Four Benefits of Bible Listening

post date: May 19, 2012

First of all, buy an iPad.

That’s not what this blog entry is all about, but go ahead and do it. The method of Bible listening I’m going to recommend works best with a smartphone or an iPad.

Last January I started using two iPad apps in my daily Quiet Time. I use YouVersion for my Bible reading and Bible.Is for my Bible listening. I start with the dramatized NRSV revision on Bible.Is that features different voices, music, and various sound effects to enhance the biblical text. I then go to YouVersion and read along in the ESV while listening to the NRSV. There are some interesting word differences, but many verses are exactly the same. When I’m reading a verse that’s slightly different from what I’m hearing, it makes me pay more attention to the text.

I started in January with Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Since then I’ve listened to Mark, Deuteronomy, Ruth, Psalm 101-150 (a terrific experience), Proverbs, Song of Solomon (very powerful), Lamentations (deeply moving), Leviticus (the dramatic reading was very helpful), Hebrews (also helpful), and I’m currently in John (the combination of voices helps me follow the conversations). 

As I’ve thought about it, I see four benefits to doing this sort of “Bible listening” as opposed to the traditional “Bible reading.”

1. It slows me down. 

Left to myself, I tend to speed read the Bible. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll read four chapters in five minutes (It can be done). But if the audio reading of John 6 takes 7 minutes, then I’m going to listen to that one chapter for 7 minutes. It forces me to slow down and listen closely. 

2. It engages my eyes and my ears.

Generally I read the text while I listen to the audio version. Anything that gets more of my senses involved keeps me focused on what the Bible actually says.

3. It allows me to catch the flow of each book.

In a dramatized version, different voices read different parts. This is very effective in the gospels where you can hear different people coming to Jesus with problems, questions, and sometimes (in the case of the Jewish leaders) objections and accusations. 

4. It makes me excited about listening to the Word every day.

I’m finding this the most beneficial Bible reading I’ve ever done. I’m spending more time each day in the Word and enjoying it more than ever.

If your daily quiet time needs a jolt of energy, I highly recommend some Bible listening.


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