Monday, March 26, 2012

Why You Should Read the Bible Aloud


Some of the most fun I've had in my Bible study time has been sustained periods of shouting God's Word aloud. After reading advice for memorization that recommended reading passages fifty times out loud in a full preaching voice before attempting to memorize the text rote, I began to regularly practice belting the Bible to myself. It has made a huge difference in how I interact and enjoy the word. Reading the Bible aloud with passion has become one of the most stirring parts of my devotional life, and I can spend more than an hour doing it without growing tired (strengthens the lungs too). This practice is not just a preference either.Throughout Scripture God calls His people to response and action, and often a spoken word is the simplest form of response. Putting God's Word in your mouth and ears may be the most effective way of placing it within your heart.

Why You Should Read the Bible Aloud:

1. Exodus 13:9
It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.

Israel had an oral culture and recitation of God's word was vital for remembering His covenant and in worshipping God.There was no written Bible, but there was recitation of the text. Reciting God's promises and Covenant blessings and curses was intended to remind them of who the Lord was, what He had done and what He promised to do in the future. It was a visceral memorial to His goodness and deliverance.

2. Deuteronomy 30:14
But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

Reading the Bible aloud keeps the Word near you. It keeps it in your mind, in your ears and in your heart. It's harder to gloss over verses or speed read when you are speaking the words clearly and emphatically. It puts the Word in greater proximity to your senses and your soul.

3. Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

God commands that His word stay in our "mouth." This is the specific method of meditation, and through meditation and recitation springs obedience and success in walking with the Lord. Again, Israel had an oral culture, so some may argue that reading could be just as effective in fulfilling this command, but the verse says "shall not depart from your mouth" not "shall not depart from your mind." God was commanding them to recite His word, to put it in their mouths and listen to it.

4. Psalm 49:3
My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.

The Word of God can train our tongue and our speech. If we put it on our tongue, it will come up more in conversation. Our tongues can be trained to speak wisdom and our speech can inspire and sustain the meditation of our heart.

5. Psalm 119:172
My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Our speech confirms that God's Word is righteous; it stands as praise to God. Reading the Bible aloud is vocal praise to God. We don't sing worship songs primarily in our heads. We worship with our mouths.

6. Psalm 119:103
How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Reading the Bible out loud will make you feel good; it's enjoyable. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our praise and to Christ's Word by manifesting His presence and in His presence there is fullness of joy.

7. Isaiah 59:21
“As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.”

We have been grafted in, and we are the descendants of this promise.The oral recitation of God's Word is intended to continue to us.

8. Malachi 2:5-9
5 “My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.
6 The law of truth[a] was in his mouth,
And injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many away from iniquity.
7 “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
8 But you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
9 “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base
Before all the people,
Because you have not kept My ways
But have shown partiality in the law.”

We are Kings and Priests before God (Rev. 1:6). The job of the priest was to keep and speak the Word of God and remind the people of it. We are a royal priesthood, a kingdom of people meant to keep the memory of God's Word before each other. This may be more of an argument for memorization, but reading the Bible aloud aids memorization.

9. Romans 10:8-10
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”[a] (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

There is power in speech. The evidence of our faith and the practice of our salvation is our confession of Jesus as Lord. Faith in our heart results in a confession with our mouth "unto salvation." As God's Word gets into our heart it should come out of our mouth. Our vocalization of the Bible is our affirmation and confession of it as true and real in our faith and in our lives.


Shout out God's Word. It will change your life.

15 comments:

  1. Great post Jonathan! I will remember your advice the next time I read out loud - which is going to be sooner than later.

    "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near." Revelation 1:3 ESV

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  2. Really good words man, reminds me of John 1:1 where simply, "the word became flesh." also I think of God speaking all things into creation, in which everything was created through the son.

    awesome stuff, I tried it a couple times so far and dig it.

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    1. Hello Jonathan, I will like to communicate with you along these lines. God's been dealing with me along this and I can't share many miracles, blessings I have received of and from the Lord through verbalising, speaking God's Word, reading the Bible aloud. I will like to fellowship more along these lines with you, trusting that the Lord will edify us and others through one another. I am currently on a personal target of reading the entire scriptures aloud from Genesis to Revelation. Bless God, today I read from Philippians to Hebrews.....glory, glory , glory, glory ,glory, glory to God................

      E. Okiemute Samuel (okiemutesamuel@gmail.com)

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  4. I second the previous two comments by Jerod and Neil. Wonderful post, Jonathan! Inspiring words.

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  5. Great post! I completely agree with you :)

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  6. Yes! Jesus spoke the scriptures in the temple, and in the synagouges.

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  7. It is nice of you to take the time to write & blog about your experience. I believe speaking the Word out loud or reading the bible out loud can & will have effects that are spiritual in nature, unseen, unknown, & possibly even miraculous. It definitely seems to feel more powerful than just thinking or reading the Word in the mind. That being said, now that you know these things or feel that there is a benefit, start spending your time reading the Word out loud to those who need to hear it. Go to a hospital & read it to someone in need, go to a park & read it aloud without fear of embarrassment(dont read it so everyone has to hear just read into in a normal voice), go to those you know who are not believers in Christ & find the one who will allow you to read the bible out loud to them hopefully asking you to explain as well. I would bet God has people lined up right this second who would take you up on that offer, people who are dying inside, people who are praying to the wind hoping for help not knowing where to turn or where to look, & people who probably are dying to ask you themselves but are afraid & scared because they are embarrassed or afraid of truth & change in their life! Take it to the next level, to the place the Word is always suppose to go, the next unbelievers heart! Do you see all the comments are from believers discussing how it has effected their lives, which is great to a degree, but they dont need your help any longer or your words, they have the Spirit within them

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  8. Please, dont see this as a judgement because I need to do this just as much as you do, to be honest probably much more since you have a blog & I don't even have one of those. For all of us the hardest part about living a Christian life is not worshiping Christ, once you truly know the truth you cant get enough, but worshiping Him the way He truly wants us to they way He worshipped the Father, which was taking His cross for others. Its so hard to put down the beauty & glory of God that all true believers witness & feel, so we can witness the ugliness, fear, & pain of sin in this world & in others lives. Who wants to stop looking at Christ's beauty in their own life to look at our broken & sinful world? I know in my sinfulness I don't, but I realize Christ spent eternity in the presence of the Father as part of the Father, yet left heaven changing the very make up & nature of what He was becoming a man, so He could come into this world & be a sacrifice for all. The craziest part of all, He did it with a smile & with pleasure in His heart because He knew what it meant. He knew others would be able to be part of what He was & there was nothing, not even the possibility He might never see heaven or His Father again, that could wipe the joy out of His heart. Its astounding & to be honest so far beyond our understanding as human beings because we broken in our sin. To have any real clue or comprehension we must try our best to take up our crosses & head in the direction of the world with Christ by our side & the Spirit within us as servants of Gods plan & not as servants of ourselves. And as I said before, this is the true test of every Christian, & to be honest the proof of whether our hearts have truly been made anew!

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  9. Please forgive me for the two long posts & long response above, it was not my intension, but I hope that it might help others see how reading the bible out loud could lead & advance their lives in Christ & maybe even work miracles in the hearts of those who's hearts can hear but never heard the Word in a new & powerful way. I pray you will see I only want to promote taking the next step in everything we do in & for Christ, which in my opinion is always how can we help bring Christ's kingdom to others & the world. Thanks again for taking the time to write about your experience.Hopefully it will help others give it a try & hopefully they will see that with practice it can be a very useful & powerful tool they can use to advance Christ's kingdom & the truth.If you have continued to read out loud I hope you look at it as practice & training so when you do read to others the words of the Lord will sound fantastic & will be all the more powerful.I pray on the future I will read how you took it to the next level & how it has worked as a tool for advancing the kingdom of Christ & as weapon against the evil always looking to destroy His kingdom!


    Sincerely,
    Brent Slater
    301-874-2908

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    1. Thanks for the comments Brent. It seems you are eager to encourage everyone to be a public witness and reach the lost. I am so grateful for your heart. You also seem to question my own personal commitment to witnessing so let me explain my ministry.

      I am a full time missionary. Preaching and teaching the lost is the main part of my ministry. I have a personal discipline of witnessing at least 7 times per week usually reaching 15-25 people with the message of the Gospel and I have seen a number of people come to the Lord this year out of homosexuality, multiple forms of drug addiction, and even major religions. You can read more about what I do at www.jonathanammon.org.

      Thanks for your zeal and keep encouraging others to reach the lost!

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    2. Since you are zealous for evangelism you may find the following resources helpful. I am in the middle of an eight week evangelism training. We're taking a break for Christmas, but you can catch up with the audio files here:
      http://www.jonathanammon.org/2013/12/evangelism-and-movements-training-4.html

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  10. I'm an actor and a Christian. I LOVE reading GOD's Word aloud!

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