A few weeks back, I came across a web resource called “Daily Audio Bible” (DAB) which does daily Bible readings. This is a fascinating use of modern technology. Personally, I think that this can be a very beneficial tool for the church, as we desire a deeper relationship with the Lord. Having so many resources at our fingertips, we would be foolish not to take advantage of what the Lord has given us.
At the same time, there raises a deep concern within my soul for such ministries. Listening to the introduction, there is Brian, the founder, a couple of testimonials sharing what the DAB is about and how it came into existence. Brian adds on a devotional at the end of the reading clarifying what was being read. Now, according to Brian, the Bible has a voice and if given a chance to speak it will. Brian is just the vessel for that voice to speak. Yet, he freely admits that he started a virtual community, becoming ordained and shepherding this “flock.”
Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, I am glad to hear about someone taking on such a wonderful task. The concern is based on a few items. First, the usage of many translations should be a yellow flag to any person. Not all translations are equal and some do an extremely poor job of translating the Hebrew and Greek text. Second, by Brian stating that it is not his voice, he seems to misunderstand the value that reading the text aloud is inferring one’s own understanding of the text. The way one emphasizes a word, to their breathing, to the speed at which it is read all inflect that person’s understanding of what God’s Word is saying. Third, it is obvious that this is bigger than “just reading” the Bible, especially if he felt compelled to become ordained and attached daily devotions to explain what is being read.
With these in mind, one could see a possibility that people will stop reading the Word all together. In fact, one testimonial states that she was unable to stay consistent in reading her Bible, when she fell behind it would become a checklist and not really absorbing what she is reading. The devotion at the end clarifies what is being read and really helped her see the “picture” of what the Bible is saying. There was no thought of reading along as Brian read the text of the day. We Americans are prone to doing whatever comes the easiest. We do not desire nor entertain thoughts of hard work. If someone has already done it, why should we? We want to multi-task of doing something and listening at the same time. How well do we truly listen?
The value of this ministry is to help supplement one’s own reading of God’s Word not replace it. If a person replaces their responsibility to read, they can no longer be able to attest to what is being taught. They would take the reader at his/her voice as to what is in the text. It just becomes another avenue of just getting by in our walk instead of being a resource to deepen our faith, supplementing our own reading.
Paul was encouraged when the Bereans search the Scriptures and John commands us to test the spirits. How can we do either, if we surrender such responsibility to the need of convenience? If our Bibles are collecting dust, doesn’t our souls as well?