Yesterday evening a group of us enjoyed four and a half hours of Bible reading together. No preaching, just reading. We read John’s Gospel, and then from James through to Revelation. We paused briefly to share reflections three or four times, followed by brief comfort breaks, but otherwise kept reading.
Here are a few reasons why I think mini-marathons like this one, or even longer Bible reading marathons are a great idea for your church:
1. It is good to experience Bible books as a whole, instead of only ever hearing them in shorter sections. For example, the letters were written to be heard in one go. We can easily lose the overall flow when we only ever focus on one section at a time.
2. It is good for people to experience Bible reading “in the zone.” To put it another way, even the most diligent Bible in a year reader may only ever experience reading the Bible during the relatively noisy first 10-15 minutes. A Bible marathon is a group experience of reading beyond that noise and enjoying the feast that comes when you are reading “in the zone” (i.e. focused).
3. It is good to have a proper soaking. Most people live in a noisy and busy world these days. This means it is difficult to carve out longer chunks of time to pursue God in His Word. A Bible marathon like this is like a spiritual spa, allowing the washing with the water of the Word to cleanse at a deeper level.
4. It is good to enjoy God together. Too often Bible reading is treated as a lone ranger experience, but it is good to have the gentle spur to focus of being in the group. Last night our group included an 11-year-old, as well as a student who is rarely home. Another time maybe we will get someone who struggles to read (and can therefore enjoy listening), or a brand new Christian, or someone in a highly pressurized career, or whatever . . . every group will be special because of the individuals involved, because of the group dynamic, and mostly because of the God we are encountering in His Word!