To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, residents of Perry, Ga., have organized a nonstop reading marathon to have members of the community read the entire book out loud.
Members of churches from around the area hope that the 3-day event will help to "to strengthen their faith, in an event that transcends religious beliefs" by reading the Bible in 30-minute shifts from beginning to end until Sunday, Dec. 4, WMGT-TV reported.
The point of the event is to remember the history of the KJV and how much time and effort went into the Bible translation.
"Many people gave their lives just to translate the Bible," said Pastor John Lehenbauer of Christ Lutheran Church in Perry. "There have been attacks ... trying to discredit it, but it has withstood all of those and is still a central part of our community here in Perry."
Father Nicholas Mansell, pastor at St. Patrick's Catholic in Kathleen, Ga., said that events like these are vital in remembering that God can help through tumultuous times.
"It is so important that in a world in which there is so much violence and so much insecurity, that children learn what it means to understand that there is a God who loves them and wants them to be near Him and He near them," Mansell said.
The KJV has been criticized for its inaccuracies, but it has also been praised for its poetic language, which some historians claim had an influence on Shakespeare, who died only five years after its publication.
Melvyn Bragg, who wrote a history of the KJV, told Religion Dispatches that it is difficult to determine the direct influence of the KJV on Shakespeare, "Yet by an indirect route, we can trace how it did influence Shakespeare. There is also a teasing possibility that Shakespeare worked on Psalm 46," he said.