- (Photo: Palm Beach Atlantic University via The Christian Post)
Students, faculty and staff at one Christian university in Florida have taken on a major challenge: they are going to read the entire Bible, in public, out loud, over four days.
Palm Beach Atlantic University students and employees will take turns reading parts of the Bible on campus this week, with the hope that those who pass by would reflect on its words and would see the reading of the Scripture as an important aspect of a Christian's life.
"God is honored by the reading of the Word. God is honored by us being in community and sharing the Word with people,” said Comfort Olugbuyi, a resident director for the school and one of the event's organizers, in an interview with The Christian Post on Monday.
The idea for the event came when the resident directors began searching for a way to “encourage spiritual refinement” at the university. They initially discussed reading just the New Testament all the way through, but then expanded their idea. Olugbuyi says the event accomplishes several of the university's goals, which include building community and encouraging students to read the Bible more regularly.
The Bible-reading marathon at PBAU, a Christian university located in West Palm Beach, Fla., began Monday morning. By its conclusion as many as 150 volunteer readers, none of whom know which passage they will read until it is their turn, will have likely participated.
Although the idea was met with enthusiasm by some, others weren't entirely comfortable with the idea of reading in front of others, especially if they didn't know which book they would be reading. Some said that they wanted to read specific books – like Psalms or Romans – while others simply wanted to avoid reading some parts.
“Most people didn't want Leviticus,” Olugbuyi said. One reason some people were afraid to volunteer at first, she said, is they didn't want to mispronounce some of the Bible's more complicated names and places, but organizers let them know it was okay to make mistakes.
"It's not as scary, it's not as daunting as many people make it seem," she said.
Each volunteer will read aloud for half an hour at a time, and reading will continue each day from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. the following morning. But organizers decided against reading throughout the night because they want others to be around to hear it.
Each one of the volunteer readers has received a New International Version of the Bible to read from, the Sun-Sentinal reports, although they may read out of an alternative version if they should choose to do so. Everyone received the same version because, organizers say, it makes the transition from one reader to another easier.
The event is being held at the Rinker Discussion Pit, a small amphitheater near the center of campus which is designed to carry a person's voice without the aid of a microphone or other electronic equipment. The only items the volunteers have when it is their turn to read are a chair, a music stand, a Bible and their voices.
In order to make the most of the opportunity, resident assistants who are helping with the transition between readers are also making themselves available to anyone who has questions about what they hear. The Bible will be read for 20 consecutive hours each day leading up to the finale, the last verse of the book of Revelation, which event organizers expect to be read sometime Thursday.