“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17 ESV).
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4 ESV).
Nothing is more important than hearing God’s Word, and so being reconciled to God through faith in Jesus—the Word made flesh. You may agree. But if you’re like me, actually spending the time hearing God speak through His Word can sometimes be a struggle.
Ways to Hear God Speak
There are a variety of ways you can take God’s Word into your mind and heart:
- Open up the Bible and read or study it.
- Join with the church in corporate worship and hear it sung or prayed or preached.
- Memorize God’s Word and meditate on it.
The list could continue, but I want to encourage you to consider just one other you may have never done—listen to a recording of the Bible. Last year I was able to listen to the entire Bible, along with spending times reading and studying it. It’s actually simpler than it may sound. If you listened for around twelve minutes a day, you’d finish the whole Bible in a year.
Listening to the Bible
I use the ESV Bible app on my smart phone because 1) I like the translation and 2) it’s really convenient. I typically have my phone with me and can listen even if I have just a few minutes, then the app remembers where I stopped so I can come right back to listen or read the next time. I’ll often use it to listen while I fix breakfast, commute to work, drive around town, or work at my house. Here are several practical benefits to listening.
- Convenience—listen on the go. Walking, driving, jogging, etc. Maybe this is the biggest!
- Listening can make more challenging sections of Scripture easier to take in. Have you ever read Leviticus? Or the lists of names in Numbers? Maybe try listening. It’s really nice to hear someone else pronounce all the names you tend to skim right over.
- It also engages your mind in a way reading may not. Some people are more auditory learners.
- You can also read and listen at the same time if you’d like! The ESV Bible app can scroll for you so you can follow along as it reads.
- It’s free! At least a number of different places offer it free. Bible Gateway has audio for most of the better known English translations to listen to for free on an app or computer.
Should you still seek to spend time quietly reading and meditating on God’s Word? Absolutely. But you can do both! There are some portions of Scripture (e.g. Paul’s letters) that it can be more helpful to read slowly so you can stop and reread a section and think more on it. Do that too. But especially for the days when you’ve rushed out the door, turning on the Bible and listening to someone else read it to you is a great way to hear God’s Word. His Word in your mind and heart has the power to transform you, and through you to bless others. May it fill your heart, mind, and ears in 2021!