This week, local residents have the chance to be a part of a somewhat similar project as a publishing company celebrates the 30th anniversary of the New International Version of the Bible.
John Brown University in Siloam Springs hosted the Bible Across America tour, a special project sponsored by the publishing company Zondervan. Wednesday's part of the tour was at JBU's Rogers Center. The tour will make another local stop today with a stop at Skia in Bentonville from noon to 8 p.m.
The Bible Across America tour is designed to hand-write the entire NIV Bible. The sections being worked on currently are the books of Luke, Matthew and 2 Kings. Participants are each given a verse that they are asked to write out twice on specific paper. The papers will then be bound in order, and one copy of the handwritten Bible will be auctioned off to benefit the International Bible Society, and the other copy will be given to a national museum, more than likely the Smithsonian. "When (the tour) is done, more than 31,000 people will have written a verse," said Rachel Fiet, JBU's coordinator of public relations. Fiet said JBU is pleased to be a part of the event. "It's a neat opportunity to be a part of history," she said. "This is a one-of-a-kind event." Mandy Helton Jones, who is part of the Bible Across America tour, said part of the idea of the project is "to build community, but on a really large scale." Another aspect of the tour is helping to recreate the idea that the Bible was handwritten by people from a broad geographic region. "We're recreating the idea and paying tribute to that," she said. Carole Maines stopped by to write out a verse, which she said was part of the "Good Samaritan" story. "What a job it must have been for (the original writers of the early Bible) to scribe the entire Bible," she said.
Maines said she was interested in helping with the project because it is both interesting and worthwhile to help pass along Scriptures.
Many people brought their children along with them, Fiet said. One woman brought her twin 5-year-olds - a boy and a girl - who are learning how to write.
"Letter by letter, she walked them through the verse," Fiet said.
Participants receive a certificate that indicates their participation in the project and which verse they scribed. When those children look back at their certificate when they get older, they will be able to remember how they were involved in such a major event, Fiet said. Beejay Precure of Rogers is another parent who brought her children along. "It's cool that this is going to be a part of history," she said. "We will hopefully get to travel to see (the handwritten Bible) someday (in the museum). It's cool that my kids get to be a part of that." Her son, Brady Precure, agreed. "We get to be a part of something important," he said. For more information on the tour, visit http://www.bibleacrossamerica.com.