As a new initiative commenced this week in Bury St Edmunds, to read out the whole of the bible in 72 hours, Network Suffolk met with Rennie Clarke who had the initial vision for this project, to learn more of how it came about.
Network Suffolk: Rennie –what is Bible 3-6-4 all about?
Rennie Clarke: Essentially it is a vision to mobilise churches, groups, and individuals to read aloud the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. It all came about when I discovered that it’s possible to read the Bible from cover to cover in seventy two hours. I was challenged by the thought, and not only did I take up the challenge, but have subsequently encouraged others to do the same.
NS: Why 3-6-4?
RC: It’s because when I first decided to embark upon this Bible reading, I did it in my home, by reading out aloud, and standing up, for three hours a day, six days a week and for four weeks. A sum total of seventy two hours! I think my neighbours thought I was quite mad!
NS: What’s the purpose of doing so?
RC: There are many reasons for doing so – Paul exhorted Timothy in the public reading of Scriptures, but more importantly throughout Bible history and Christendom itself, great revivals have broken out due to the reading out aloud Scripture or the Bible. Furthermore Isaiah wrote that God’s Word will not return void and it will accomplish all that He (God) pleases.
NS: So when you read for seventy two hours, what were the results?
RC: I experienced a personal revival that was completely transformative. It was more than a renewing of my mind; it filled me with a passion for God and to know more of Him, become more like His Son, Christ Jesus. Consequently I have been reading the Bible from cover to cover each year for the past ten years. I can truly say it is the ‘Bread of Life’ and the ‘Sword of the Spirit’.
NS: How has that renewal affected you?
RC: When we know God’s Word, we can begin to stand on His promises, live under His precepts, and allow His truth to take over our lives…Proverbs 3: 6 really becomes alive – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”
NS: Of course your first reading was some ten years ago. What has happened since?
RC: About a year later I encouraged a vicar in my local village community in Yorkshire to invite his congregation to also take up the Bible reading challenge. Much to my surprise both he and the Church did, and the results were quite astounding. ‘Un-churched’ people from the village came into the church to listen to the readings, whilst a few months later, new people, individuals and young families, began attending the church. It was as though God had breathed new life into the church and its community.
NS: And then what happened?
RC: I must confess that despite the success of the church, the vision I had received of the nation standing together and reading out aloud God’s Word, a vision that I wrote out in some depth, I rather let it fall dormant – maybe somewhat like we read in Habakkuk 2, verses 1 – 3.
NS: But you’ve now resuscitated it, how did that come about?
RC: Some ten months ago my wife and I had been chatting somewhat casually to a new found friend about the way God works in our lives. When I mentioned the Bible reading vision, she became enthused with it all, and as she was in this country on furlough from a Bible Translation team in Africa, she began to speak about the vision to all the UK Churches she was visiting, and particularly the ones in Suffolk. Two local Churches have seen the vision and now taken up the challenge, one in Bury St Edmunds and the other in Ipswich. However, the two churches have taken the concept of reading in seventy two hours and applied it in different ways.
NS: In what way do you mean?
RC: The one Church has taken and applied the original ‘3-6-4 vision’ and the Bible readings will start in mid-May to finish mid June. The other has taken the principle of seventy two hours and is reading out the Bible for three hours every Saturday for twenty four Saturdays, starting in May and finishing in November. It really doesn’t matter what timetable is used, ‘3-6-4’ was just the name I put to the vision. The fact that these churches have seen the Bible reading vision and believe that God will bring all sorts of new life into their congregations and communities is exciting in itself.
NS: So what now?
RC: Now is the time to let everyone know of this vision – not only Churches, but youth groups, Sunday schools, home or cell groups, and also individuals in their homes. Now is the time for believers to turn back to God’s Word. Now is the time for the Church to stand on God’s truth and His full counsel.
NS: Thanks Rennie for sharing your experience and the vision. Is there anything else you wish to add?
RC: In the past few years I have experienced the power of prayer, as a weapon to be used in our communities and our own personal lives. I am fully convinced that when prayer is harnessed to the reading programme, and the day to-day of our lives, it will unlock heaven’s doors in ways we can never imagine.
NS: So finally for now, how do interested Churches or groups receive more information?
RC: They are most welcome to contact me direct (see below), and I can send them more detailed information as well as the mechanics and Bible reading programme itself. I am also happy to arrange to come and speak with them and share more of the vision and how God can revive, refresh, and renew congregations and fellowships as they turn to His Word. Hopefully there will be a website available in the near future that will also give people more information.
Rennie describes himself as a “prodigal son” who spent some thirty three years rebelling against God. He lived in Southern Africa for twenty years where he was a TV documentary maker. His return to this country and his renewed journey of faith has taken him and his German born wife Dorothea to many parts of the world. They are now based in Ipswich and have established a ‘New Testament’ open home ministry, encouraging and mobilising people both to pray, and to turn once more to God’s Word – sharing in fellowship, hospitality, and reaching out to the lost, the poor and dispossessed in their community and beyond. He can be contacted at Rennieclarke@aol.com or telephone 07791 627335