STUART, Florida — Millions of Americans love reading their Bibles every day, but most usually do so in the privacy of their own homes or in church.
Meanwhile, people in “the Sailfish Capital of the World,” Stuart, Florida, are reading the Bible out loud in public this week from start to finish, 24 hours a day.
The idea for the annual 90-hour Bible Reading Marathon began with Pastors Gene and Donna Healton of the Spirit of Prophecy Ministries in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks against America on Sept. 11, 2001.
“When the [Twin] Towers came down, the Lord spoke to our hearts about doing this for our nation,” said Donna Healton. “This is for our nation, not for our church, but for all the people in our country.”
The local governments of both Stuart and Martin County have endorsed the event since 2001, issuing official proclamations in support of publicly reading Scripture.
The event began Sunday and continues through Thursday in a bandshell at Veterans Memorial Park in Stuart. Participants sign up for 15-minute increments as they get to read Scripture that gets blasted through loudspeakers day and night from “In the beginning” in Genesis to the final “Amen” of Revelation.
Although the Healtons have spearheaded the event every year since its inception, personal health concerns for both in 2018 have prompted them to hand over management duties to Eddie and Joanne Rodrigues of Step Into Grace Ministries.
“We are very excited to do this, and we thank you for allowing us to use your park to speak God’s Word out into the open, into the skies and to the Earth,” Eddie Rodrigues told the Stuart City Commission last month.
Noting that this year’s event begins on Nov. 11, he added: “That also happens to be my wife and I’s wedding anniversary, and it’s our 18th year anniversary. It’s [also] the 18th year we’ll be reading this. So I’m very excited about it because it is a proclamation over this country for protection and [for] Israel.”
“Many time spots have filled, however, we still have available time spots open!” the couple declared on Facebook. “Please call to be a part of this special event and donate 15 minutes of your time to bless our nation, with God’s protection, by reading God’s word aloud!” Those wishing to read at the marathon can contact them at 561-670-0469.
WND has covered the Bible Reading Marathon numerous times, including in 2013 when Gene Healton said, “We know the country is really not in good shape right now and we need to get back on the foundation of the Bible. And if we don’t, we’re going downhill fast. We know that. Our country needs the Word of God and so we need to continue to declare it and continue to never stop declaring it. They’re trying to take God out of all the fabric of our country. Any place at all where God may be, they want to stop it.”
Gene’s wife, Donna, told WND, “We thought we were just doing it one year … It’s like a mandate God says [to do]. I think this may be the most important thing that the Lord has called us to do here in this county. Just to be able to have God’s Word go forth from here, and with the Ten Commandments here on the land, and here we have the cross and the Star of David. God’s people are just coming together and I think it’s just exciting what God’s doing.”
“Maybe the nation is getting worse and worse and we can see it by the things that are happening on the news,” she continued.
“I really feel like God is sending prophets to speak the Word, but if our government is not going to listen to us, God is going to raise up a people. And I think even though we see things getting harder and people are struggling more with their finances and their jobs and just everything, I mean people are working harder, getting paid less.
“We need to think about building the kingdom of God, and so as people are struggling and having hard times, I think they’re seeking God out more. We have to tell people God is our answer, and so we have to turn to Him because He says things are going to happen in the nations, and we’re one of the nations. … There’s no hope sometimes if you look in the natural, but with God, all things are possible, and He’s our hope.”
You’re not being told the entire, glorious truth about the Bible’s contents. Learn Scripture on the spirit level as well as the physical level in the best-selling “Shocked by the Bible 2” — autographed at WND!
Follow Joe Kovacs on Twitter @JoeKovacsNews