16th annual Bible Reading Marathon wraps up today.

By May 5, 2005

USA (MNN)–Hundreds of volunteers are a part of the 16th annual Bible Reading Marathon on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

It’s a public reading of the Bible from cover to cover, spanning 80 hours. The four-day event culminates today with the National Day of Prayer, whose theme this year is “God Shed His Grace On Thee”.

Reverend Michael Hall, who heads the effort, explains why they do it. “We feel that we’re doing what Nehemiah did when there was a public reading of God’s Word which called a nation to repentance and, we feel that even people that don’t agree with us, many times, they stop and listen, and when we explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing, we feel that we are reaching people and changing their minds.”

Dr. John Hash, creator of the well-known Bible Pathways devotional guide, founded the Marathon 25 years ago with the support of the International Bible Reading Association. It was meant to combat the growing problem of biblical illiteracy in America.

Today, it accomplishes that, and more. Hall says the Bible Reading Marathon also encourages the many believers who work in Washington DC. “I think what thrills them is to see people living out their lives in the marketplace, so to speak, and to stand for their beliefs in the public sphere. I think that’s what will change this country.”

On a side note, participants bring unique contributions. This year’s Capital event was a perfect example. Following last year’s unseasonable wet and cool weather, participants struggled to read from traditional Bibles.

One participating couple decided to do something about it. So, when they got home to Texas, the couple downloaded pages off the Internet and put them in page protectors. This year’s readers were able to use a weather-proof, spiral bound Bible in six volumes. Hall says they’re looking forward to many years of Bible reading as a result of this couple’s contribution.

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