It seems to me to be an incredible blessing to live with the technology of the 21st century at our disposal. When the Bible was first written it was given to the people of God to be read aloud in their public worship services. Over the years, however, that practice was lost in our modern, western culture of individualism. Now that everyone owns their own Bible (or five) and we no longer need to go to church in order to hear what the Bible says, reading and hearing the Bible read aloud seems redundant and superfluous.
I’m so thankful for technology because it gives us new ways to carry out our old traditions. Recently, when I was at a conference in the States with my friend Tim, I purchased the Bible read by Max McLean on MP3 CDs that I can listen to my car.
My habit lately has been to listen to a single book of the Bible, listening carefully for major themes for connecting thoughts. When the book is over, I hit rewind and hear it read again. I do this several times to get my head around the whole flow of thought int he book.
It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how many times we go back over the same text of God’s inspired word, the Spirit reveals more and more of God’s truth to us through the words on the page. Because of my calling and my stage of life I have found it particularly important to study the pastoral epistles again. I love how in so few pages God has packed so much wisdom for all generations of his church’s undershepherds.
If you have never taken the opportunity to hear God’s word read aloud, then let me encourage you to do so. I think it will amaze you, as it has amazed me, to see how thoughts are related from paragraph to paragraph in a way that you cannot understand simply by reading quietly in your head (also, you don’t have to worry about the visual false divisions of chapter and verse).
If you do not have anyone to read the word of God aloud to you then let me suggest simply reading the word on your own out loud to yourself. On the T4G blog, Mark Dever recently confirmed what I had previously been suspicious of, namely, that Ambrose was the first figure in history of whom it is said that he read silently to himself. So before the end of the fourth century it was clearly the practice of our forefathers to read whatever they were reading aloud. If the Bible was written in order to be read aloud, then why not give it a shot?
If you are not convinced by my arguments here, then let me dare you to give it a shot. Go to the ESV web site and spend some time listening to the streaming audio that is available for free. If you don’t benefit from it, then don’t worry about it. But, if you are like me, and you do find benefit in it, then go out and buy yourself the Bible on CD. The more ways we find to make the Bible come to life for us–so that God the Father can reveal Jesus Christ to us through God the Spirit as he speaks through the words on the page–the better!