If you’re like me, you don’t have enough hours in the day to get done all the things you wish you could do. Does that sound familiar?
One thing that’s important to me is increasing my knowledge of the Bible. Don’t worry; this is not a proselytizing post! But it is a post about another resource for practicing languages if you’re open to learning more about the Bible, even if just to study it as literature.
At the end of 2015, I was looking for interesting podcasts to listen to. I’ve worked 100% from home for over 10 years, so I like to have background noise to feel less isolated. Most of the time I love working from home because I’m an introvert but after years of it, it can get to me!
I came across a podcast — or series of podcasts — called Daily Audio Bible. These podcasts offer bite-sized snippets of the Bible for each day, and in several languages! Most of the plans take you through the entire Bible in a year, with a small section each of the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Psalms, and the Proverbs. This is ideal for me because I can get a dose of Bible while doing other things. I love multitasking! It saves me time and I feel more accomplished when I listen while I’m doing boring things like laundry, dishes, cleaning… Ugh!
There are also some podcasts that focus only on Psalms or Proverbs, and it seems that with some of the languages, including Japanese, they only read the New Testament. I haven’t listened too much to the one for kids (and read by a child), but I think that one is only a New Testament reading as well.
Before I go any further, I want to point out that you do not need to buy the ($.99) app to listen to the podcasts! I’ve listened for over a year and only just now bought the app so I could get good screenshots of all the different podcasts they offer. I’ve been very happy with the podcasts for over a year so I didn’t mind throwing them a dollar, but you don’t have to.
Look at all the podcasts they offer! You should be able to find them with whatever podcast app you use, or you can listen (to the main English one, at least) on their website.
I haven’t listened to all of them, but I have listened to several, and they seem to be well made.
The main English podcast is read by a man named Brian, and he has a voice that is calming and easy to listen to, yet expressive. At times there are nature sounds or soft music playing in the background.
Brian starts off with a greeting that lasts under a minute (which I fast-forward past if I want to save time), then reads the Old Testament passage, then the New Testament passage, then a Psalm, then a bit of the book of Proverbs. The Bible-reading portion usually lasts… 15 to 20 minutes? I haven’t timed it exactly but that’s what it seems like to me. Then, often Brian will discuss some of the stories that he just read and explain historical background or theological points. After that, there’s usually a prayer, and finally, he makes announcements about his ministry’s upcoming events.
To be honest, I usually stop listening before this point, because I want to fit as many things as I can into my day. I don’t usually listen to the announcements, but sometimes he talks about products the ministry offers, such as videos of visits to biblical sites, or a fair trade coffee/tea club. I think sometimes there are also prayer requests from listeners, but as I said, I almost never listen all the way to the end.
I do often listen to his explanations of the day’s readings because Brian has visited the lands where the Bible events took place many times and he offers some interesting insights. But that comes after the reading, so if you just want to hear the Bible passages, no problem!
One fascinating aspect is that — in the English version at least — they switch Bible versions each week. There are so many English Bible versions, so it’s refreshing to hear the stories in a less-familiar way. They don’t, however, include difficult versions like the King James Version; they really want listeners to easily understand what they’re hearing. A version called the Names of God Version uses the original Hebrew names of God (Elohim, Yahweh, etc.) rather than the English. That takes a bit of getting used to, but you get to learn a few words of Hebrew!
In the app you can easily read along with the spoken version in English. I haven’t found this feature for the other languages, but these days it’s very easy to find the Bible in many languages online, so if you’re near a computer it shouldn’t be difficult. Here is one site that has the Bible in dozens of languages and versions!
Finally, Brian’s voice is clear and easy to understand, in my opinion. When I’ve listened in other languages read by other readers, I feel the same. They work hard to make good podcasts and it shows. I really need to get back into listening in Spanish, Japanese and French! If only I had two more hours a day, right? It’s a matter of priorities, though. I need to reprioritize, especially since I can improve my language skills at the same time as I learn more about the Bible.
Have you ever listened to these podcasts? What do you think?