Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the popular New International Version translation, Zondervan is traveling to 90 cities in 44 states to allow the American people to write a verse in the new NIV Bible.
The ambitious Bible Across America tour kicked off Tuesday from Zondervan headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., and will make stops at special events, churches, universities, retail stores and U.S. landmarks. The tour takes shape in the form of a 42-foot luxury motorhome, donated by Spartan Motors, which will be driven more than 15,000 miles by a team of four over the next five months.
"The Bible is America's favorite book of all time. And because of its accuracy, clarity and literary quality, the NIV has become the most successful Bible translation of all time," said Moe Girkins, president and CEO of Zondervan, in a released statement. "We believe that a completely handwritten version of the NIV Bible by people from all across our country will help America rediscover the Bible in a fresh, new way."
"The Bible Across America is a symbol of Zondervan's commitment to make the Word of God more accessible and more relevant to more people," he continued. "We couldn't think of a better way to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the NIV Bible than by inviting Americans to join us on this monumental tour and open more hearts to the Word of God."
According to Zondervan, more people use an NIV Bible than any other English-language translation and there are more than 300 million copies in print worldwide.
The collection of handwritten verses, each written by 31,173 contributors on actual thin-stock Bible paper, will be published as a complete America's NIV Bible and sold in stores nationwide next year. While most verses will be written by regular American people, Zondervan hopes to collect a few from President Bush, the Rev. Billy Graham and others, according to The Associated Press.
The Michigan-based publisher plans to create two original editions, one of which will be offered to the Smithsonian Institution. The other edition will be auctioned off to benefit the International Bible Society, which owns the copyright to the NIV.
The tour stops in Detroit on Wednesday and will conclude in San Diego on Feb. 12, 2009.
On the Web: www.bibleacrossamerica.com