During one week in September over the course of just under 75 hours, 72 different people aged from 13 years to 90+ years, in a relay system in half hour sections, read the Bible out loud in St Saviour’s Church from beginning to end. Yes – that’s the whole of the Bible, including all the long names, social and religious laws, histories of the Jewish nation, poetic psalms, letters of Paul, narrative of the Gospel stories, and much more.
There were a number of positive consequences that people experienced during this event that all of us may receive benefits.
- There was an expectation from the readers that God would speak to them through His word. Several people have fed back how their reading was ‘a word for them’ and very often in the most unexpected parts of Scripture. This extended to those who came to listen to the Bible being read and was very encouraging!
- There was a sense that the Bible presents a united message. This was very much the experience of individuals who read at different times in the week rather than just on one occasion. This may encourage you to read parts of Scripture that you haven’t read before rather than to always read favourite and familiar books.
- People experienced, sometimes for the first time, reading a complete story or maybe even a whole book during a half hour slot rather than just a few verses that are read to us at church each week. As one person commented, ‘We happily read a newspaper or a novel for half an hour or more at a time. Why don’t we find time in our day to read the Bible for half an hour or so?’ And, there is something special about reading out loud! Hearing the reading, even if this is from our own mouths, is a different experience to reading the Bible to ourselves.
I hope that this enables all us to have confidence that God speaks to us through the Bible and encourages us to read the Bible regularly through the week.
Andy McPherson, vicar