If you could travel back in time and visit a church in the first century, you might find something missing, a lot of Bibles. The printing press had not yet been invented, so everything had to be copied by a scribe. This not only was time consuming, but costly. A church might have a copy of the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) and a letter written by Paul or one of Gospels. Not only because of the cost, but parts of it were yet to be written! The books called the New Testament were not completed until the end of the first century.
The only way most people experienced the Bible was through listening to it. Listening to the Bible allows us to hear the voice of God through the Bible in the order He inspired the Bible writer (not jumping from verse to verse). Listening forces us to pay attention, not just skim through what we read, or skip around.
What to Consider
But there are so many choices out there. Not just translations, but dramatized, multiple-voice, or single-narrator. I’ve tried a couple of different types, and found a few considerations helpful.
Pick a translation you will enjoy hearing more than once! An audio Bible is a great way to get into the Bible, but it’s something that does cost, you want to pick one you will enjoy! iTunes has several ones where you can download a book of the Bible to try out, then if you like it get it on an CD (mp3 CD’s are cheaper, and contain fewer discs).
The second consideration is narration type. Single person narration can be nice, and even cheaper at times. But a dramatic multi-cast reading will make it easier to listen and focus your attention span, especially after going through several books of the Bible. A single narrator for the Bible can cause you to loose focus, even if it’s Alexander Scourby or James Earl Jones. The audio Bible is around 70 hours, so multi-voice has the benefit of keeping the attention of the listener.
Types of Dramatized Audio Bibles
Multi-voice by Book
I wasn’t sure what to call this type, it doesn’t have a formal name, but you will find them. They contain a group of narrators, that will each read an entire book, and then a different narrator will read the next one. While it’s not quite the same as a single narrator for the entire Bible, it can be difficult with longer books.
Multi-cast Dramatized Bible
This type of audio Bible is very enjoyable, it’s my personal preference. I use The Bible Experience: Complete Bible on mp3. It’s got a wide range of actors reading the parts, like an audio play. Unlike other types of audio Bibles this type includes sound effects, which truly bring you into the story.
CD, MP3 or Download
A normal compact disc has several advantages. It can be played on any CD player and in many DVD players. This is very helpful in cars that have CD players.
There are some disadvantages as well. First cost, compared to a download version or mp3 CD, it’s much higher. Also toting 60 plus discs can be a pain. Also if you want to copy it to put on an iPod/mp3 player it takes a long time you have to convert it to the proper format.
This format has several pluses. It’s usually much cheaper than it’s CD counterpart. Especially places like Amazon.com. If you want to copy it to your iPod/mp3 player it just needs to be copied, no conversion is needed. You also have fewer discs.
It does have the disadvantage of not working on every CD player, but many do. If you want to play it in the car there are options.
This option works well if you have an iPod/mp3 player. Three places to do this is:
Both Christian Audio and Audible have subscription plans. The files from Christian Audio that are specified for Apple products break things up quite well, often by chapters for the Bible.
Just Do It!
Whatever way you choose to experience God’s Word, just do it! Spend time with God’s Word each day and get to know Him better!