How to Plan and Host a Bible Study Marathon

Bible study marathon

No worries, Ladies- this post has nothing to do with an actual run! 😉

Have you ever wanted to sign up to participate in a community Bible study but you knew you were going to miss several weeks of the study due to schedule conflicts? Or maybe you have a group of women who really would love to watch a DVD Bible study together but getting together once a week for 8 or more weeks just won’t work for everyone?

Today I’m outlining how to plan and host a Bible study marathon.

What is a Bible study marathon?

A Bible study marathon is similar to a retreat or conference in that it is scheduled for a concentrated amount of time, but the biggest difference is that you don’t fly in speakers or travel away from your community. A Bible study marathon is simply taking a Bible study curriculum you would normally choose for your group and instead of watching the DVD and doing the lessons over the course of weeks, you simply watch all the sessions and complete the teaching outline portion of the session guides over the course of one or two days.

Now most Bible study curriculum is not designed to be completed in this manner, but I can attest to the fact that while it is not ideally suited to all Bible study curriculum, completing a Bible study marathon can be a wonderful tool to inspire and encourage a group of ladies who may otherwise not have the opportunity to participate. Having said that, let’s take a look on how to plan and host a Bible study marathon.

1. Decide on a date.

If you already have a certain group of women in mind, coordinate a day that will suit as many participants as possible. I recommend setting the date at least 6-8 weeks in advance in order to provide the opportunity for scheduling without conflicts.

2. Choose the study and determine the span of time needed for the study.

Doing a Bible study marathon works well with DVD studies that have shorter videos in length. Longer videos can be completed, but obviously more time is needed. When my community group did a marathon of this type, we used Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Lisa Terkeurst’s DVD series for Unglued. Each video was an average of 25 minutes or less and this particular study offers 6 sessions. Calculating the actual amount of time needed for viewing the video teaching is critical to knowing how much time the entire marathon will take.

3. Determine a place.

Whether you choose to host the study in your own home, someone else’s home, a church, or community gathering area, think about the amount of time you determined in point 2 and find a comfortable place.  Of course, there are many options and sometimes a little creativity is all it takes to find the perfect place. For two years, I led a community Bible study in a coffee shop and then we moved to a conference room in a yogurt shop. For one of the marathons I’ve hosted, a dear friend offered her beautiful home to host the study. Her children were all grown and she just loved hosting the women that night. You just never know what God might have; keep an open mind.

4. Establish the “extras.”

At this point, you should have the what (which study), the when (date and time), the who (women to invite), the where (event location), and now we are ready for the “how.” All of the details of this part of the Bible study marathon are up to how you believe God to be directing in your individual situation, but I just want to give you a few ideas:

  • Bible study marathons are a bit long and typically with less discussion than a weekly study. Make everyone as comfortable as possible. Maybe you could all wear your slippers. If meeting in a home, offer lap blankets or pillows.
  • Offer seasonally appropriate food and drink choices. If it is not in your budget to purchase everything, then perhaps having an email signup or online signup, such as Volunteer Spot, would work well for your event.
  • Be sure to have plenty of writing utensils available.
  • A widescreen tv or screen is most ideal, but depending on the size of the group, you could use a smaller screen.
  • Outline your agenda for the event. Watch the DVD sessions in sequence order.
  • Allow for appropriate breaks and if you’re flexible, let the ladies know to feel free and refill their glasses of tea or grab more chocolate or make a bathroom stop as needed.

Ok, Friends, this is a long post, but I wanted to let you know that I really believe this is a great way to offer studies in situations where you may not be able to do them otherwise.

I’ve been able to host a Bible Study marathon twice and each time held its own unique set of circumstances as to all the reasons why it was such a great event and loved by those in attendance.  I would really love to use this idea more in the future.

What comments or questions do you have about a Bible study marathon? I’d love to read them today!

Happy Monday!




If you liked this, you'll enjoy...


  1. I’ve done something very similar on a Friday night/Saturday event for our women’s ministry. I’d love to hear the studies you’ve used that worked well in this format.

    1. The studies from the Proverbs 31 ministries ladies work well with this format. Let.It.Go by Karen Ehman and Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst. There are two I really want to do using this method: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver and One Thousand Gifts DVD series by Ann Voskamp.

  2. Lisa Rettig says:

    I think this would be a fun way to do a Bible study. If it’s any length of time I think it would be a great thing to do in a home, so you can get comfy!

  3. I love how God gives me just what I need to help put together something He is working in my heart!! Rachel this is perfect! I WILL be using your tips to plan my own Bible Study Marathon. Thanks! ~Mary

  4. I love this idea- Never thought of it before but I am going to pray about doing this!!

Comments are closed.