Bible tour: For better or verse?

October 1, 2008
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Zondervan, one of the world's leading publishers of Bibles, announced that it will be printing a hand-written version, with more than 31,000 Americans performing the penmanship. It's being called Bible Across America and, yes, there's an RV involved. You can find the official press release here.

The cross-country tour in search of scribes launches Tuesday. It is scheduled to hit Indianapolis on Nov. 11. You can track the progress here.

A mere marketing gimmick? An enlightening way to encourage readership? Or part of a vast conspiracy? (I'm guessing Bill Maher won't be contributing.)

Your thoughts?
  • For better or verse? Oh Lou, that was awful! (But it did have me laughing, I admit)

    If it were a company other than greedy, money hungry Zondervan, then I'd think it was cool. But Zondervan cares very little about God's Word---they are far more interested in a profit rather than a book that is prophetic. They hold the publication rights on the NIV and refuse to allow anyone else to ever publish it (how loving of them! You'd think if they wouldn't mind who printed the Word of God, but no, they want the money all for themselves). They produce new translations of the Bible which look nothing like the manuscripts that have been used in translations since the Bible was first being bound, and they did that to appease people and make yet another buck. Enlightening way to encourage readership? Hardly. Money grubbing marketing gimmick? Absolutely.

    If Zondervan had real integrity, real care about people reading the Bible and not just making money, then why did they become a company of HarperCollins? (the company that publishes the Satanic Bible) And how is it that their conscience isn't bothered by that?

    If I happen to see the RV in Indy, I'll be sure to ask one of the Zondervan people that very question.
  • I'm confused: at the end of the RV's trip, there will be TWO original editions, one of which will be donated to the Smithsonian and the other to be auctioned off? Does that mean each of the 31,000+ Americans will have to write his or her verse twice or that each edition will have a different set of contributors?

    And there will only be one verse on each page? That is going to be one thick Bible!

    I probably won't buy a copy, although I do enjoy comparing different versions of the Bible. It's not the only holy book on the planet, but it's my holy book.

    I also think that copying out any piece of writing by hand gives a person a uniquely valuable connection to the text. Part of my process in learning (not memorizing) a literary tale to tell out loud to an audience is to write out the original piece by hand. I usually type it out in a Word document as well, which makes for yet a different connection. Reading it aloud adds yet another connection beyond reading it silently.

    (I usually do these four steps in the opposite order of the way I have listed them here, by the way, when I'm learning a story to tell.)

    I also know the value of sitting with a single Bible verse. When I used to be on the lectors' guild at my church, that is what we were taught to do: read aloud our assigned passage (which was sometimes only one verse, although it was more often four or five connected verses) every day at home. We were to meditate on it every day, and read the surrounding passages to put it in context. Writing it out was also useful.

    This practice informed our daily lives in the week leading up to the service in which we were reading it, and prepared us to share the verse comfortably and effectively on Sunday morning.

    On Sunday morning, then, all of that preparation would inform our reading aloud. Also, because we were, by then, so comfortable with the passage, we could read it aloud in front of people without our selves getting in the way of it, if that makes sense. It was up to the priest, not us lectors, to comment on the verses during his or her sermon.

    I bet the people who write the verses in the Bible Across America Bible will remember for the rest of their lives which was their verse.

    So, in answer to your questions, I think the project is a great idea....up to a point.

    I hope, however, that it it stays an offering to God rather becoming another divisive, look how great Christians are! kind of thing.

    Hope Baugh
  • What would be GREAT is if Zondervan would give each of the 31,000+ contributors a free copy of the resulting publication. I bet that's what Jesus would do.


    Hope Baugh
  • I once heard the best way to make money is to start your own religon. pure profit thought only.

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