Glasgow Christians bring in New Year by reading entire Bible
Glasgow marathon one of more than 70 statewide
- Jackson French
- Jan 3, 2017
Across the state, groups of Christians are ringing in the New Year with marathon readings of the entire Bible.
At midnight in the Glasgow City Council Chamber, a group began with Genesis and expects to reach the end of the book sometime Wednesday.
Jeff Cooper, a member of the River Ministries in Glasgow, facilitated the event this year and last.
In 2016, volunteers took turns reading the Bible from beginning to end outside the Barren County Courthouse in downtown Glasgow, he said.
“It really just pierced my heart when I saw it and I knew it was something we had to have every year,” he said. “People were able to connect with people who had a heart for God.”
This year, Glasgow is allowing the group to hold its marathon reading in the City Council Chamber.
The less visible City Council Chamber location has resulted in far fewer people stopping by to hear readings, Cooper said, though the location is not without benefits.
“We are warm, we are dry and we are really appreciative of that,” he said.
A county away, Immanuel Ministry Church led an effort in the Thomas House in Horse Cave to read through the New Testament as well as the books of Psalms and Joel.
Last year, the group read the entire Bible but decided to scale back the project’s ambition this year, Phillip Trent, the church’s pastor, said.
In 2016, roughly a dozen people participated, but about half as many were involved in this year’s event, which lasted 23 hours, he said.
Trent said he thinks the marathon has been beneficial for the participants.
“This is a unifying thing,” he said. “We just repeat what God said and we believe His word still has power.”
Mark Harrell, pastor of Victory Christian Fellowship in Somerset, started the KY 120 United Bible Reading Marathon.
A section in the second chapter of the book of Acts, in which the Holy Spirit visits a group of 120 believers, inspired him to create the event, he said.
Noting that Kentucky has 120 counties, he decided to start a grassroots effort to unite Kentuckians across the state through faith, he said.
“It talks there (about) how they came into one accord,” Harrell said. “We have 120 counties together and we’re trying to bring unity for Christians,” he said.
Roughly halfway through 2015, Harrell started telling pastors he knew in other counties about what he was planning and the word spread, culminating in a Bible reading marathon in about 90 Kentucky counties, he said.
This year, there are marathons in about 75 counties, adding that this is mainly because he started telling people about the event in October, he said.
Though some of the Bible marathons throughout the state are taking place in government buildings, there is otherwise no government involvement, Harrell said.
“It’s faceless. It’s nameless. It’s people saying, ‘we want to take a stand,’ ” he said. “They’re saying ‘This is what we believe and we’re going to stand up and proclaim what we believe.”
Harrell also said he was thrilled about a Dec. 19 proclamation from governor Matt Bevin declaring 2017 the “Year of the Bible.”
“That just helps bring greater validity to our faith that the nation was founded on,” Harrell said.
Cooper also praised the proclamation and said, “We feel that God’s word is the final word. I feel like the state is coming into agreement with that.”
The American Civil Liberties Union disapproves of the governor’s proclamation.
Amber Duke, ACLU’s communications director, said that proclamations don’t carry “the full force” of law. “Nonetheless, we find it disappointing that he prioritized this over a lot of other things going on in the state,” she said.
Duke described the proclamation as an effort to endorse Bevin’s own religious beliefs.
“I was hoping this governor who talks so much about unity would be more inclusive about the things he chooses to endorse,” she said.
— Follow reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.