1. To set aside quality time in a busy culture to drink deeply from God's Word.
  2. To read through a Bible book in one sitting as it was meant to be read.
  3. To follow the sweep of themes and interrelatedness of the Bible.
  4. To experience the Word with the encouragement of community.
  • Have one leader with an assistant.
  • Assistant helps with food and other issues that come up.
  • Take ten minutes at the start for orientation and opening prayer.
  • Participants: must commit to the full marathon, and come rested.
  • Any size works, but 15 people in a large living room is good.
  • Invite specific individuals that you think would enjoy the marathon and then announce more widely for any places still open.
  • Length: from 2-18 hours in one day. (Example schedules below)
  • Have a 5 min. response time (every 1-2 hrs) Volunteers read a meaningful verse and pray a response to the verse (confession, thanksgiving, praise, prayer for help)
  • Breaks: 5 min breaks every 1-2 hours for bathroom, food, etc.
  • Have everyone bring common translations (NIV & NASB) not paraphrases.
  • Reading Aloud: Willing readers stand to read one chapter to the group. Split up chapters longer than 20 verses. Print an order of readers and the order in which you will read the Bible books. Use a good CD of scripture reading on selected portions. Use it to end breaks and during meals.
  • Reading Order: Do not feel restricted to the NT order of the books. Alternate long books with short. Revelation last.
  • Have everyone stand for the reading of every 7th chapter. On this chapter each person reads one verse around the room.

Length of Marathon
Any reading for two hours or more is a marathon. For high school students and for adults it is best to begin with a 2-5 hour marathon. College students like the challenge of 8-16 hour marathons as well as shorter ones. At the end is a chart of reading times for specific books of the Bible.

Example Marathon 1
Mark takes 1.5 hrs. (use 2 hour slot)

  • Orientation & Welcome 10 min
  • Read aloud 50 min
  • Response Prayers 5 min
  • Break - 5 min
  • Read aloud 40 min
  • Response Prayers 10 min.

Example Marathon 2
Hebrews thru Revelation takes just under 3 hours (4 hour slot)

  • Orientation & Welcome 10 min.
  • Read 60 min
  • Response Prayers 5 min
  • Break 5 min
  • Read 60 min
  • Response Prayers 5 min.
  • Break 5 min
  • Read 60 min.
  • Response Prayers 20

Example Marathon 3
Daniel & Minor Prophets takes 4.6 hours (Use 6 hour slot).
Stop every hour for Prayers of Response (5 min) & Break (5 min).

Example Marathon 4
Acts-Philemon takes 6.9 hours. (Use 8 hour slot).
Stop every hour for Prayers of Response (5 min) and Break (5 min).

  • Encourage participants to bring a notebook to record insights. Have everyone look for two things during the reading.
    • A theme (love, fear, submission, hope, evangelism, God's glory, nature of God, etc).
    • Verses that relate to a selected personal problem or issue.
  • Periodically (every 1-2 hrs) stop reading for 5 min. before breaks, and stand together. Have volunteers read a significant verse for that reading and pray a response to the verse (thanksgiving, confession, petition for help, praise, etc). This will probably be the most significant time.
  • On the first sharing time, select several capable people ahead of time. Have them read a verse from that section and pray their response. Then keep the time open to any others willing to read & pray.

    Sharing Example: "They went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name." (Acts 5:41 read by a volunteer) "Dear Lord, the book of Acts makes it clear that the gospel will never get out to the world without suffering. Help me to accept suffering from your hand and be willing to take risks to share the gospel with my friends at school."

    Sharing Example: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everthing by prayer ... let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6)." (Read by a volunteer) "Dear God, I'm anxious about money and my job. Let me trust you by praying every time I feel anxious and trusting you to meet all my needs."

  • If meals are involved, keep them simple.
  • Each person brings a drink or snack and money for any meals served.
  • Have assistant responsible for keeping food & meals organized.
  • Have a place for people to lay down when they are not alert.

Reading Schedule 2.75 min/page   (times do not include breaks)