How long would it take to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation both day and night without stopping? This last June on Father’s Day the Simi Hills Ecclesia kicked off a Bible Reading Marathon in which the goal was to finish all 66 books without stopping.
The Simi Hills Ecclesia decided to follow a pattern similar to the one used by the Shaftesbury Road Ecclesia in Sydney, Australia. Although the Simi Hills Ecclesial hall was not initially setup with an internet connection capable of broadcasting, the website biblereadingmarathon.com was secured and posted with information announcing the upcoming marathon. It also offered a new Bible to the guest who guessed the closest finish time in days, hours, and minutes.
As the marathon date drew closer invitations to other Southern California ecclesias were sent out, reading schedules were set up, and newspaper ads were ordered. In addition, at the last minute we were able to establish an internet connection through to our neighbor’s building, by running a cable over the fence, through the trees, and across the parking lot.
At 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, the Bible Reading Mara- thon was launched. The read- ers sat in a circle of ten chairs and waited for their turn to read into the microphone. Within the first few minutes, there were five people listen- ing and following along on the website.
On this particular day the community celebrates Fa- ther’s Day, and we chose to advertise that we were celebrating our Heavenly Father’s day by reading together His Word and honor- ing Him. After a few pictures were posted on Facebook, the number of people listening in began to grow.
At first there were many empty slots in the reading schedule, but then something amazing began to happen. More volunteers appeared to join in reading. It was especially exciting that eight guests participated in reading all 66 books of the Bible. The whole Bible took 3 days, 9 hours, and 17 minutes to finish, and the benefit to the ecclesial members was indescribable. On the white board was recorded the start times for each book and it then became a challenge to the Scripture readers to complete the project.
Though the activity seemed to have a slow start, enthusiasm kept build- ing until the marathon reached Wednesday morning and 125 to 150 listeners at a time from as many as 72 countries were following along on the website. All ten of the reading chairs were full, and at one point as many as fifteen were waiting in the lobby to enter the reading area.
While the readers were honoring their Heavenly Father, He was un- doubtedly blessing their enthusiasm. Observers could feel the excite- ment as the word of God was heard throughout the building.
There was something eye-opening about reading and hearing the Bible read continuously that seemed to add another dimension to the message. Those who followed along commented about how much and how often the Lord had repeated over and over his warnings to Israel, and yet they still fell down farther and farther into wickedness until they were carried away captive. By the time the readers reached the New Testament, when the Lord Jesus presents the message of salvation, many of those listening were moved with emotion knowing that the Jews still misunderstood it. Approaching 1 Corinthians 15, the sister at the microphone quivered as she read Paul’s words, “Death is swallowed up in victory! Oh, death where is thy sting?” Her emotions rang in each one of us as we listened, for this indeed summed up the entire message of salvation that God has planned for us.
Should other ecclesias wish to present a similar marathon, please contact Bro. Doug Hawthorne by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for help. By the way, you can still play the Simi Bible Marathon recordings on YouTube.
Doug Hawthorne (Simi Hills, CA)