'Bible Across America' Concludes 9-Month Quest for 31,173 Scribes

The first NIV Bible penned by 31,173 individuals has finally been completed following a nearly nine-month effort that organizers originally thought would take about five.

 Since its launch on Sept. 30, 2008, the "Bible Across America" tour has been gathering handwritten verses from people from all ages and walks of life to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the bestselling NIV Bible, the most-used English language translation today.

At first, organizers expected to gather all verses over the course of five months as a team of four traveled across the country in a 42-foot RV. However, as the Feb. 12 deadline drew near, only 15,000 verses had been collected, prompting organizers to extend the 15,000-mile journey for another 3,500 miles.

"We extended the tour because Zondervan is exhibiting at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas," Bible Across America spokeswoman Tara Powers had told The Christian Post, "so we want to give everyone there an opportunity to contribute to the Bible Across America project."

"At the same time, we aren't collecting verses as quickly as originally planned due to a few different reasons – weather, cancellation of some events due to mechanical problems and smaller turnouts in some cities," she added.

Following the conclusion of the cross-road tour, publishing giant Zondervan, which launched the effort, continued collecting verses in Michigan, where it is based.

"We have about 7,000 to go and have lots of events planned over the next several weeks," Powers reported back in April.

To be published in the late fall or early winter, Powers said that all verses had to be collected by June 1.

With the effort having concluded on June 24, it was not immediately known whether copies of the completed Bible would be published before the end of the year, though some reports place the publishing date at around October or November.

Aside from the ones that will be sold in stores nationwide, Zondervan also 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 (IBS), which owns the copyright to the NIV.

Zondervan, which publishes the translation, is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, which in turn is a subsidiary of News Corporation.