Devotional General FAQ


Can material from The Upper Room be reprinted?

Material can be reprinted from The Upper Room magazine under these conditions: 1) Reprinted material must be used exactly as it appears in the magazine, without editing and with the writer’s name included. 2) When reprinted, the material must be accompanied by a copyright notice containing this information: This material is copyrighted by The Upper Room, Inc., P. O. Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0004, copyright (date of issue) and is used by permission of the publisher. 3) Material cannot be used in connection with fundraising or in resources that will be sold. 4) A copy of the reprinted material must be sent to The Upper Room magazine, P. O. Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0004 or [email protected]

Can I contact the author of today’s meditation?

We do not release the contact information for our writers in order to respect their privacy. You may send a letter with a stamped envelope or an email to our editorial offices, and we will forward your communication to the author. It is up to the author whether or not to respond to these letters or emails. Email: [email protected]. Postal mail: The Upper Room, Inc., P. O. Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0004.

Do you reprint material from other publications?

We do not use material that has appeared in other publications because we want to feature as many different perspectives as possible. If a person’s writing has been published already, we choose to give those whose work has not been published a chance to have their witness made public.
One exception to this is material that has been published for a very small circulation, such as in an individual church’s newsletter. We publish some meditations from these sources, especially from special Lenten or Advent devotional guides prepared by a local church for its members. We always need material that addresses these two seasons of the Christian year.

How does The Upper Room differ from other devotional magazines?

Our magazine is unique in several ways. First, the meditations in the magazine are written by our readers from around the world, not just by professional writers and theologians. These readers/writers are from many different Christian denominations, and therefore their perspectives are diverse. Second, the magazine is translated into 33 languages and is published in more than 70 editions for simultaneous use around the world. This means that material we choose must be usable in translation, not just in English. In its many editions, the magazine circulates in more than 100 countries and is read each day by almost three million persons (in addition to being broadcast by radio in many areas). Third, the magazine uses religious art on its covers. This art represents many schools and eras of art, both classic and modern, and includes many media.

Are your readers and writers mostly from one denomination?

We do not know the denomination of many of our readers and writers, but we know that many are Methodist. We also know that many are members of other denominations. The Upper Room magazine is owned by the United Methodist Church and operates under its oversight, but it is separately incorporated and does not receive subsidies from The United Methodist Church or any denomination. All its income is from sales of magazines and books. Since its beginning the magazine has been non-sectarian and directed to an interdenominational audience. Our title page describes the magazine as “International, Invitational, Interdenominational.” We seek to build on what we have in common as Christian believers, not on the points of doctrine that can divide us, and we welcome diverse perspectives. We believe that our diversity is one of our riches within the family of God, and we seek to reflect that diversity in our publications.

Who chooses the scripture verses that appear with meditations?

Usually, the suggested scripture reading and the quoted verse are chosen by the writer and included on the meditation when it is submitted to us. We prefer that writers write every element in each meditation; this makes for greater unity of ideas and tone. If a writer does not include one or more of the elements, an editor will have to add them. However, the editor may introduce ideas that the writer did not intend, so we prefer that the originator of the meditation write all of it.

Do you prefer one translation of the Bible over another?

We quote from four translations of the Bible: the New Revised Standard Version, the Holy Bible: New International Version, the Common English Bible, and the King James Version. We have to limit the number of translations we quote from, so we limit ourselves to these because they are widely known and available and are the versions our readers use most often.

Why don’t you quote paraphrases of the Bible?

We do not use paraphrases because of translation and international concerns, as well as because of space constraints (see above question). Paraphrases may illuminate the meaning of scripture, but they often do so by elaborating on meanings of the original languages. In many places around the world only one translation of the Bible is available, and the ideas found in paraphrases may not be even hinted at in that one available translation. Meditations that build on the overall meaning of a scripture passage, rather than a single word that may not appear in translations, are easier for translators to deal with.