at digitalministry@americanbible.org with API in the subject header.