Lately Marlene and I have started a new adventure in daily Bible listening.
That’s right. Daily Bible listening.
For a long time if you wanted to listen to the Bible, you had to buy a big set of CDs or DVDs. With the advent of smartphone apps, you can now listen to the whole Bible, read by a single person or read dramatically with music in the background.
This year we’re doing some daily reading and listening to the text at the same time. And we’re not following the same plan. Marlene has started reading and listening in Genesis while I’m reading and listening to Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Here’s how I do it. For me it starts two free Bible apps: YouVersion and Bible.is. Both contain many different Bible versions in many different languages, all of them free, and many of them available in both written and audio formats. These apps also offer many different Bible reading plans, ways to take notes, and ways to interact online with other people.
I’m doing something a bit unusual that I suppose most people wouldn’t want to do it. I’m listening to the text in one version and reading it at the same time in another version. The slight wording differences actually help me think about what the text is actually saying. That might bother many people, but it actually helps me concentrate.
I begin by going to my Bible.is app and opening up the Dramatic NRSV audio version. The dramatic part means that the reading is accompanied by music, sound effects, and different voices reading different parts of the text. Again, not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it.
Then I go to YouVersion and open up the same text in the NIV. I listen and read at the same time, noting the wording differences as I go along. Since I can’t “speed listen” the way I can speed read, I have to take my time and not rush through the text. Usually I do two chapters a day, though I’ve done as many as four.
I’m finding it helpful to read and listen at the same time because it slows me down and helps me think about what the text is saying. And anything that helps me think about what God’s Word is saying is good for my soul.