T-shirts with designs are always fashionable. The Bible has been a source of wisdom and inspiration for two thousand years now. Then, it shouldn’t be surprising that people have tried to mix the two. But is that legal, and I do it without offending Christians?
Can I sell shirts with Bible verses printed on them?
You can sell shirts with Bible verses. Several successful Christian clothing companies sell shirts with Bible verses on them respectfully and appropriately. Selling or wearing Christian clothing is an excellent way to evangelize but it is best to be wary of taking verses out of context.
Now that we know you can sell shirts with Bible verses, we start to look at how best. This article will discuss some Christian clothing brands and what they do right when marketing their religion. Not only that, but we’ll also give some advice on avoiding copyright issues when using Bible verses.
How To Respectfully Put Bible Verses On Shirts
For Christians worldwide, the Bible is more than just a book. For them, the Bible is a sacred text inspired by God. Because of that, we should use it respectfully. Even though we might not all believe in Christianity, I’m sure we can agree that it is rude to make money by insulting somebody’s religion.
So, when thinking about printing verses on clothing, we need to keep this principle in mind. Even though the Bible itself says nothing about Christian merchandise, it does say plenty about honoring God’s word and taking it seriously.
We stress that we should do so thoughtfully and understand the meaning of the verses you choose.
One primary objection Christians raise to Bible-themed apparel is taking their scriptures out of context. A person seeing a single verse may misunderstand it, which represents Christianity incorrectly but can then have that person mislead others.
Because of that, we recommend choosing relatively simple or well-known verses so that they won’t be misleading for most people.
Likewise, think carefully about taking singular verses out of more extensive chapters. Without the accompanying text, people can quickly get the wrong take away from a particular line from the Bible.
Of course, that means we should steer away from only using parts of particular verses or changing the words. Even though we might feel the result is a beautiful sentence, doing so can detract from the original meaning.
Furthermore, some Christians are skeptical of putting Bible verses on clothes because it commercializes their faith. After all, as a religion, Christianity focuses a lot on treating people fairly and with justice.
In that case, trying to make a quick buck off Biblical clothing is highly offensive. It exploits people’s faith for-profit and reduces their lifestyle and beliefs to a trend. That’s not okay, regardless of the religion you’re marketing.
So, we believe it’s best to sell shirts with Bible verses if you are a believer yourself. That’s the case for major Christian clothing brands like Kerusso, 316Tees, and Tim Tebow. These brands donate some of their profits to charity, especially those that advance Christian causes.
Choosing The Correct Design For Shirts With Bible Verses
According to a survey by Kerusso – a major Christian clothing brand – most people who buy shirts with Bible verses on them do so to share their faith with others. They do it to evangelize.
Knowing that, we can immediately start thinking about designing a shirt with a Bible verse on it. Your design, of course, will vary on your target market and your taste. However, since people were Christian-themed apparel to evangelize, it does make sense that the verses should be bold and clear.
That way, people can see these verses even at a distance. They might be encouraged to start a conversation with the person wearing your shirt. Doing so can become the start of a relationship, where most soul-saving evangelism and fellowship begin.
Similarly, many Christians also wear themed clothing as a form of self-expression. Like how fans of a particular series might buy a shirt with their favorite character or a poster or figurine for their home, many Christians purchase Bible-themed paraphernalia.
So, this sort of clothing often has sentimental value for its wearers. They feel like it shows who they indeed are. And, since religion is vital for most believers, shirts like these are often treated with great care.
If anything, that’s another reason to think carefully about your design. We reason the Bible verses could focus on the shirt – they shouldn’t be relegated to a small part of the design or displayed alongside secular text.
Likewise – obviously – avoid displaying Bible text alongside images that conflict with Christian teachings. Although the specifics vary by denomination, most Christians agree that sexual or otherwise obscene imagery is unwelcome.
Is There Copyright When Using Bible Verses On Shirts?
Depending on the version or translation of the Bible you quote, you might have copyright issues. That’s because the companies which publish the more recent Bible translations hold copyright over the material.
Some Bibles will have a disclaimer in the front explaining how many verses you can use before you need to pay the publishing royalties. Sometimes this information is available on the publisher’s website instead.
Nevertheless, using short quotes is typically okay. That’s because quoting single sentences uses only a tiny part of a more significant body of work. So, copyright law doesn’t consider that infringement.
You could also use a Bible version in the public domain. That way, there’s no copyright to worry about since nobody holds the rights to the text.
We recommend the King James Version (KJV). Not only is this Bible translation in the public domain, but millions of people consider it to be one of the most beautifully written and accurate Bibles. For clothing, you can’t go wrong with its text.
To conclude, you can sell shirts with Bible verses. However, we recommend that you think carefully before doing so. That way, you can adequately represent the Christian religion.
With Christian-themed clothing, taking verses out of context is a serious issue. Because of that, please review your choices so they won’t be misleading. So, ensure that your designs are also respectful and straightforward. That way, people can see them from a distance and appreciate them.
Bryan E. Robinson is the former owner of TshirtGrowth. He has sold t-shirts since 2006 through dropshipping, screen printing, vinyl printing, DTG, Print on Demand, and more. Bryan has created his own t-shirt designs through Photoshop, Canva, and other platforms, as well as worked with freelancers to create many of his designs. Besides t-shirts, Bryan has over 18 years of experience in online marketing with eCommerce, B2B SaaS, B2C products, and more.