How to Listen to the Bible for Free and Change Your Life

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Many Christians – including myself – have struggled with reading the Bible. Either we have too much work to do, are just plain exhausted from our day, or something unexpected draws our attention away from reading. There’s always an excuse why we don’t spend time in the scriptures. But is any excuse really good enough to justify leaving God’s word on the shelf?

My Excuses

I’ve read the Bible off and on for a number of years. Was I ever really consistent? Unfortunately, not so much.

I had all the excuses in the world:

  • “Hey, I went to Bible college. I know this stuff.”
  • “I’m on the computer most of the day, and my eyes get tired from reading.”
  • “I’ll get around to reading the Bible, but this [day, week, month] I’m just too busy and need to focus on my work.”

The list goes on and on, but the truth remains that we need the Bible. We survive and thrive by God’s word. Consider the words of Jesus:

It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ – Matthew 4:4 NIV

Not only was Jesus explaining that we find life through every word of God, but he was quoting scripture to make his point!

We need scripture to be fully alive. The message of God is powerful to change us from the inside out, and consuming it should be one of our top priorities.

Finding a Consumption Method

So, how is one to consume the word of God? Instead of reading it, I thought to myself, “What if I were to start listening to the Bible? You know, on CD or something.”

After searching around on the web for some audio bibles, I found many of them cost $5o or more. Sure, that’s worth the money, but I wasn’t sure about how to format an audio bible for my iPhone without taking some time to organize all the chapters and books for easy reference.

Then I found it: BibleGateway.com has a handful of audio bibles free of charge (legally, might I add)! Take for example, the New International Version audio bibles – they have three different readings of this translation. One of these readings is dramatized, and I found that to be a compelling option.

After finding these free audio bibles, I wondered if there was an app for my smartphone. Sure enough, my search produced the Bible Gateway app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Okay, so I had my new consumption method. Instead of reading the scriptures, I’d listen to them through my smartphone. Now all I needed was a reading plan.

Finding a Reading Plan

There are a variety of reading plans available. You can choose to read the Bible chronologically, straight through, in one year, and even in 90 days if you think you’ll make it! Wow, how’s one to choose?

After reviewing the different plans, and keeping in mind that I’d be listening to the Bible instead of reading it, I concluded that The Bible in 90 Days reading plan would be challenging but probably the most rewarding. I had tried this plan before, reading it in an older translation, but given that I was going to be listening to the Bible I thought it would be more doable.

Thus, the adventure began.

How Listening to the Bible is Changing My Life

I’ve never experienced the scripture like this before in my life. For approximately an hour each day, my wife and I sit down and instead of watching television, we listen to the word of God.

I’ve found the dramatized audio bible very respectful and even helpful. The sound effects, music, and variety of voices really puts you in middle of the action. You’ll hear the animals entering Noah’s ark, God’s voice booming from Mount Sinai, and Jonah’s echo in the belly of the fish. Crank up the volume, close your eyes, and you’re there.

The Bible in 90 Days plan is providing my wife and I with a great flyover of the scriptures. Following it, you’ll consume every word of the Bible in 90 days. Stick with it for an entire year, and you’ll have listened through the Bible four times in that year – an impressive and worthwhile feat.

Three Changes in My Life

Here are a few of the changes that are going on in my life since I started listening to the Bible:

  • I’m realizing that “biblical heroes” such as Moses and others were just as human as you and I. In fact, you could even call Moses a murderer (see Exodus 2:12). Or, how about Paul the Apostle? Formerly called “Saul,” he approved of Christians being put to death and dragged men and women to jail (see Acts 8:1-5). Even in these horrific sins, God showed them tremendous grace and used them in mighty ways. Feeling lowly? God can use you too!
  • The fear of the Lord is penetrating my heart. God is, after all, powerful! Think about it. Picture all of those plagues he brought on Egypt, how he destroyed the whole earth with rain from the heavens, and so much more. If we believe the Bible to be true (and I do), then surely we must realize the power that God has here and now. Thank God for his grace on us through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, or we’d all be doomed. Respect God, and let the fear of him keep you from sin (see Exodus 20:20).
  • I’m realizing that everything began with, continues to be, and will be about Jesus. You’ll find many foreshadowings of the sacrifice God was going to make with Jesus throughout the Old Testament (see Genesis 22 for a profound example). Jesus lived a sacrificial life, and we are to do the same for God by becoming living sacrifices (see Romans 12:1).

Bottom Line

I’m convinced that consuming the scriptures on a regular basis will change your life. You’ll view others differently, God differently, and yourself differently. You don’t have to follow my method to digest the Bible, but if you’re looking for a new approach, I’d encourage you to give it a try. However you take in God’s word, just make sure you do so on a regular basis. The Bible will change your life. You’ll find more contentment than you ever thought possible, and grow closer to God throughout your listening.

I encourage you, if you don’t have a reading plan, and you’ve been inspired to start reading or listening to the scriptures, start a plan and leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your bible-reading methodology, and how it’s changing your life!













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21 Comments
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  1. I love the audio Bibles. I find it gives fresh perspective to things I’ve read many times over the years.

  2. This is a VERY good idea for believers today. Listening to the Bible rather than reading. I mean personally I OVER read the Bible. I read the Bible toooooooo much, as I have been told. I am a Bible Teacher so I stay in the Word of God and it is how I come up with blog posts, products, online courses, music inspirations (since I am a Christian Hip-Hop artist), and for even book ideas (my next book will be called “Done unto His Image.” So I am one of those who are emerged in the Bible. I also have a free video course on on my website and on Youtube called “50 Simple Tips on How to Study, Understand, Apply, and Teach the Bible.” But I am going to share this post to many. I actually listen to the Bible on audio, but for some odd reason I never thought of suggesting to others to listen to the Bible. lol!

    Great post! God bless!

  3. Omar Carreto

    Hello Bob,

    I believe audio bibles are a great tool for us believers also can’t wait to check out that audio bible with sound effects and all. We as men of God must read the word of God, here are a few tips.

    I have been a believer for five years now personally I was pushed to read the bible by God’s plan. I applied the DO IT NOW technique it’s like you grasp in your inner will core and get it done. look up (ArtofManliness)

    I know it may sounds nonsense, but if your not a reader like I was first grab a few books to speed up your reading…I learned that the faster you read the more your brain picks up and obviously you will get your reading done in no time, in addition of reading about speed reading there is books with exercises that will master your skills reading and comprehension will give you the focus you need you may find these tools at any public library.

    I want to say that skimming through the pages of a book is like looking for KEY WORDS of book’s title it is a powerful tool when reading the Bible, time yourselves start with 3 pages 5 mins. even if you don’t remember anything your training your brain to focus on one THING at the time, also read in a place without any distractions.

    After all this process reading in your life will never be the same and you will find it pleasurable.

    May THE LORD I serve bless you abundantly and give you the strength to read His word.

    Mr. Carreto

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. It’s actually how I “read” every time. I listen from the bible app from YouVersion, and listen to NIV cause I like Max McLean so much. Great article.

  6. Laura

    I totally agree that the Bible will change you and improve you! We have the Bible on cassette tapes with a player that has an auto reverse option. As we get ready during the morning prep time (shaving, makeup, etc.) and then in the evening getting ready for bed, gives us about an hour of listening time. With the cassettes, you just pick up where you left off. It’s a great way to do two things at once and redeem the time. Thanks for your post!

    • Glad to hear you like listening to the scriptures as we do! We try not to multitask too much when listening, so as not to be distracted, but sometimes my wife and I will listen to it in the car on road trips.

  7. The Bible is the good news and is the word of God, but we Christians don’t have time to read it and this includes me. as for me, I firmly attest to the things that is written here. We Christians are busy on doing anything that we willingly forget to read the good news.

  8. Great article! Thank you for sharing your heart and God’s direction in your life. I love that you have been given a methodical “plan” for feeding our most important hunger. I have to share this!!!

  9. Sally Moore

    Thanks for this. To get a jump-start, I suggest committing for a short period of time. I am on Day 12 of a 21-day commitment to God and myself to get up and spend one hour each morning reading the Bible ad praying. I’m hoping it will be a habit I will continue afterward. The YouVersion app is free and puts lots of translations and reading plans at your fingertips.

  10. Chris Meyer

    In addition to the Bible on tape, there is a great resource that combines the reading of scripture in a one year plan and has an active community of believers that offer prayer requests and support.
    Check out the podcast Daily Audio Bible (http://dailyaudiobible.com/). I have been listening to this podcast form over two years and it has enriched my understanding of the Word. Brian Hardin reads from a different translation each week. I would recommend the podcast to anyone, there are allow app to get the episode right on your phone.

  11. Hi Bob

    I just wanted to say that I’m currently trying to find out more about God and this looks like a great way for me to learn about what the bible says. My parents aren’t religious and therefore we never really talked about God when I was growing up.. But I’ve had a sort of feeling that I need to know more for quite some time. I have tried to read a little of the bible before and found it difficult to understand! Today I went along to my local church session for the first time and the church leader was great. When he read from the bible he explained it in a way I would understand. I want to know more so I’m going to give these audio bibles a try. Thanks for the post!

    • I’m so glad that this article encouraged you to start listening to the Bible. You may want to start in the book of John when you listen, it will give you a snapshot of Jesus’s life and purpose on earth. God bless!

  12. I admit I never thought for audio Bible. Thank you so much for that idea. It costs less and I can listen to it anytime i want. Awesome.

  13. Thanks for the nudge…I decided to start a year long read through using Youversion. I’ve been needing to get back to a regular dose and this came at just the right time!

  14. This is a nice share. I have never heard of listening to the Bible for free until now. This is good for me and to most Christians who doesn’t have time to read the Bible.

    I admit that I have pick up the good news several times but never exceeded the number of my fingers in both hands and have read it but never digested nor understood the meaning. Lets face it and I admit that reading the Bible is boring, but with the latest innovation that lets Christian hear the good news this will make the word of God be digested.

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