People in a town in Alabama are preparing for an event where hundreds of volunteers will read through the Bible over a period of several days.
Organized by the Salem-Troy Baptist Association and sponsored by Bible Pathway Ministries, the Sixth Annual Bible Reading Marathon event will begin on April 29 at 7:00 a.m. and conclude at 12 p.m. on May 3, which is the National Day of Prayer.
Karen Hawkins, coordinator for BPM's Bible Reading Marathons, told The Christian Post that Troy is one of many places that annually hold the marathon.
"Bible Pathway Ministries is the one that is the source for Troy marathon and others across the country and around the world. It's our 23rd year to do so," said Hawkins.
"In the West we tend to think of it as words on a page but it is still the all-powerful creative power God used to create the universe and by which He still holds all things together."
According to Hawkins, BPM has been forging the event as a global one in which cities and towns across the globe will take part.
"We are really promoting the global aspect this year," said Hawkins.
"Our own April 29 to May 3 will be the third global Bible Reading Marathon and will originate from our international headquarters here in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where 95 hours of it will be streamed live over the Internet."
Linda Adams, interim director of the Salem-Troy Baptist Association, told local media that as of Thursday she is looking for 360 readers. Reading through the entire Bible is expected to take around 90 hours.
"We are in the process of registering readers for the Bible Reading Marathon," said Adams to the Troy Messenger.
"The purpose of the Bible Reading Marathon is to be faithful to God's Word and to honor it. By reading the Bible publicly, we are witnessing that we are committed to people hearing God's Word."
According to Adams, the reading schedule will be broken up into 15 minute segments, which volunteers and church groups likely taking turns with these segments.
The annual event comes as findings released by the American Bible Society show an apparent decline in biblical literacy and influence in their "State of the Bible" 2012 study. According to their findings, 54 percent of Americans surveyed could not correctly identify the first five books of the Bible and 66 percent of Americans aged 18 to 27 surveyed say they did not believe the Bible contains everything one needs to know about living a meaningful life.
Lamar Vest, president of ABS, told CP that he supported the efforts of BPM, STBA, and those who volunteer to read during the marathon.
"We commend the effort to encourage more people to read or hear the words of the Bible to make sense of life," said Vest.
"Efforts like that of the Bible Reading Marathon are not just important for a country in difficult economic times but are important for individuals who may be troubled or hurting and for whom the words of the Bible can offer hope and encouragement."