New Bible to be Penned by 31,000 Americans

Thousands of Americans will have a hand in publishing the latest New International Version (NIV) Bible, which will debut next year.

Zondervan, the world's leading Bible publisher, is more than halfway through its Bible Across America Tour—a 90-city, cross-country excursion that set out aboard a 42-foot motor home in September to enlist thousands of everyday Americans to each handwrite a verse for its latest "America's NIV" Bible.

The campaign commemorates the NIV translation's 30-year anniversary.

"The Bible is America's favorite book of all time," said Moe Girkins, president and CEO of Zondervan. "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 tour, currently between stops in the Deep South, began on Sept. 30 at Zondervan headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., and will end at the National Pastors Convention in San Diego on Feb. 12.

Organizers say participants are penning a single verse on actual thin-stock Bible paper, which will give America's NIV an unprecedented index of 31,173 contributors, one for every verse of the Bible.

Zondervan will reportedly create two original editions. The first original transcript will be offered to the Smithsonian Institute; the second one is to be auctioned off to benefit the International Bible Society, a sponsor of the Bible Across America Tour.

Each verse and each page will be published together as a complete NIV Bible and sold in stores nationwide next year.

Despite thousands of media distractions and the fact that 90 percent of households have at least one copy, the Bible continues to be America's best-selling book, with an estimated 25 million copies sold each year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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