4 Reasons You Should Try Listening to the Bible for a Change

Experience the Word of God in a brand new way.

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.

4 Reasons You Should Try Listening to the Bible for a Change

(Photo by Photodune)

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).

In antiquity:

  • 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.

Scribe copying Scripture

(Photo: Scribe copying Scripture. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

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.

Get Encouraged the Easy Way!

Grow-strong-optin

When you subscribe to my blog, I’ll immediately send you a FREE e-book, Grow Strong: 30 Devotions to Deepen Your Christian Life. You'll also receive fresh content each time I post. It's easy!

Thanks for subscribing to my blog!

With one click, please share with others so that they also can get my FREE e-book:

Share on Facebook! Share on Twitter!

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Just keep it kind and relevant. Thanks!

  • Nancy Williams

    Love the thought of listening to the word while driving and loved the fly over….what a way to start a day….with wonderful memories of the past with the Stiles family …love you guys and see you soon. Nancy

    • Thank you, Nancy! Listening to the Bible has given surprising benefits. Can’t wait to see you and Doug. God bless, and thanks for the comments.

  • Sandy

    Great points about listening to the Word! Thanks, Wayne!
    I just wanted to comment
    that you can read the one year Bible online for free in your choice of
    translations( including the NASB) by going to oneyearbibleonline.com/
    which offers a reading plan that sends you to the correct passages at
    Bible Gateway (where you can choose your preferred translation from the
    drop down).

    • Thanks for that info, Sandy. I would love a NASB One Year Bible in the Kindle format. It’s how I read 99% of my books.

  • Awesome Wayne. Just discovered your blog via Michael Hyatt’s blog! Glad to find another brother in Christ who blogs. Great content, and I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    • Great to hear from you, Paul! Thanks for the encouraging note. I appreciate you reaching out and saying hi. God bless you, brother.

  • Carl Rasmussen

    Wayne, I have found that reading the text out loud also helps to slow me down and assists me in comprehension.
    BTW – the author of the book is David Dorsey—a great person and scholar. Greatly missed.

    • Ah, yes, of course, Carl. Thanks for that correction. Not sure why I had Dorsey on the brain.

  • Pingback: Mount Sinai—Why You Need God’s Word First of All | Wayne Stiles()

  • Pingback: FREE Resources for Your Bible Reading This Year()

  • Reegz

    I use in-ear earphones with ear muffs over them while im working, I do carpentry and fabrication. I can pretty much get through the whole new testament in a full day by listening. I cant handle reading, never could sit down and stare at paper. It seems like a waste of time to me, besides that I learn better by listening. For a while i felt I HAD to READ the bible and audio was cheating, but faith comes through hearing the word of God.

    • Isn’t it wonderful, Reegz, to have the freedom to absorb God’s Word as it works best for each of us? I loved hearing how you take in the Scriptures. What a great use of time. Thanks.

  • Gary Johnson

    I do a lot of long distance driving at times and never thought of listening to the Bible. I already have the YouVersion app so I’ll give it a try and let you know. Thanks Wayne I appreciate your ministry, challenging thoughts, and consistency each week and month very much.

    • You’re welcome, Gary. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how magnificent it is to listen to God‘s word. Go for it!

  • Alison Sinclair Green

    I’ve used Bible Gateway app to listen to the Bible. It has many versions for free including NASB. I listen mainly in the car, but last summer read the Bible in 90 days while walking. I would read and listen at the same time while I walking in place. Multitasking!! Rich llikes the YouVersion app and recently we’ve been figuring out the Olive Tree Bible Study app.

    • That’s great, Alison! I also use the YouVersion app (used it this morning on my drive!). I’ve found that the best app is the one you’ll use. 🙂 God bless.

  • Charmaine

    Wow Wayne! It was only yesterday that i was discussing and encouraging my children to LISTEN to the word of God. I used the same examples that you did about the children of Israel and the early Church and the fact that they did not own personal copies of the bible as we do today yet they ‘listened’ and grew strong in the Lord all the same. Reading the word is vital and needed , especially for study but listening is wonderful too. I listened to the whole book of Ephesians and the letter came alive through the audio. So beautiful and encouraging. My youngest then listened on his phone to Ephesians. Today we listened to four chapters of Joshua as we were reading from there the night before.

    You can imagine our faces when read your email today with this blog post.

    Thanks for sharing your spiritual journey with us. It is a blessing.

    Shalom

    • What a wonderful confirmation, Charmaine. Thanks for passing this along. I’m thrilled that the Lord blessed you with this providential post! Thanks.

  • Larry

    Hi Wayne. I fully agree with listening. I have been blessed,and believe I will continue to be blessed with enough time every morning before work to be able to listen to the Bible start to finish 11 times now over the course of 3 years. I try to get in at least 30 minutes every day, and by doing that I can hear the entire Bible in around 90 days. On days off, I like to read along as I listen on my tablet, or even “cast” the bible onto my TV (As I do with your amazing teachings by the way), and just listen and read along sometimes for hours at a time. I will continue to do this as long as I can hear and see. I Thank God for your ministry, and for you. I will continue to pray for you, as I believe you do for your flock. Many blessings to you!

    • Thank you so much, Larry— both for your gracious words and especially for your prayers. Yes, I do pray for my readers as well as for those who watch the videos and those in our adult fellowship class each Sunday morning where I teach. May the Lord continue to keep His hand on you as you listen to His Word.

  • Anja Noordam

    I like listening and reading at the same time. My thoughts can run a mile a minute. This way the changes are better that I actually take it in

    • That’s great, Anja. Listening and reading really does help you focus! Good for you. Thanks.

  • Michelle thick

    I never thought about that. I will give it a try.
    Thanks

    • You’re welcome, Michelle. I think you’ll find listening to the Word a refreshing change.

  • Breitnica Mascarenhas

    Yes…Wayne, many times.
    It was a great experience. The book of Job is worth reading & listening. I read it several times…listened in fact. Listening to the Bible gets us more closer to God. We understand what God wants us to do as we read & listen. The WORD OF GOD has great power !!!

    • So true, Breitnica. I’m glad listening encourages you as well as reading. Any way we can connect with God’s Word is a good way.

  • Marilynn

    I’m SO pleased you included Brian Hardin’s Daily Audio Bible in your list of suggested ways to “listen” to the Word of God! I have been blessed to listen to this blog for several years. Not only does Brian make the Bible seem fresh every single day (despite this being the 12th year I think, of him reading every word from Genesis through Revelation), but there are so many additional aspects of this blog that have blessed thousands around the world. These include almost-daily commentaries by Brian, applying the Scripture that he just read to our daily walk with God, as well as a time of a community call-in, where listeners can request prayer, offer prayer for each other, or sing God’s praises. The love shared by this community is such a blessing! Thanks for sharing this wonderful ministry!

    • Thanks for including your personal affirmation of listening to the Word, Marilynn. God bless.