Greetings, friends! Over the last year, I have been participating in an under-utilized practice. This practice has helped me in many ways. I’ve understood some of the Scriptures in different ways, I have heard a large section of Scriptures at one time, and I have caught themes and context throughout a larger section of scriptures. Therefore, I want to introduce you to this nearly forgotten practice (insert drum roll…) HEARING the Word of God.
Hearing someone else read the Word of God has been life-giving; honestly, it is nothing new for the church. This has been a practice since the Old Testament. Consider the following passages and the fact that in these passages most people are hearing the Scriptures read aloud…
- Exodus 24, Moses reads to Israel.
- Deuteronomy 31:9-13, “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles… you shall read this law before them in their hearing.”
- In Joshua 8:34-35, Joshua read all of the Law to the people.
- 2 Kings 23:1-3, King Josiah read the Scriptures, and “then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.”
- Nehemiah 8:1-3, The people asked Ezra to read the Scriptures, and “he read it aloud from daybreak till noon… And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
- Luke 4:16-21 shows that scripture was commonly read aloud in the worship service.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:27 and Colossians 4:16, Paul tells the church to read his letters aloud as they gather.
- Revelation 1:3, is a great reminder of what happens when reading and/or hearing the Book of Revelation.
Hearing the Bible read is a common practice throughout the Scriptures and is nearly forgotten by today’s practices. A diet of God’s Word is necessary and encouraging. It helps the believer to hear the Word and tune their ears to God’s Word in light of today’s challenges.
Christianity Today published an article online from May of 1969 and it may be more relevant today than when it was published. It is entitled, Error Through Ignorance (Christianity Today, 1969). The gist of the article is that we wrongly apply God’s Word when we don’t know God’s Word. A great illustration that the article refers to is from Mark 12. In the passage, the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection come to Jesus to try to trap him by sharing a hypothetical story about a woman who followed the law of Moses and married the next brother (following the law of Moses) and then asking, in the resurrection whose wife will she be.
Jesus’ response is brilliant and speaks to us today. He says, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures, nor the power of God…”
Studies by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research suggest that the biblical ignorance of evangelicals is even greater than we realized. The research suggests a growing belief in biblical errors such as multiple ways of salvation, a growing belief in unorthodox biblical stances on Jesus, as well as, errors concerning biblical teachings on gender and the church.
The obvious answer to this issue is to become biblically literate. So how? Let me suggest a simple answer… hear the Word. You might have expected me to say something like, get in a LifeGroup, do daily devotions, or go to worship. Yes, do those things. They are helpful but drinking in the Word of God is paramount to being biblically literate.
HEARING THE WORD ADDRESSES…
- Reading Ability: Do you feel that reading is difficult for you? If you feel you are not a strong reader or reading comprehension is difficult, then hearing the Word may benefit you.
- Limited Time: Do you feel it is difficult to sit down and read the Bible, but want to be biblically literate? Then start listening to the Word.
- Wasted Time: Do you find yourself in places where your time could be redeemed (The gym? Driving? At the store? Etc.)? If so, playing the Scriptures aloud may be a great way to redeem your time.
https://Biblegateway.com – website and app so that you can listen to the Bible.
https://thestateoftheology.com/ – a study that is referred to in the article.
https://redeemingproductivity.com/5-best-ways-to-listen-to-the-bible/ – additional resources to hear the Bible.
https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/public-reading-scripture/ – additional educational resource.