The Bible has always been part of Lídia Rivera’s routine. Born into an Adventist family, her parents read passages to her since she was a baby. Even today, daily personal study of God’s Word is one of the pillars of her spiritual life. Even with so much biblical influence on her story, she never imagined that she would one day leave her mark — or rather, her voice — on the history of the Bible.
Rivera gave an interview for this story just after leaving a mobile studio where she recorded Matthew 3:10. Her small gesture is part of the Bible Society of Brazil’s (SBB) audacious project titled “+31 Thousand Voices with the Word.” Since last year, the initiative has been touring the country, capturing the voices of volunteers who are recording, verse by verse, the entire Bible.
“I feel very privileged and honored to be part of such a beautiful project. Deep down I feel like I don’t even deserve to be here, but I know my grandparents would be very happy to see me here,” Rivera said. “I want this to last forever, so my daughters can also spread the Word of God creatively.”
The recordings are made in a fully adapted minibus. With acoustic treatment and professional recording equipment, SBB Bible Radio’s itinerant studio accommodates one operator and one narrator at a time. The recorded verses are stored in the cloud, from where they are processed and mastered by a technical team in São Paulo.
The minibus’s itinerary includes churches, religious events, schools, cultural and educational centers, hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, prisons, military academies, and public places. After parking in a specific spot, it welcomes people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, social classes, and denominations to record one verse. The idea is to end up with a product containing a diversity of voices and accents. Each volunteer has their name registered and receives an e-mail and a bookmark with the respective engraved verse and a thank-you from SBB for their participation.
The first recording took place at the Biblical Sciences Forum, promoted by SBB, in Barueri, São Paulo, in 2022. Since then, the studio has been to other cities in several Brazilian states. The plan is to cover the country by the end of 2025. Remote recordings with people in other countries are also planned.
The mobile studio has the capacity to record about 150 voices per day. There are also live broadcasts and interviews for SBB Bible Radio. The product will be used in SBB Bible Radio’s programming, in addition to being available on the organization’s Spotify by next year.
The initiative is unprecedented in the world and, when completed, will result in a new record. But this is not the project’s main focus. The journalist and SBB consultant, Cyro César, who coordinates the recordings, emphasized that the main goal is “to encourage reading the Word of God, making people reflect on it, and have it as a compass, as a lamp for their paths. For us it has been very gratifying, and we feel that God is in control of the initiative.”
The initiative is in direct partnership with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Many of the denomination’s churches, schools, hospitals, and regional headquarters have welcomed the mobile studio and promoted the project among the church’s members.
For South American Division president Stanley Arco, the idea of making the biblical message more accessible to people by audio is inclusive and excellent. “I have no doubt that, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, it will make a very strong impression and lead to conversions,” Arco said. “The Word of God needs to be searched and studied.”
Founded in June 1948, the Bible Society of Brazil is celebrating 75 years in 2023. From the beginning, its goal has been to spread the Word of God, making it accessible and showing people its relevance.
The SBB is part of the United Bible Societies (UBS), a worldwide alliance founded in 1946 for the purpose of facilitating the translation, production, and distribution of the Holy Scriptures through cooperation. In total, there are 146 Bible societies operating in more than 240 countries and territories.
Translations of the Bible published by the SBB are faithful to the original texts (in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and are most often used by Brazilian Christians. The SBB’s Scripture Production Center has been operating in Barueri since 1995. The center is home to the Bible Printing House, which has published more than 200 million copies in more than 30 languages. With a focus on innovation, technology, and accessibility, the center also produces Bibles in e-book format, audio, Braille, and Libras (Brazilian Sign Language), as well as applications for mobile devices.