A Commitment to Read the Entire Bible in a Year Grows to Movement Status with Hundreds of Thousands of People Participating Annually

The Rev. Marek P. Zabriskie, rector at St. Thomas' Church Whitemarsh of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. | (Photo: Judy Lloyd)

The Bible Challenge has become a movement of sorts since its inception four years ago, as hundreds of thousands of people commit to reading the entire Bible during the course of a year.

The pledge originatinated from the call made by an Episcopal clergyman from Pennsylvania to his congregation in 2011 includes a book of the same name.

The Rev. Marek P. Zabriskie, rector at St. Thomas' Church Whitemarsh of Fort Washington, told The Christian Post in an interview on Tuesday that "The Bible Challenge took off beyond my wildest expectations."

"I had come to realize that Bible reading had taken a major back seat in the Episcopal Church as well as in mainline Christian traditions. We had become extremely focused on social justice and other important concerns," said Zabriskie.

"We are leaders as Christians in many of these areas, but we have lagged substantially behind in terms of engaging Scripture on a regular basis."

Zabriskie noted that via working with the American Bible Society he had learned of research showing "that regular engagement with the Bible was the number one spiritual tool, but Episcopalians and mainline Christians often focused more time and effort in other areas."

"We read a lot of Scripture in church, but studies by the United States Air Force have demonstrated that people only retain about five to ten percent of what they have heard after 72 hours," continued Zabriskie. "I think that the retention is even lower in terms of what is read aloud in church, because there is must to distract a listeners attention."

In an editorial published by, the news site in question supportive the idea of taking the Bible Challenge next year and noted its growth.

"The practice is growing quickly. The movement was started by Marek Zabriskie in 2011. Zabriskie urged the Episcopal congregation to read the bible from cover to cover in one year," read the editorial.

"The movement now has over 500,000 participants from over 2,500 churches in 40 countries taking what Zabriskie calls 'The Bible Challenge.'"

Zabriskie told CP about other indicators of increased interest in his Bible Challenge, as support for it in the Church has come to his attention.

"We have over 45 bishops leading their entire diocese in reading through the Bible in a year. We estimate that over 2,500 churches have committed to participate in The Bible Challenge, and we have participants in over 40 countries," said Zabriskie.

"There's not a day that goes by where I don't hear from a church wanting to do it or an individual participating in it."

When asked by CP as to his goals for The Bible Challenge, Zabriskie responded that he hoped that when a person participates in the Challenge it "will transform their life."

"The mission of the Center for Biblical Studies, which I founded and direct in my spare time to share and promote The Bible Challenge around the world, is to help as many people as possible to develop a life-long spiritual discipline of reading the Bible each day," said Zabriskie.

"We want to help individuals and entire faith communities discover a love for God's Word so that they don't want to have a day pass where they are not engaging in the Scriptures and allowing God's Word to bring clarity and inspiration, comfort, strength, guidance, hope and love into their lives."

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