John Adams, our second President of the United States, used to read the entire Bible each year from cover to cover. He studied the Scriptures every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Andrew Jackson, our seventh President, referred to the Bible as “the rock on which our Republic rests.” He read three to five chapters of the Bible each day.
Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, called the Bible “the best gift God has ever given to man…But for it we could not know right from wrong.”
Woodrow Wilson, our twenty-eighth President, once noted, “The Bible is the Word of life. I beg that you will read it and find this out for yourself. When you have read the Bible you will know it is the Word of God, because you will have found in it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, our thirty-fourth President, and his family used the Bible each day during family devotions with each family member taking his or her turn in reading a passage.
Jimmy Carter, our thirty-ninth President, reads the Bible daily and has taught a Sunday school class for over three decades.
Ronald Reagan, the fortieth President, wrote, “Inside the Bible’s pages lie all the answers to all the problems man has ever known. I hope Americans will read and study the Bible…It is my firm belief that the enduring values presented in its pages have a great meaning for each of us and for our nation. The Bible can touch our hearts, order our minds, and refresh our souls.”
This year I have decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. It’s been a long time since I have done it, and it is something that everyone should do at least once. I have been reading the Book of Genesis with a cup of tea in the morning or seated by the fire at night. It is so enjoyable that I want to encourage you to do this as well.
I would like to invite you to accept the challenge of reading the Bible from cover to cover this year. I suggest reading the New Oxford Annotated Bible printed by Oxford University Press. It’s an excellent translation with fine footnotes that prove most helpful.
If you do not have a Bible and would like to accept this challenge, I will gladly provide you with a copy at no cost to you. Just let me know if you need one.
Either way, let me know if you will join me in reading the Bible from cover to cover this year. I want to keep track of how many invitees will accept this wonderful challenge.
I believe that taking time to read the Bible for 15 or 30 minutes each day will transform our lives, our marriages and our families. It will help us to be better parents, spouses, neighbors, Christians, workers and citizens.
It will help keep our head and our heart in the right place and prepare us for eternity with God. I hope that you will accept the Bible challenge as together we seek to lead more ethical lives.
With warmest regards,
The Rev. Marek P. Zabriskie
Rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church. Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
Founder and Executive Director of The Bible Challenge and The Center for Biblical Studies