Do you want God to speak to you audibly? That’s easy. Just read the Bible out loud. When was the last time you tried listening to the Bible instead of simply reading it? I recently listened to the whole Bible in a year. In years past, I had only read the Bible through. But listening was a different experience.
It took longer to listen to it, of course, but the experience helped me connect with the Word of God in a way much closer to the way the original recipients interacted with Scripture.
The Bible tells us, for example:
At the end of every seven years . . . you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. —Deuteronomy 31:10–11
When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. —Colossians 4:16
Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture. —1 Timothy 4:13
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for reading the Bible. But the biblical authors originally wrote the Scriptures primarily to be heard—not read.
Here are 4 reasons why you should try listening to the Bible for a change.
Words Written to be Heard
In the days before the printing press, an average person would not have had personal copies of the Bible. (Today 9 out of 10 American homes have a Bible).
- Copying a text was laborious and expensive.
- Writing materials were not easy to come by.
- Biblical authors originally wrote to a listening audience—to hearers not readers.
The late David Dorsey wrote a wonderful book called The Literary Structure of the Old Testament, in which he notes:
The blandness of an ancient text’s appearance reflects the cultural reality that ancient texts were written primarily to be heard, not seen. . . . Signals were geared for the ear, not the eye, since visual markers would be of little value to a listening audience.
4 Reasons You Should Try Listening to the Bible for a Change
I’m all for reading the Bible. But I think we should include listening to the Word as well. Here are just 4 reasons why:
- You may learn better by listening to the Bible. But be sure to know your learning style. I’m a visual learner more than an auditory one. I remember better when I read something than when I hear it. I’ve started reading the One Year Bible (NKJV) on my iPad Mini. I love it. (I wish the One Year Bible came in NASB.)
- Listening to the Bible slows you down. If you’re like me, you can read quickly, and it’s tempting to read our daily devotions with the same speed as the morning paper. Listening to the Bible allows you to process what you’re hearing more slowly—and in a different way.
- Listening to the Bible can save you time. I originally tried listening to the Bible on my commute to save time. And it did. But I found a surprising additional benefit.
- Listening to the Bible gives you insights you can miss while reading it. You’ll never guess which book I enjoyed listening to the most—the Book of Job. For years when I’d read the book of Job, I would enjoy the first two chapters and the last few. But that LONG middle section was tough sledding. But the “boring” debate between Job and his friends came to life when I listened to it. Give it a try.
Resources to Help You Listen
Here are a few ideas for resources you can use:
- Use a free app for your smartphone or tablet or computer called YouVersion. It gives you many translations. This is how I listened for a year.
- Or if you prefer to listen on CD or mp3, you can pick up a Bible audiobook. I have used both the dramatic reading in The Bible Experience as well as the Word of Promise Audio Bible.
- Subscribe to a podcast that reads the Bible in a year, like the 1 Year Daily Audio Bible. Here are other options.
Obviously, we should still read the Word of God. But listening to the Bible for a change can provide a wonderful addition.
Tell me what you think: Have you ever listened to the Bible? To leave a comment, just click here.