By listening to the Bible, you may think you’ve joined the new phenomenon of audio book, podcasts, etc. However, you’re actually participating in an ancient tradition of listening to God’s Word read aloud. We’ll get into the “how” of using audio Bibles in the app in this post. But first, let’s answer the “why.”

Why Should You Listen to Audio Bibles?

Here are four ways that audio Bibles can change the way you engage Scripture and the world around you.

1. Engage Holistically with Audio Bibles

Ancient Near-Eastern societies were hearing dominant. They didn’t have much that compares to books and authors like we do today. Instead, all information was shared orally. Traditions and stories were passed on, generation by generation, through word of mouth. This may seem incredibly impressive—but, think about how many songs you know the words to, without ever seeing them written down. If you hear something enough times, you’re sure to remember it.

In our days of writing and reading, authority is often found in books and authors. But, in hearing-dominant societies, authority remains in tradition and community. We can see this play out even after Jesus leaves. The Gospels weren’t written immediately after the ascension. Instead, for years the disciples shared the good news by word-of-mouth. The stories of Jesus’ life belonged to the Christian community and were preserved by their constant re-hashing of events.

There are many important reasons for us to have Scripture written down. But, when you listen to the Bible read aloud, you are participating in an ancient tradition. It’s neat to step back, close your eyes, and hear God’s Word spoken over you like Christians and Jews experiences for centuries.

2. Engage Effectively with Audio Bibles

We all know at least one speed-reader who can bust through the Lord of the Rings trilogy in a month. They make reading look easy. But, for most people, reading is more of a challenge.

First of all, it can be difficult to keep a focused mind. Ever find yourself re-reading that verse for a third time? We’ve all been there.

But secondly, the Bible is definitely one of the more difficult books to stay completely focused while reading. This isn’t something we should be ashamed of, but recognize that there are a lot of unfamiliar concepts in there! Not only are you trying to understand what God is trying to teach you (a big enough goal!) but you’re also trying to pronounce Melchizideck correctly, understand the importance of Levirate law, and remember the context of the passage.

That’s a lot.

But audio Bibles can relieve some of that overload.

By listening, you can give your mind a break. You can more easily take in information and process it… and then remember it.

Most people learn better, retaining more information, by listening. If this is you, then audio Bibles can be a game-changer.

3. Engage Differently with Audio Bibles

You also may discover that you can find new takeaways by listening.

This is similar to the differences you may find in reading an email and having a person talk to you over the phone.

Inflections can bring text to life, providing more emotion and context. While reading Paul’s sometimes long-winded letters, you may get lost and lose sight of the point of the sentence. But by listening, you may actually be able to engage different with the text than ever before.

4. Engage More with Audio Bibles

Often, the sweetest moments of being a child of God are found in intentional silence, quietly reading or writing. It is definitely important to find this quiet alone time, where we can humbly meet with God.

However, if you have kids, a job, or the need to go buy groceries once in awhile, then you know this quiet alone time can be hard to attain.

But audio Bibles can help fill in the gaps.

Say you only have 40 minutes left before you need to get the kids ready for bed. You haven’t exercised or read the Bible today. Instead of feeling torn between two healthy activities, combine them. Listen to an audio Bible while you run, taking care of both your soul and your body.

You can also get creative. Think of activities you do during the day that require your hands and eyes, but your ears are free to listen. What about:

  • driving
  • doing dishes
  • rocking a baby to sleep
  • going on a walk
  • getting ready in the morning

You’re sure to think of many other opportunities to listen to God’s Word.

Lastly, we wouldn’t recommend that you replace intentional quiet time with this multi-tasking-Bible-listening. Like we said before, audio Bibles can help fill in the gaps. They can help you engage more. Find ways to use them throughout the day to get an extra dose of God’s Word that you couldn’t have before.

ENGAGE CONSISTENTLY WITH AUDIO BIBLES

Audio Bible Reading Plan Complete

Begin an audio Bible reading plan so you consistently listen to the Word of God! You can start by opening the reading plan section of the app, picking a plan, and choosing an audio Bible as your preferred translation.

preferred translation reading plan

Audio Bible plans work just like reading plans. You can set up a custom goal, personalized reminders, and more.

How to Use Audio Bibles in the Olive Tree Bible App

First, let’s start things off with a video. It’s less than 5 minutes long and can answer quite a few of your questions!

Finding Your Audio Bibles in the Library

The first step to using an audio Bible is opening it! To do so, open the library. It’s the icon at the top of the app with three books.

Boom, library is opened. But maybe you only see books. There is a way to toggle between your books, your audio, and all your books and audio. Simply tap the top of the window where there is a down arrow. A filter will expand like so:

Switching between books and audio in the library of the Olive Tree bible App

Downloading or Streaming Audio Bibles

Next, you need to choose how you will listen to your audio Bible. If you were to tap the audio Bible right here and now, you would begin streaming — granted, you need an Internet connection for this.

If you’ve known us long, you know that we are dedicated to making sure you can engage God’s Word anytime, anywhere. Because of that mission, you can also choose to download your audio Bibles. It’s really simple.

Blue arrows next to audio Bibles

Audio Bibles have a blue arrow next to them instead of a green arrow. Tap the arrow and then you will be able to choose whether you want to download the entire audio Bible or just a book or two. Audio Bibles contain big files, so we gave you the freedom to choose.

Downloading audio Bibles in the Olive Tree Bible App

Listening (and Reading Along)

CHOOSING WHERE TO START

Now that you’ve decided how to listen, let’s decide where to start. After selecting an audio Bible in your library, you will see the player open.

David Suchet NIV audio Bible open

Tapping the verse reference at the top of the player will let you choose precisely which book, chapter, and verse you want to start listening at. When we built this feature in the app, many of us were frustrated with the inability to choose exactly where we wanted to start when we used other platforms. So, we hope you find this feature as useful as we do.

verse chooser in the audio player of the olive tree bible app

READING ALONG

In the screenshots above, you might have noticed that the Bible text is appearing in the audio player. You should know this isn’t an automatic feature of the audio Bible. The audio Bible really is just… audio.

But if you have a text Bible in the same translation (NIV, NKJV, etc.), then it will appear while you listen.

SPEEDING THINGS UP & MORE

Next, at the bottom of the player, there are three buttons: volume, speed, and connect. They are all rather straightforward options!

Tapping the volume icon will allow you to adjust the volume. Then, tapping speed will allow you to slow down or speed up the audio.

Lastly, the connect button lets you share the audio with other nearby devices—like a bluetooth speaker or your car’s stereo system.

BOOKMARKS

You can leave a bookmark by tapping the bookmark icon on the right-side of the player, between the title and the Bible text.

Then, view your bookmarks by tapping the menu in the top-right corner. This feature allows you to revisit a spot easily. Perhaps you bookmark your favorite passages so that you can listen to them once a week.

SLEEP TIMER

In that same menu in the top-right, you can access the sleep timer. We learned that some people prefer to listen to audio while they fall asleep. And since your unconscious self can’t turn the audio off, we can do it for you. Just select how much time you’d like to have pass before we call it quits — or choose to listen until the end of the chapter.

DRIVE MODE (MOBILE ONLY)

Lastly, here’s how you use drive mode!

Make sure the Olive Tree Bible App is open on a mobile device. Then, tap the “Driving” icon at the bottom of the audio player.

drive mode in the olive tree bible app

Now the buttons are much larger and safer to use!

Audio Bible Genres

Audio Bibles are a genre of their own… and then they create several sub-audio book genres! Here are a few of the genres, with examples of each.

DRAMATIZED

NKJV Word of Promise Audio Bible

“This world-class audio production immerses listeners in the dramatic reality of the Scriptures as never before with an original music score by composer Stefano Mainetti (Abba Pater), feature film quality sound effects, and compelling narration by Michael York and the work of over 600 actors.”

Inspired By… The Bible Experience (TNIV)

“The most ambitious, critically-acclaimed presentation of the Bible ever produced, Inspired By … The Bible Experience features a star-studded cast of almost 200 performers. Highlighting the cast is 2007 Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker as the voice of Moses, along with Angela Bassett (Esther), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Jonah), Denzel and Pauletta Washington (Song of Songs), LL Cool J (Samson), Eartha Kitt (Serpent), Bishop T.D. Jakes (Abraham), and Bishop Eddie L. Long (Joel) among others.”

KJV Complete Audio Bible Dramatized

“For those who value the timeless KJV translation, this new audio recording offers a rich listening experience. Featuring top voice talent enhanced by original music and sound effects, the KJV Complete Bible Dramatized Audio brings the King James Version to life. World-class narration, a fully orchestrated background, and colorful character renderings engage the ears, the imagination, and the heart.”

VOICE ONLY

ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible

“The ESV “sounds like” the Bible – with the kind of beauty, clarity, and dignity that we love to hear and read. It also retains the Bible’s rich imagery and theological words – words like grace and justification and salvation – that are essential to our faith. This audio bible is read by David Heath.”

NASB Audio Bible, Read by Stephen Johnston

“Let the power of the Scriptures refresh your soul and encourage you in daily life when you listen to the precise New American Standard Bible. This recording, which is carefully read word-for-word by masterful narrator Stephen Johnston, features the NASB without background music.”

NRSV Audio Bible – Voice Only

“Let the power of the Scriptures refresh your soul. Cutting-edge recording delivers the complete text of the NRSV–over 80 hours— in a convenient audio format. Carefully read word-for-word by masterful narrator Stephen Johnston.”

Johnny Cash Reads the New Testament Audio Bible: NKJV

“The Spiritual Legacy of an American Legend:

‘To turn the written Word into the spoken Word has long been my dream. As I read the words of the Lord I prayed to feel and show only His love with a clear deliverance of His messages, constantly aware that He is speaking to me, and that when I am reading His words, I am not Him.'”

Complete NIV Audio Bible Read by David Suchet

“Ever since he became a Christian at the age of 40, it has been Poirot actor David Suchet’s dream to make an audio recording of the whole Bible. In between filming the final episodes of Poirot, David Suchet spent over 200 hours in the recording studio to create the very first full-length audio version of the NIV Bible spoken by a single British actor.”

NIV Listener’s Audio Bible Read By Max McLean

“Verses you have read many times will impact you in a new way when you hear them through the NIV Listener’s Audio Bible. Read in a single voice with subtle background music, Max McLean’s skillful, engaging, but never over-dramatized style will bring God’s Word to life during your personal and family devotion times, group Bible study, or during your weekday commute.”

START LISTENING

Ready to start listening to God’s Word? Visit our website to see all the audio Bibles we offer.


7 Comments

  1. Bravo Olive Tree! Keep it up and help people with God’s word!

    This upgrade to audio Bibles is touching for me as you are working to spread the truth, which is the bible.

    Thank you

    • Stewart Beale Reply

      I have been listening since 12/10/2012 and I am in my 159th reading of Scourbyyoubible and The Word of promise Audio Bible

  2. Been listening to the Audio Bibles for months now. It has been a great blessing.

  3. I began listening to an audio Bible several years ago. I’m ADHD and have a hard time staying focused while reading. Now I read along as I listen. It gives me added focus by having two sensory elements engaged at the same time.

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