Why I Listen To The Bible
We all have excuses why we don't read the Bible and while there is some validity to our reasons, the truth is we often find time for the things we want to do. What does that say about us reading the Bible? I should spend hours studying it, right? I do like learning and studying the Bible, I guess I wouldn’t have gone to college for Pastoral Ministry if I didn’t, so why don't I read the Bible as often as I should? Is it really not a priority for me? Is it really not important to me? My actions seem to imply so. So how can we over come this when we truly do want to know what the Bible says? First of all, Josh wrote a wonderful blog on how to succeed at reading the Bible by identifying why you fail.
Secondly, if you listened to #ec1dot11, the first installment in our Jesus Gym series, you would have heard Sarah and I both mention about listening to the Bible. The fact is, I listen to the Bible more often than I read it. That statement still holds some guilt for me as a pastor wannabe. Personally I would rather have some guilt while I hear what they Bible says rather than ignore reading the Bible completely and in my ignorance have bliss as I don't think about it at all. That is why I listen to it.
I listen to the Bible in an effort to overcome excuses of not having time, there being too much to read, or not understanding. I listen to the Bible on the way to work and at night. I find it much easier to listen to something for 10 to 15 minutes than to read for that long. Hearing passages several times helps me understand what it says, hearing passages that I know still are interesting hear.
So how do I listen to the Bible?
Before I ever thought to listen to the Bible, people used to push the Life Journal, which would take you through the Bible in a year and helped you journal about the reading by using the acronym “S.O.A.P.” Many pastors have recommended this plan to their churches. The problem I found with this was the chunks of verses were too much to read in one sitting, especially if I wanted to get something out of my reading. There was so much to think about and to take in, kind of like a college student skimming textbook pages to say that they read the book but missed most of it. Plus, with so much to read I never knew what to journal about.
New Hope Oahu put a podcast of the audio of the Life Journal on iTunes (the original was in the New International Version but that is no longer on iTunes). This is what my dad has been listening to for years on the way to work (Side-note: he would really like a plan that goes straight through the Bible rather than jumping around but I don't believe he found one). They currently have the Life Journal reading plan on iTunes in the New American Standard Bible but it appears it is missing 2 months and starts in March.
At this point you say “Sean, I was considering listening to the Bible but recommending a podcast that is missing two months is no help!” It’s true, I prefer to have the actual file because I have an old iPod that I use only for listening to the Bible so I can listen in bed without using my phone or while I drive to work with the speakers in my car, but you can follow the Life Journal Reading Plan on Bible.com and then you can make it read to you. It does require making an account but that is so you can keep up with the reading. There is an app for your phone and you can still listen to the passages.
The point is find a translation, a voice, and a plan that you like and pick a time when you will listen to it.
If you follow a plan that other people follow (whether they read it or listen to it), you can still discuss it with them. Just knowing that people use the same plan does not seem to equal discussion, try asking what stood out to them or sharing what you learned. Even if you aren't following a schedule that others are following, the point is to follow a schedule.
I mentioned in #ec1dot11 that I listen to the reading for the day several times so that I feel as if I really heard it since I listen while doing other things, but every day is different. Some days I don't listen at all (thanks holidays) and other days I listen to and from work as well as in bed. I encourage you to listen as much or as little as is right for you. Read along if that helps you engage better. Just start encountering the Bible and see what it has to say.