Despite some changes because of the coronavirus pandemic, the annual reading of God’s never-changing Word is currently taking place in America’s capital. The 31st Bible Reading Marathon, facilitated by the ministry Seedline International, began Saturday afternoon and will wrap up on Wednesday.
Every verse of Scripture is being read in a 90-hour span from the Faith & Liberty building in Washington, D.C., near the U.S. Supreme Court building. Politicians, pastors, and missionaries are participating in the event, which exhorts America “to return to God’s precepts.”
Changes to the 2020 Bible Reading Marathon
Because of the pandemic, organizers moved the five-day event from spring to September. They also had to move it from the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol, which is currently unavailable due to inauguration preparations.
Also new for 2020 are “virtual” participants, including missionaries serving in other countries. People unable to travel to Washington, D.C., could sign up for reading slots between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. “We didn’t want to exclude anybody because of COVID,” says Keith Davidson, founder of Indiana-based Seedline International. Seedline, a Bible-distribution ministry, took the reins of the Bible Reading Marathon in 2019, when almost 500 readers participated. This year, Davidson estimates that 300 readers are involved, with about one-fourth doing so virtually.
“This read, especially this year, is needed across our country,” says Davidson. “I think our nation’s hope lies in the word of God. I think the Bible is our foundation and can give us that duration and give us hope to get back to where…America once was.”
In conjunction with the marathon, Seedline is providing Bibles in more than 100 languages to help people around the world participate in the readings.
Who’s Reading This Year
Among the readers for the 2020 Bible Reading Marathon are Oklahoma Senator James Lankford and the following members of Congress: Mo Brooks (Alabama), Jeffrey Duncan (South Carolina), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Vicky Hartzler (Missouri), Jody Hice (Georgia), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington).
Pastors reading Scripture this year include the Rev. Michael Hall (the marathon’s previous organizer), the Rev. Robert Turrill (CEO of Evangelical Church Alliance), and Pastor Charles Koo of the Chinese Community Church of Washington, D.C. Other prominent faith leaders taking part include Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family, and Peggy Nienaber of Faith & Liberty DC.
On its website, Faith & Liberty DC notes, “If EVER Capitol Hill needed to resound with the Word of God, it is now! And that’s exactly what is going to happen! A national pandemic will NOT stop it! Bitter partisan bickering will NOT stop it! And, anarchists, rioters and protestors will NOT stop it!” The site continues, “While the US Capitol Bible Reading Marathon might look or sound a bit different this year, the powerful TRUTHS contained in the Sacred Text remain the same! And they still accomplish the purposes for which they are sent forth!”