Stereotypes of Plagiarism in Christianity

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If you write and publish articles on the Internet or have a blog, be wary of plagiarism in Christian articles and posts because it’s worse now than ever before.

Be Wary

When publishing online content, most websites are wary of plagiarism because of its numerous dangers. Besides stealing from someone’s hard work and creativity, plagiarized content can also result in serious copyright issues that may spiral into hefty penalties for the parties involved. Plagiarism is a big problem for different types of content creators, but what’s even more surprising is how regularly you see this problem in Christian posts and by Christian writers.

Should Plagiarism occur in Christian posts? Certainly not. It’s quite clear that the tenets of Christianity support honesty, integrity, and diligence, besides we’re commanded by God, “You shall not steal” (Ex 20:15). There are numerous instances where the Bible iterates the benefits of hard work and going through due process to achieve desired results. The Apostle Paul told the young pastor Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Plagiarism goes against most of the defining principles of Christianity, but this has not stopped the ever-increasing cases of stolen content in Christianity. This piece will give readers a detailed insight into the issue of plagiarism in Christian publishing so let’s begin!Christian Testimony

What is Plagiarism?

In simple terms, plagiarism denotes the act of using another author’s words, thoughts, ideas, and expressions as a part of one’s own work, thus claiming it as their own. It involves using another person’s work without giving them due credit. Today, plagiarism is associated with school assignments, professional settings, and online content.

Depending on the scenario, a writer may decide to plagiarize some or all of another person’s work. For instance, a Christian writer who intends to write on a particular topic may choose to copy a few sections from the work of another writer who had worked on a similar concept. Whether copying all or some of another person’s content, you stand a chance of ruining your credibility if such actions are discovered.

Due to digital and technical innovation, it’s now possible to detect plagiarism online with specialized tools (see Author’s Bio). These tools will determine the copied content to varying degrees and may require a financial subscription to use it, but it’s a great help.

There have been some notable examples of Christian plagiarism in the past that have had far-reaching effects for those involved. Plagiarism was the major factor that dissolved the ministry of Former Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll. There was also another case that involved best-selling author Christine Caine. Caine was accused of lifting content from author Carey Scott for two books.

Types of Plagiarism

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne (public domain).

You’ll be surprised to find that plagiarism is more than just copying words and pasting them into another document. There are different types of plagiarism depending on the part of the content reproduced. They include:

Global Plagiarism

This act involves completely using another person’s work. It may include purchasing an essay online or submitting content where an entirely different person did the work.

Patchwork Plagiarism

Unlike global plagiarism that copies the entire text, patchwork plagiarism is intended to create a new text using copied content from different sources. It involves copying phrases, passages, and ideas from various sources and merging them into a single text.

Incremental Plagiarism

On the other hand, Incremental Plagiarism describes the process of inserting a small amount of plagiarized content in an original text. Usually the purpose of the copied text is to add to the ideas already written.

Self Plagiarism

Self Plagiarism happens when you recycle the old work you have previously published or submitted.

Text Plagiarism

Text plagiarism is the most common type that you’ll find out there, but it’s also possible to plagiarize other kinds of content, such as music, images, data, and art. If you intend to use something created by someone else, you must credit the source.

Why Plagiarism is Sinful

Everyone understands that no human is an island of knowledge, but the truth is that you have to get the information you use to create your own content from somewhere. There’s no problem in using the previous work and research to form the groundwork for yours, however, there should be no direct copying or attempt to mention their research without proper citation.

Many times, plagiarism in Christian content is caused by the inability of ministry leaders and authors to create content that will satisfy readers worldwide. Since the new content is related to the old one, they blindly copy it and hope no one notices. The fact is, they can and do end up being caught.

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t plagiarize a Christian post. To start with, plagiarism is considered a form of theft, and Christian beliefs prohibit stealing. By copying their content and using it in their own work, they prevent the real owner from getting due recognition and income for their efforts, so when you plagiarize your Christian posts, you claim another person’s inspiration as your own. This is a warning sign that you may not be a true believer in the faith you are trying to write about. The bible doesn’t mention plagiarism, but uses strong language when talking about lying and stealing.

The Consequences of Plagiarism

The consequences for plagiarism depend on the gravity of the offense and can range from simply taking the posts down to serious legal issues.

If you intend to publish a work on a blog or website, plagiarism can ruin your reputation among readers. When your act is detected, you may be mandated to pull down the post. And if you have used the plagiarized content to rake in some amount of income, you may have to pay a certain fine as compensation to the original owner of the content. Publishing plagiarized content could also result in legal issues. Stealing another person’s intellectual property is a crime and has serious legal implications.


Without a doubt, plagiarism is a big problem for publishers and creative writers today – even when related to Christian content. The problem with plagiarism is that it prevents the real owner of the work from receiving due credit, income, and recognition. While many would expect fewer instances of plagiarism in Christianity, sadly, this isn’t the case. Instead, it has become a common tradition. When publishing or writing, care should be taken to peruse their own Christian content and avoid plagiarism and any consequences of this heinous act.

Author’s Bio:Renee Walker is a renowned and experienced writer with several years of experience creating original and different types of content for blogs and websites. Currently, she works for Fixgerald. Renee writes books about Faith and Christianity and is considered an authority in this niche. After years of studying for her Master’s Degree, she turned her attention to writing and has used her skills to reveal many intriguing things about Christians and Christianity.

Here is some related reading for you: You Shall Not Steal: Bible Lesson and Life Application

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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