In Ancient times, Jewish students would study the Scriptures under a Rabbi. There was no pocket Bible, personal scroll, or Bible app to stick in their cloak. If they wanted to know the words of God as transcribed by Moses, David, or any of the prophets, they would have to study them in the synagogue. To become a Rabbi, they would have to prove themselves over the course of years and years of studying, reading, reciting, and correctly discussing the Law and the Prophets.
Nowadays if we want to study, read, recite, or discuss the Bible, we just open our phones. If we don’t have a Bible app on the phone, we can access the internet through our browser and find numerous commentaries, any translation, and countless discussions on nearly every passage of the Bible. In case you don’t want to read the Bible, no problem. Have your phone read it to you. Want to hear it sung? Just search for a Scripture song, and you will find it. Need a picture or diagram of any passage? You can find that too. Need to hear a sermon on a selected passage? Yep, within seconds you can be listening in on one. The Word of God has never been so accessible.
Does all of this access to the Bible cause us to lose some of the awe and significance that first-generation Christians or ancient Jews would have experienced when hearing God’s Word? I am afraid it can. Our unlimited access to so much commentary, conversation, and clashing opinions concerning the Bible can cause us not to value the plain-out power of God’s Word. We need to find a way to make these modern conveniences revive us, not overwhelm us.
Recently I found an app that has revived my passion for God’s Word. It is an app called Dwell. This brilliant database of Scripture recordings allows me to hear God’s Word read aloud without any excess comments. It is not an audio Bible; rather, it is a collection of playlists of Scripture that can be listened to without any added interpretation.
Dwell includes passages from Psalms, Proverbs, the Epistles, the Gospels, as well as narrative sections. If you want to listen to the whole book of Ruth, go for it. Need to hear a collection of Bible verses on God’s love? They’ve got that. Would it refresh your heart to hear all of the doxologies of Paul’s letters? Then just hit play on that playlist (this is one of my favorites).
But let me be clear, the power of this app is not just in the fact that you can listen to the Bible being read. Most Bible apps already do that. What Dwell does is create playlists and collections of passages based on various topics, literature types, or emotional needs. But it gets better! You can choose the voice that reads to you and set the background music behind the reader.
And if that is not good enough, you can also set the length of the pauses between the passages the app reads to you. This has REVOLUTIONIZED my prayer life. I love to pray Scripture, and I believe that God loves it when we pray Scripture back to Him. So I set the pauses between Scriptures to one minute. The pause allows me to hear a passage and then pray according to the prompting of the passage before the next passage comes on. You can set these pauses anywhere from three seconds to five minutes. The music for reflection and prayer continues playing during the pauses.
So if you are looking for a way to get more Scripture in your life or a way to increase your prayer life, I highly recommend Dwell. It is a subscription-based app, but the cost is worth every penny. Getting closer to God in prayer and Bible reading should be our goal, even if that means we give up something else to do it.
I am pretty sure there are some first-century Christians that would have given anything for this kind of access to God’s Word. So as long as it is called “Today,” allow God’s Word to refresh you (Hebrews 3:13).