New Bible gifts get creative

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — By the time Zondervan's newest Bible is released Dec. 1—just in time for Christmas—it will have traveled more than 22,000 miles and been handled by 31,000 people even before it leaves the warehouse.

The Bible Across America is one of the more unique gifts available for the 2009 Christmas season. The New International Version translation was handwritten one verse at a time by residents showing up during the nine-month Bible-writing tour. The tour, launched in September 2008, commemorated last year's 30th anniversary of the NIV Bible, the world's best-selling modern English version. The signing tour stopped in 90 cities where lines of people waited to add their own handwriting to the two original manuscripts.

The handwritten Bibles, written on 11- by 17-inch sheets of paper, each has 2,200 pages and is bound in three volumes of Renaissance Fine Leather. They are believed to be the first-ever completely handwritten copies of the NIV.

"Nothing like the Bible Across America tour had been done before, so we weren't entirely sure what to expect when we launched the campaign," said Zondervan CEO Moe Girkins. "It quickly became evident that people across America love the Bible, love the NIV and were eager to be part of this unique project."

One of the two manuscripts was auctioned on eBay, selling for $15,407.53 after receiving 78 bids. The auction concluded Nov. 22.

Proceeds from the auction were to benefit Biblica, the translation sponsor of the NIV. Biblica, formerly known as the International Bible Society, has been translating, producing, and distributing Bibles, Scripture materials, and other Christian resources through ministry, distribution and retail channels around the world for 200 years.

Those with smaller wallets need not feel left out. Zondervan created a smaller, personal-size print version of the handwritten Bible by scanning the pages and then binding them into a leather edition that will retail for $99.99.

For more information, visit www.zondervan.com/Bibles.


The artsy Bible
Not to be outdone on the creative end is Tyndale's new Holy Bible Mosaic, which richly blends classic art, poetry, prayers and hymns with the traditional text of the New Living Translation. The result provides a multidimensional experience for those seeking a deeper encounter with Scriptures.

Mosaic is arranged in such an order that every week the reader has a variety of content for reading and reflection to follow a theme appropriate to the Church season. Each week also includes full-color art; Scripture readings; a historical reading; a contemporary reading; a prayer, creed, hymn, or quote; and space for reflection.

Its creators boast that Mosaic includes "insight from every continent and century of the Christian Church."

"Just as individual tiles of a mosaic are even more remarkable when seen placed together as an entire masterpiece, the Church is full of pieces of history and accounts that wholly create a mosaic of great depth and beauty," the Bible's literature promises.

Some of the feature narratives include historical writings from Christians across the globe such as St. Augustine, Charles Wesley, and Henri Nouwen, which offer the reader a rich devotional experience; while the clear NLT text is set in a center-column reference format, with Greek and Hebrew word studies, giving the reader greater insight in their study. There are also icons in the margins of the text to indicate which Scripture passages are linked to which writings.

A hardcover edition is available for $29.99; a leather-like deluxe edition retails for $49.99.

For more information, visit www.holybiblemosaic.com.


The waterproof Bible
Those shopping for outdoorsy types have an opportunity to bless two people for the price of one, thanks to a Buy-One-Give-One campaign offered for the new Waterproof Bible.

Designed to help residents of developing nations, Bardin & Marsee has created a 100 percent waterproof and dirt-resistant Bible, inside and out. According to its manufacturers, the pages are made from thin sheets of plastic that are also tear-resistant. The text can even be underlined with a ballpoint pen or marked with a dry highlighter and will not smear after being submerged in water.

"We believe every consumer benefits from the increased lifespan and durability of the Waterproof Bible," said Bobby Bardin, co-developer of the Waterproof Bible. "However, we are especially passionate about getting this better designed Bible into the hands of those in developing countries, where the people often face harsh environments and living conditions."

The first distribution partner will be The 410 Bridge, who will use the free Bibles in their Christmas in Kenya project.

"It is interesting to think about giving Waterproof Bibles to churches in Kenya because Kenya could use so much more water," Bardin said. "However we believe its long-lasting durability, and ability to wipe dirt and grime away, make the Waterproof Bible the best choice for the situation."

Bardin & Marsee Publishing was founded in 2004, its founders said, in response to their frustrations with the limitations of paper Bibles. For more information about the Bible, which starts at $24.95, and the two-for-one campaign, visit www.WaterproofBible.com.


The electronic Bible
Technology fans, fret not, two new electronic products provide solid gift-giving options. GoBible, which released its popular handheld audio Bible in both the King James and New International versions two years ago, has unveiled two new products just in time for the holidays.

The GoBible Traveler, offered in the same two translations, also features 36 bookmarks to hold favorite chapters or marked places, as well as GoBible's Bible-in-a-Year program, which allows listeners to complete the entire Bible by listening 12 to 15 minutes per day for a year. At $59.95 the device is preloaded with more than 70 hours of material.

Catering to Spanish-language speakers, the GoBible Viajero boasts the Nueva Versión Internacional.

"The release of the Viajero, GoBible's first foreign language product, is an exciting milestone for GoBible," Andrew Block, president of The GoBible LLC, said in a news release. "We are pleased to offer the same benefit of learning and studying the Bible for Spanish listeners."

Both new products are about 3.5 inches by 2 inches by .5 inch, with a screen that is 1.3 inches in diameter. It weighs approximately 2.5 ounces. The GoBible Traveler comes with headphones and one AAA battery that can operate the unit for 20-plus hours. Any standard set of headphones will work with the universal earphone jack on the Traveler. Two playback accessories are available for purchase: a set of portable speakers and an FM transmitter for car stereos.

GoBible owners will also benefit from an enhanced product Web site that hosts downloads where customers who already own an MP3 player or iPod can download various narrations of the Bible as well as Christian content to their existing players.

For more information, visit www.gobible.com.


The digital Bible
Finally, digital users looking for more content may be interested in Glo, an interactive Bible that runs on Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 operating systems. Mac users will have to wait until next year for that version to be released. Like GoBible, Glo is available in the KJV and NIV, although other versions are expected to be released in the future.

Released by Zondervan, the Glo Bible expounds on God's Word using such digital technology as HD video and documentaries, high-resolution images, zoomable maps, 360-degree virtual tours and more.

Produced by Immersion Digital, a technology and media company founded in 2008, the device was created by Nelson Saba and Phil Chen, who combined more than 12 years of expertise in interactive media to create a the revolutionary Glo.

"We're not just digitizing the Bible," Saba said. "We are creating a product with layers of functionality that will make Glo relevant and engaging to this generation."

Glo users have the ability to take virtual reality tours of Jerusalem in the times of Christ, then view how it appears today, to explore the Sistine chapel in high definition or to customize a reading plan according to their interests. No matter what portion of Scripture, what region or period of time being explored, Glo has resources that allow users to experience it.

In addition to the text, the Bible also offers more than 2,300 high-resolution photos, 7,500 encyclopedia articles, 463 virtual reality tours, 3.5 hours of HD video, nearly 700 works of art and almost 150 maps.

Even with all of the resources, its creators say any chapter is accessible within two clicks, and "sessions" allow a previous location to be instantly reassessed.

Glo, available at most Christian bookstores, retails for $89.99. For more information, visit www.bibleglo.com.

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