May 2019   
What is the Bible Challenge?

The Bible Challenge was designed to help Episcopalians and Anglicans read the entire Bible in a year. Of the more than 20,000 Christian denominations and groups in the United States, Episcopalians are the best educated.

When ranked according to biblical literacy, however, we fall to almost dead last. For years, we have laughed at our lack of biblical knowledge. Unfortunately, we are learning that almost all growing churches are highly focused on the Bible – our main weakness. While we read large passages from the Bible aloud each Sunday in church, studies reveal that 95% of what we hear is forgotten within 72 hours. The average Episcopalian now attends church once a month. This is no way to learn the Bible.

Most of our churches offer one or more Bible studies, but less than 5% our members usually attend a Bible study. No wonder most Episcopalians and Anglicans do not feel equipped to read the Bible on their own. Think of it in terms of exercise. If you attend a gym once a month, you can hardly call yourself an athlete, and you are unlikely to be in good shape. As a tennis player, I know that I must play tennis twice a week to maintain my tennis game and three or more times a week to improve it.

As a spiritual athlete, we must read the Bible regularly if we want to experience a strong spiritual life. The goal of The Bible Challenge is to help individuals develop a joyful life-long spiritual discipline of daily Bible reading that transforms their lives and helps their experience in church come more alive. Studies show that the number one way to deepen an individual’s spiritual life is regular engagement with Scripture. This unfortunately is not an Episcopal or Anglican strong point. Studies show that there is no measurable difference in moral behavior between those who attend church once a week and those who do not attend. There is, however, a much stronger positive moral behavior exhibited by those who read the Bible four times or more a week.

Hence, we created The Bible Challenge to help Episcopalians, Anglicans and others read through the Bible in a year. Our goal is to transform lives. We also know that if a spiritual leader successfully invites a large percentage of their members to join him or her in reading the entire Bible in a year, it will transform their entire institution.

... Our prayer is that The Bible Challenge will transform your life and the life of your spiritual community through the daily discipline
of Bible reading. The Bible is a love letter written by God to each of us.

With every blessing,
The Rev. Marek P. Zabriskie
Rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
Founder of The Bible Challenge and the Center for Biblical Studies