Licensee Guidelines

These guidelines for licensees (“licensee guidelines”) set forth the specifications, guidelines, and requirements for licensees whom NCC authorizes to use the RSV in whole or in part. The licensing of the RSV is overseen by NCC’s Bible Translation and Utilization Committee (“Committee”) under the authority of NCC’s Governing Board and its Executive Committee. If you have any questions regarding these licensee guidelines, please contact

All editions of the Bible published, reproduced, and distributed shall be faithful to the text of the RSV and the manner of its presentation as determined by NCC. The NCC has two general style and formatting principles: (1) to maintain the text of the RSV in its integrity and (2) to maintain the clear, readable setup of the RSV without cluttering the text with unnecessary indicators of one sort or another. In light of these principles, the NCC has adopted the following style and formatting requirements for licensees. Where an item is indicated as being a “licensee item,” licensee may propose an approach; however, all style and formatting decisions are subject to the approval of NCC.

  • (1) Text and Notes. Text and notes are to be maintained in their integrity. This includes the maintenance of (a) title pages, (b) preface, (c) the titles of the various books, and (d) the list of abbreviations for the notes.
  • (2) References. References are a licensee item. There are no cross-references in the current edition of the RSV. Licensees may propose an alternative list of references.
  • (3) Annotations. Annotations, if any, are a licensee item. These annotations, however, are not to be mingled or confused with the notes for which the Committee is responsible.
  • (4) Pronunciation. Pronunciation is a licensee item. The NCC urges that any scheme for indicating pronunciation be kept as simple and unobtrusive as possible.
  • (5) Section or Chapter Headings. If the licensee wishes to have section or chapter headings (which are useful for the reader in locating particular passages), the NCC urges the licensee to use those drawn up by members of the Committee. Running heads at the top of the page, however, are the responsibility of the licensee.
  • (6) Typeface. Typeface is a licensee item, with the proviso that the alternative reading in the notes is to be in italics and that the section and chapter headings (mentioned in paragraph 5 above) are to be differentiated from the type used for the Scripture text itself. It should be noted that about half of the total number of the psalms are provided with headings that have been traditionally part of the Scripture text and that are customarily set in a smaller typeface. When the Committee’s set of headings is used, these should stand immediately following the centered identification of the number of the psalm and preceding the heading that is part of the traditional text of the Psalms. The RSV shall follow the usage in italicizing the word Selah as used sporadically in the Psalms.
  • (7) Center Column. A center column, if any, is a licensee item. It may be used for references or annotations. The footnotes, however, should be placed at the foot of the page.
  • (8) Binding. Binding is a licensee item.
  • (9) British Spelling. For editions that NCC authorizes for circulation in Great Britain and the Commonwealth, British spelling may be used.
  • (10) Typography. Licensee must observe the following typography rules:
    • (a) Paragraphing as determined by the Committee is to be retained. Verse-by-verse paragraphing such as the King James Version uses is not to be used in the RSV. The extra line of space that separates certain main poetry (as in Psalm 51) or certain main divisions in prose (as in Mark 1.15 and 1.16) is to be retained. Where the beginning of a new chapter occurs in the middle of a paragraph (as Mark 9), the practice of the RSV is to follow as in Mark 9 of the RSV.
    • (b) Only Arabic numerals are to be used. The only exceptions may be for the numbering of the prefatory pages and for the designations of the five books into which the Psalms are divided.
    • (c) The practice in biblical references is to use a single dot or point, similar to a decimal point, between the chapter number and the verse number.
    • (d) Verse numbers in the text shall be small superscript numbers. The verse number introducing a new paragraph of prose should be larger and not without a verse number (because the chapter number stands there) except when the new chapter begins in the middle of the line. See paragraph 10(a) above. Since, however, the number of each psalm is placed as a heading to the psalm, the first verse of a psalm is identified with a small superscript number 1.
    • (e) No superscripts, other than the verse numbers and the indices for the notes, shall be inserted in the text, except in special editions and with the approval of NCC.
    • (f) The punctuation of the RSV is to be retained. If any question arises concerning the worth or validity of a particular punctuation point in a particular context, the licensee shall consult with NCC.
    • (g) In the use of capital letters, the distinction in the Old Testament between Lord and Lord (i.e., with initial capital and three small capital letters) and between God and God (i.e., with initial capital and two small capital letters) is to be maintained, as in the copy provided by the NCC to the licensee. Notice that when Lord is in the possessive form, the final s is not a small capital.
    • (h) Except for the rules stated in 10(b) and 10(c) above, the abbreviations and punctuation of biblical references are within the licensee’s discretion, in accordance with paragraph 2 and paragraph 3 above. It is not necessary to follow the list of abbreviations for the books of the Bible that appear in the prefatory material, nor is it necessary that the last letter of the abbreviations used for the books of the Bible (in the list of references mentioned in paragraph 2 above) be followed by a period.
  • (11) Footnotes. Footnotes shall use the entire alphabet before beginning over with “a.” Footnotes shall be recycled at each new book, and each new book shall begin with the first footnote marked “a.”

NCC Trademarks

NCC’s trademarks are valuable assets of NCC and may only be used by third parties if specifically authorized by NCC.


The following copyright notice is authorized for use with the RSV and is included in the front matter of the download files:

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Run-In Chapters

For printed editions of the RSV, there are twenty Bible chapters in which the opening text of the chapter should run in to the last paragraph of the preceding chapter. These chapters are the following:

  • Genesis 28
  • Exodus 6
  • Exodus 7
  • Exodus 8
  • Exodus 36
  • Numbers 23
  • 1 Samuel 4
  • 1 Samuel 7
  • 2 Kings 7
  • 2 Kings 25
  • 1 Chronicles 22
  • Nehemiah 8
  • Ezekiel 3
  • Daniel 11
  • 4 Maccabees 3
  • 4 Maccabees 14
  • Mark 9
  • Acts 8
  • 1 Corinthians 11
  • 2 Corinthians 2

In these chapters, the first verse number is retained (in addition to the chapter number).

In digital products, treatment of these instances is left to the discretion of the licensee. The most common treatment in digital environments (and Scribe’s default treatment) is to retain the chapter number as a separate heading, making it more difficult to run these paragraphs into the preceding chapter.

Right-Aligned Text

In the books of Psalms and Habakkuk, extra space has been placed by default before the word Selah to make it distinct from the other text in the line. Licensees may wish to take extra measures to make Selah render flush-right.


Footnote sigla (style “fnref,” “fnnum”) are iterated alphabetically by Bible book. They use the entire alphabet before beginning again with “a,” and they restart the cycle at each new book with “a,” according to licensee guidelines.

The chapters containing footnotes appear directly following the Bible book to which they correspond.

The chapter-verse citations at the beginning of the notes (“bcv” style in ScML, HTML, and IDTT; “b” style in Word DOCX) may be retained or removed at the licensee’s discretion.

Verse Numbers

Verse numbers at the start of poetry or list lines use the “ver” style (or “ver-i” if italic) and should be superscripted as per licensee guidelines. (The same is true for verse numbers at the start of prose paragraphs using the style “pcon,” which are a continuation of poetry and list lines.)

Verse numbers at the start of new prose paragraphs use the “ver-f” style (or “ver-f-i” if italic) and should not be superscripted as per licensee guidelines.

Poetry Spacing

Lines of poetry should not render with extra line spacing above or below unless specifically signified by ScML “sl” styles with first or last variations (e.g., “slf,” “sl1l”), as per licensee guidelines. When lines of poetry with first or last style variations do appear, those paragraphs must render with extra line spacing above or below.


The Bible contains many names for which a typesetting program may not have correct hyphenation settings. See Scribe’s Bible Hyphenation list for guidance on how certain words should hyphenate. IDTT files downloaded from this website also include a hyphenation dictionary that can be loaded into InDesign.

Duplicate Footnotes

Treatment of duplicate footnotes is left to the discretion of the licensee. This is often more of a concern in printed editions, in which the most common preference is to prevent a footnote from appearing more than once on a given page. In digital environments, in which there are not any explicit “pages,” it is recommended that licensees maintain one-to-one correspondence between the in-text sigla and the notes themselves.

When making the effort to eliminate duplicate footnotes in printed editions, it is important to take into account the relettering of the alphabetical note sigla as well as corresponding adjustments to the chapter-verse citations at the beginning of the footnote (if those are being retained). See Scribe’s Deduping Procedure for some tips to help this process go more smoothly. If you require assistance with this process, Scribe can help; please contact

In the RSV, there are 144 instances in which duplicate footnotes appear consecutively. Each instance of these duplicate notes has been retained by default, and it is left to the discretion of the licensee whether or not to retain each instance in a final product. The list of duplicate footnotes is available here for download as a Microsoft Word DOCX file.

RSV Duplicate Footnotes


Word and Character Counts

Word and character counts are available here for download as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Included are counts for the full Bible text as well as breakdowns for front matter, Old Testament, Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, New Testament, and footnotes.

RSV Word and Character Counts


Scribe’s Bible QC Checklist

See Scribe’s Bible QC checklist for aspects to review in all Bible designs and typesets.