Mississippi College

Bible Across America Visits Mississippi College

December 9, 2008

Bible Across America visited Mississippi College to collect hand-written verses as part of a promotional tour spanning 44 states.

Joining the national campaign, hundreds of MC students teamed up with faculty and staff to pen some of their favorite biblical passages Monday. With stops at colleges, churches, retail establishments and American landmarks, the project marks the 30th anniversary of the Bible's New International Version translation.

In recent days, the Bible Across America tour bus traveled to Memphis, Spartenburg, S.C. and Huntsville, Ala. and arrived in Gulfport on Tuesday. Even writers lacking good penmanship skills were not turned away. It took a few minutes to wait in line, carefully copy Bible verses onto a large white page and stay within the margins. But participants felt the project was well worth their time.

"This helps spread God's word," said MC junior Marlee Miller, 20, of Memphis. A future missionary, the English major joined the crowd on the Quad adding verses to a future Bible. The book should be printed by Michigan-based publisher Zondervan in the fall or winter of 2009.

"This is great," said Lukas Steffens, 23, an MC exchange student from Germany, after he penned a few words from the Book of Samuel. The experience of seeing his handwriting appear in the Bible next year is something he will share with his friends when he returns to his studies at the University of Mainz in Germany.

Word of the tour making stops at more than 90 U.S. cities spread quickly on the MC campus. It was hard to miss the blue and white tour bus parked across from First Baptist Church of Clinton. The Bible Across America tent was just a stone's throw away from Provine Chapel.

While students were getting prepared for final exams, many of them made time out to be a part of history and celebrate a book that's been a beloved best-seller for the ages.

Consider these facts: the oldest segment of the Old Testament is more than 2,600 years old. The oldest form of the New Testament dates back to AD 125. In 1454, Johannes Gutenberg invented the mechanical printing press and made 180 copies of the Bible in Latin. Today, there are many modern translations, but the New International Version today remains the most read and most trusted translation. The Bible is also popular today in an audio version.

After signing up under a large white tent flapping in the breeze on a brisk fall day, members of the MC community received certificates noting their contribution to the good book. From East to West to points South, more than 31,000 people are expected to add their Bible verses during the five-month U.S. tour that began in September.

Richard Bowden, a sales representative from Zondervan Bibles, traveled from his hometown of Downsville, La. to add his name to the book on the Clinton campus. He jotted down a Bible verse from 1 Kings 20:14 and quickly got back on the road. His job is to sell Bibles to Christian bookstores across the South.

Beginning at noon Monday, the six-hour stop at Baptist-affiliated MC was an instant success. In a little more than two hours, 140 people signed up, said Jon Jones, a tour facilitator. The tour will make stops in Florida later this week after winding through south Mississippi and Alabama.

The latest information about the new Zondervan Bible should be available at a Christian retailers trade show in Dallas in March 2009.

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