Pick of the Week: The “Bible Across America” NIV Bible

Have you heard of the NIV Bible Across America Project that took place in 2008-2009? Sadly, probably not. Let me fill in some background from my own experience.

The first edition New International Version of the New Testament became my English translation of choice in about 1973 soon after it was first published. The print copy I still preach and teach from is the 1984 printing of the NIV whole Bible, which I purchased when it was first released and I had rebound when the covers were falling off somewhere around 2005.

In 2008 Zondervan wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NIV Bible’s release. They announced a nationwide tour covering 40+ states and at least 140 cities in a specially equipped motorhome. Their goal was to have some 31,100 volunteers each handwrite one single verse of the Bible (NIV translation, of course). Those verses taken together made up a complete copy of the Bible written by hand by 31,100 people!

The finished Bible, after appropriate preparation, was published as the NIV Bible Across America 1984. It was issued in a large hardbound padded volume of 2,320 pages, and offered for sale for $100. Each verse contributor’s name appears in the back of the book along with the verse they wrote.

I have no idea how successful sales were, though I fear they were somewhat underwhelming. I have done considerable research trying to learn more about the production of this unique Bible, but with only limited success. Most news stories still available on the internet cover the announcement and beginning of the tour, but with practically nothing about the conclusion of the tour and eventual publishing of the Bible.

I own a copy of the NIV Bible Across America 1984 and count it as one of my most cherished copies of the Bible. I value it not because I use it daily but because it symbolizes to me what believers for the first 1400 years of Christian history did in each generation. They carefully wrote out by hand copies of the Scriptures in their native tongues so that they, their children, their congregations, and future generations (including us) might have the preserved Word of God!

If you are interested in purchasing a copy for yourself, try the following places that carry used books and search for NIV Bible Across America: Abebooks, Discoverbooks, or eBay. Current prices I found are around $25-35.

Two YouTube videos are also available showing more about the NIV Bible Across America 1984. One was released by the project organizers at Zondervan while the other is an extended review of the finished Bible.

This article is from reprinted Richard Cravy. Please see original for comments.

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